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nib launches industry-first 24/7 voicebot in Australia with AWS and Rasa to improve the member experience

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nib Group (nib) has bolstered its customer experience capabilities to become the first health insurer in Australia to launch a 24/7 voicebot leveraging cloud-based contact center, Amazon Connect and artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Rasa to provide a fast, simple, and convenient way for more than 1.2 million members to get in touch.  

The launch of nib’s voice-based bot, also known as nibby voice, is another step forward in their digital-first ambition as the health insurer invests in new technology to help automate simple conversations, improve operational efficiencies, and enhance the member experience.

nibby voice is the first point of contact for members when they call nib’s contact centre. The voicebot can perform tasks like privacy checks, which involves asking the member for their policy number if nibby voice can’t match their phone number to the policy, as well as, date of birth and postcode before transferring them to a consultant to assist with their enquiry.

The new voicebot is built on Amazon Connect and uses Amazon Lex, an Amazon Web Services AI-service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. nibby voice also leverages Rasa, an open source enterprise-grade conversational AI platform that uses automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding and machine learning powered dialogue management to ascertain a caller’s intent and perform tasks like changing a password or requesting an account balance.

nib Chief Information Officer, Brendan Mills said since the 24/7 voicebot first launched in June 2021, nib has already seen an improvement in call volumes to its contact centre.  

“In its first month alone, we saw a 9% reduction in call volumes because nibby voice resolved our members’ enquiries on the spot or directed them to our other self-service alternatives, including our mobile app, online services, or website,” Mr Mills said.

“A good example of this is during our usually busy tax time period where we had a 13% reduction in calls related to tax statements reaching agents thanks to nibby voice’s self-service solutions,” he added.  

nib has also seen a reduction in the time it takes to manage enquires for Australian and international health insurance members.

In 70% of instances, nibby voice could immediately identify a member’s policy based on their phone number and more than half of calls were already authenticated before they reached our consultants,” Mr Mills said.

“This allows our consultants to focus on servicing our member’s needs right away, while members can spend less time on the phone to us and more time focusing on their day-to-day activities,” he added. The launch of nibby voice is an extension of nib’s chatbot, nibby chat, which was launched in 2017 and has now become a core member communication channel.

“In the last financial year, nibby chat had almost 220,000 chats with members, an increase of 33% on the previous year, and was able to resolve 65% of interactions on-the-spot without directing members to a consultant. Not to mention, nibby chat also received the highest net promoter score across all our nib Group member channels,” Mr Mills said.

The launch of nibby voice was in conjunction with nib’s transition to a 100% cloud-based contact centre solution on Amazon Connect, with approximately 600 consultants onboarded to the new system.

“Prior to June this year, only around 10% of our consultants were using Amazon Connect, so to move the remaining 90% across in a matter of months is a great milestone. This ensures our member data is kept secure offering compute power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionality to help us deliver personalised experiences,” Mr Mills said.

AWS Director of Enterprise in Australia, Karl Durrance said growing demand for voice-enabled systems has opened doors for organisations like nib to transform customer experience by providing life-like conversational interactions.

“Personalisation and ease of use are important drivers of brand advocacy. Amazon Connect and Amazon Lex help organisations create highly engaging user experiences and empower customers to find the answers they seek in a more intuitive and innovative way,” Mr Durrance said.  

“We are excited to further our collaboration with nib to deliver an improved customer experience for members, while ensuring nib’s contact centre can scale for peak periods leveraging the security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of Amazon Connect,” he added.   

To ensure a high standard of automated conversations with members, nib partnered with Rasa to adopt a multi-bot architecture for nibby chat and voice, while seamlessly integrating their omnichannel member experience capabilities with Amazon Connect and other external out-of-the-box and custom backend systems.

Dr. Alan Nichol, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Rasa said “Rasa provides the natural language understanding and machine learning powered dialogue management for nib's customised conversational bot. Rasa technology uses both current and previous conversational data to constantly improve its understanding, accuracy and response selection in customer-facing conversations.

“The bot learns from customers' evolving needs and constantly improves. This leads to an exceptional customer experience,” Dr Nichol said.

Mr Mills said nib is looking forward to experiencing the full capabilities of the voicebot as it learns from each member interaction.

“As more of our members engage with nibby, it will mature as it builds on experience and develops new capabilities,” Mr Mills said.

“The long-term ambition is that our members will be equipped with the tools and technology they need to independently process a claim, manage their policy, or ask a question. We see our investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning as one way we can get there,” he added.

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