(Yicai Global) Jan. 19 – China's enterprises have an appetite for artificial intelligence as it makes business easier in a country of nearly 1.4 billion. Alibaba Group's cloud arm, Alicloud, recently announced it would have been impossible to deal with millions of customer queries per day without assistance of AI. Ping An Insurance Company of China is another case in point.
Pingan Life Insurance applies artificial intelligence in many insurance services, said company's Chairman and CEO Ding Dang, adding that "smart customer service" will save more than CNY100 million (USD15.6 million) in costs and significantly enhance operating efficiency at the same time.
The firm currently has about 90 million customers, larger than the entire population of Germany or the UK. With its businesses scaling up, it will face four major challenges over the next five years, namely, rising labor costs, sales outlet network expansion, Big Data revolution in risk control operations and regional customer "experience equalization," Ding explained.
Ding forecasts the firm's service volume will grow by 300 percent to CNY190 million by 2020. In theory, such a service volume requires a customer service team of 90,000 people, implying substantial resource inputs given the fact it typically takes two years to train an experienced life insurance agent.
In an effort to cut costs and improve efficiency, Pingan Life has introduced AI features for various insurance services, creating unique capabilities such as business screening, risk positioning, online self-service and Cloud stores.
AI business screening uses biometrics to identify individual customers and gains an understanding of their needs based on interpersonal interaction technology, with suitable products and services recommended accordingly. AI-enabled risk positioning employs facial and voiceprint identification and Big Data to create risk profiles for customers, and assigns risk ratings to customers and services requested based on preset algorithms.
In terms of online self-service, AI and electronic signature can automate more than 90 percent of risk management operations leveraging image recognition, natural language processing and online hospital technologies and resources. Cloud stores are developed based on an intelligent work dispatching system and the latest Cloud computing technology, where businesses with a medium risk rating are processed through videoconference facilities.
Data from the firm indicate, AI customer service will reduce the average customer service time from four days, as is the case with the traditional manual model, to 10 minutes. It will save a significant amount of manpower equivalent to 80,000 workers by 2022, corresponding to an economic saving of CNY8.4 billion. Furthermore, with the innovation, Pingan Life will not need to open any new service stores in the next five years, which will translate into a saving of approximately CNY53 billion, he added.