As part of the ERGO Innovation Lab's "ERGO VR Experience" project, Hakan Kilic provided customers with immersive advice on travel health insurance in a 3D mountain environment. This involved explaining and visualising potential risks that can arise during a mountain hike and that need to be insured against. We asked Hakan how the virtual consulting experience was received by customers.
Hakan, how did it come about that you provided VR advice for ERGO?
As a customer advisor in ERGO's "omni-channel sales", I'm at home providing customer advice by telephone, in writing and in person. When my boss introduced me to the topic of VR consulting and we had our first exchange with the project team shortly afterwards, I quickly realised that I wanted to get involved!
I myself first came into contact with VR glasses at the "Consumenta" (trade fair) in Nuremberg in my youth and was already enthusiastic about the technology and its potential back then. However, the idea of utilising this for sales purposes would never have occurred to me back then.
I now have two boys, aged eleven and twelve, who are of course also out and about in the VR/AR world (in gaming) and always take me with them as their dad.
How did the first VR consultations go?
The VR consultations I conducted were very positive for me. As a salesperson, it was super exciting to gain new, important insights from our customers' perspective.
The first use case we provided was travel health insurance. The user story in the VR application was thematically based on this. For the customers, this was a completely new atmosphere tailored to the consulting situation. This was very well received by the customers. It was a completely different dialogue situation to face-to-face consultations, for example.
The dialogue within the project with all colleagues involved was also very enriching and we all put our heart and soul into it.
Do customer meetings work differently in the Metaverse?
Yes, definitely. In my experience, there are great parallels to face-to-face customer consultations, but there are also very clear differences.
In my view, the decisive factor here is that the technology works perfectly and the customer experience offers real added value. The preparation, post-processing and also the time required for the consultations themselves is significantly longer and places high demands on the customer advisor and customer. These are, for example:
What is the feedback from customers?
The feedback was consistently positive. What was well received across the board was the direct proximity via the VR glasses, even though the consultation did not take place on site. The user story tailored to the product on offer was also well received because it was simply something different. The avatar made it easy to recognise the other person's gestures and facial expressions.
How do you see the (digital) change in sales?
I've been successfully advising customers for 24 years now. A lot has changed in that time. When I started out, for example, hardly anyone believed that insurance could be sold over the phone. But it's not just me who has changed, but also our customers, technology and much more. That's why change is completely normal for me and ultimately the key to success. My motto is: "If you don't move with the times, you move with the times."
Will you only do VR consulting in future?
VR consulting could play an important role in the future - especially in the insurance industry. At ERGO, we are focussing on the constantly changing needs of our customers. Whether in personal consultations, on the phone or online: Customers always decide how they want to get in touch with us.
That is why I believe it is only logical to examine all future technologies and interaction options in order to continue to be the first choice for our customers. In the end, it will be a mix of different offerings, i.e. traditional analogue and digital advice.
Where do you think VR counselling is still lacking?
"Hooks" is the wrong term for me. We are breaking new ground here. In other words, we are trying out things that we are convinced could be good and important. Of course, not everything runs smoothly at the beginning. For me, the right attitude is crucial. Roll up your sleeves, try things out, carry on where it's going well, learn quickly where it's not yet going well, give it a quick shake and do it better. And everything will be fine in the end :-)
What are your wishes for the future?
To continue to make a successful and enjoyable contribution to a successful ERGO. For me, this also means contributing my expertise in areas such as VR consulting.
What can you tell your colleagues about the topic?
Thanks to the entire project team for the great experience. Above all, I would like to encourage all my colleagues to be open and curious, to test things out and to help us continue to be innovative and successful together in the future.
Interview: Amelie Merten
New at ERGO: Consultations in virtual reality