Published: Dec 04, 2017

Prudential Singapore's industry-first intelligent chatbot provides information specific to customers’ life insurance plans

Singapore, 4 December 2017 - As part of Prudential’s customer-centric approach, the life insurer has launched an industry-first chatbot that can provide its Financial Consultants with real-time information specific to their customers’ life insurance plans.

Named askPRU, the cognitive-powered chatbot is built on IBM Watson technology and integrated into Prudential’s backend systems. It is able to retrieve instantly data such as a customer’s policy cash value, policy premium due date and status of submitted claims, among others. As askPRU operates round the clock, Prudential’s Financial Consultants can communicate with the chatbot via a mobile application at any time of the day to obtain information pertaining to their customers’ insurance plans, enabling them to be more productive and more responsive.

Using IBM Watson’s Conversation Service, askPRU has been trained by NCS’ data scientists1 to understand non-scripted questions, probe users to get to the intent of their queries and deliver responses in a way that simulates human conversations.

Since the pilot launch of askPRU in July, more than half of Prudential’s 4,000 Financial Consultants have started to use the chatbot. Ms. Theresa Nai, Chief Operating Officer at Prudential Singapore, said, askPRU is part of Prudential’s commitment to continuously improve the service experience for its customers.

“In today’s fast-paced, time-starved environment, our customers do not have the patience to wait for information. With askPRU, our Financial Consultants can now get faster access to customer-specific information and respond to their customers’ queries even more promptly. askPRU is one of the ways in which we digitally enable our Financial Consultants so they are equipped to meet increasing consumer demands and expectations,” said Ms Nai.

askPRU complements PRUONE Express, an enhanced digital point-of-sales portal, to help Prudential’s Financial Consultants engage their customers more efficiently. For instance, PRUONE Express is able to generate a detailed quotation in just three seconds and uses the latest technologies, such as SmartData Capture and Fingerprint Authentication, to facilitate a quicker and more effective consultation and sales process. Launched earlier this month, all of Prudential’s Financial Consultants currently have access to PRUONE Express to complete their sales process and to submit new policy requests.

askPRU to potentially reduce call volume at Prudential’s Contact Centre by 30 per cent

Apart from improving customer experience, askPRU also creates operational efficiencies for the life insurer. Prudential estimates that approximately 30 per cent of its Financial Consultants’ queries received by its Contact Centre consultants today can be answered by askPRU. With frequently-asked queries channelled to the chatbot, Prudential’s Contact Centre consultants will be able to focus on handling more complex enquiries and provide a better service to its Financial Consultants and customers.

Designed as a standalone mobile application, askPRU was developed in collaboration with NCS Pte Ltd (NCS), IBM Watson and Nokomai Studios. IBM Watson is a cognitive computing technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of structured and unstructured data, such as text and images.

Mr. Chia Wee Boon, Chief Executive Officer of NCS, said, “We are pleased to work with Prudential to develop a cognitive-powered chatbot that provides responsive, 24/7 support to its Financial Consultants. Notably, the integration of the chatbot to Prudential’s core backend systems ensures that there is always a reliable and consistent source of information available, which translates to the Financial Consultants and their customers having instant access to accurate, real-time information.”

Mr. Kenny Hay, Director of Cloud, IBM ASEAN, said, “The way in which customer relationships are built is constantly evolving. Technology such as IBM Watson has cognitive capabilities that often serve to augment human intelligence and abilities, supporting Prudential’s Financial Consultants. The pathway to self-service in real-time can certainly bring about huge growth opportunities for forward-thinking businesses.”

Ms. Mae Urquhart, Director of Nokomai Studios, said, “It is a privilege to work with Prudential in transforming the data-driven expertise of NCS and IBM into an intuitive, engaging experience for the life insurer’s Financial Consultants. In particular, the close collaboration with Prudential’s Financial Consultants was crucial in the successful development of askPRU.”

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