NIB Health Funds has launched an intelligent chatbot to help customers with health insurance enquiries.
Dubbed ‘nibby’ the bot provides simple responses to queries and can point customers to the appropriate sales channel or claims consultant as questioning becomes more complex.
Initially launched on the ‘Contact Us’ section of the website, nibby will soon expand its domain and pop up to offer guidance when customers are self-serving online.
“As our newest member of the customer service team, nibby allows customers to access the information they need at a time that suits them, without having to wait for a consultant,” said NIB’s chief information officer, Brendan Mills.
“It’s been designed to respond intelligently to our customers meaning it can have a conversation and will be able to handle simple customer service queries.”
Mills said NIB was the first Australian health insurer to introduce artificial intelligence technology for this purpose.
Nibby leverages Amazon Web Services’, and utilises a completely serverless architectural approach, Mills told CIO Australia.
Amazon Lex provides the core chatbot functionality which is supplemented by AWS Lambda for integration and fulfilment, AWS Cognito for authentication and AWS S3 for static hosting.
“As nibby builds its knowledge bank it will be able to respond to an infinite number of customer enquiries, supplementing existing employees and freeing them up to deal with more complex issues,” Mills said. “It’s an investment that allows us to harness digital technology to grow our business and customer service capability, while maintaining our high level of customer service around the clock.”
NIB worked with Melbourne based technology services firm DiUS to stand-up the chatbot within four weeks.
“Thanks to our partnership we have been able to build nibby in a faster, more agile way, which has reduced the operational complexity and the cost of running and managing the chatbot,” Mills added.
NIB is now exploring the use of artificial intelligence beyond customer service, Mills said.
“We’re also looking to use AI to improve operational efficiencies and augment our existing teams for smarter decision making in areas such as customer retention, claims and fraud detection,” he added.
Investments had been made in conversational interfaces by 28 per cent CIOs in the region, according to a recent Gartner survey.
There are a growing number of chatbot roll-outs in Australia across a range of sectors; including at UBank, NAB, Domino's Pizza, the Australian Taxation Office, IP Australia and Jetstar, to name but a few.