Driving innovation in healthcare with chatbots

Driving innovation in healthcare with chatbots

nib is one of Australia’s fastest growing health insurers providing health and medical insurance to over one million Australian and New Zealand residents.

To drive innovation in healthcare, nib, with the support of DiUS, has made significant investment in people, processes and technology to develop a cloud platform. With this foundation in place, nib can focus on leveraging the cloud to deliver the next generation in customer service.

One such project has been nibby the chatbot. nibby meant nib was the first Australian health insurer to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) services to assist customers with their health insurance enquiries.

An AI experiment

Each year, nib receives tens of thousands of online enquiries which are handled by a customer service team of live chat agents. Around half of the interactions are specific enquiries from that require re-routing to a specialist team to resolve.

DiUS was asked to run a two-week proof-of-concept to investigate whether a chatbot could proactively and quickly direct online enquiries to the correct team and to measure the completion and satisfaction levels. The DiUS and nib teams ran a short design sprint to determine the minimal viable product (MVP) - which was dubbed “nibby”.

“We wanted to test the hypothesis that using a chatbot could improve the customer experience and free up our live agents time, and we wanted to test the concept quickly - both from a technical and user perspective,” Brendan Mills, nib Chief Information Officer.

nibby MVP focused on three user scenarios: an International Student or Worker enquiry, a new customer enquiry and an existing customer wanting to either update their details or follow up on an health insurance claim.

To get nibby up and running quickly, the team used Amazon Lex directly from the AWS Console to integrate with a web client. To validate the concept it was agreed the MVP would not need to integrate with all nib applications, so nibby passed all existing clients to a Live Agent to manage client detail changes. The Live Agent was built using AWS Lambda and deployed using AWS CloudFormation scripts.

At the end of the PoC, the team ran guerilla usability testing to quickly validate the success of the experiment. The results showed that while nibby’s chat flow was not yet mature enough to deliver the target completion rate, the service design and technical architecture of the application delivered a solid safety net. Any queries that were not routed correctly to the correct team were picked up and resolved by a Live Agent so that customer experience was not impacted.

nibby the chatbot goes live in just four weeks

Once the proof-of-concept was successfully delivered and validated, DiUS focused on getting the chatbot live. A further four-week sprint by the team focused on refining nibby’s understanding of queries. With more user experience testing and analysis of the conversations nibby did not understand or resolve, the actions for each chat flow were refined. This enabled a range of additional scenarios including customers leaving, retail agents, and payment enquiries.

As part of making the MVP production-ready, the team built continuous integration / continuous deployment pipelines for Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda. Logs of nibby conversations were added to deliver success metrics and ongoing chat analysis.

In its first three months, nibby has handled more than 3,000 customer interactions with success in routing the queries to the appropriate specialist channel. It’s expected, with future changes such as 24/7 service and a privacy check capability in place, that nibby will be able to deflect more than 1,500 customer interactions per year from Contact Centre consultants - a significant outcome.

“By partnering with DiUS we were able to take an innovative idea and build it on top of our cloud platform. Together we moved through a proof of concept stage and into production in an agile manner to quickly deliver an improved customer experience,”
Brendan Mills, nib Chief Information Officer.

Despite having no previous experience with the nib cloud platform, DiUS consultants were able to build nibby in a short time period and with no hiccups. This is a testament to the effectiveness of nib’s cloud platform and nib’s product development approach. The fast time-to-market for this investment in customer experience innovation has given nib confidence to push forward with other new emerging technology to further build their competitive advantage, and reshape their business.

Read more about nibby in the media.

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