FuseBox resident Steve Barry is a Knowledge Architect at Legal & General in Hove. Steve took the time to share some of the exciting projects he has been working on and how his team has been using innovative technology and behavioural science to solve business challenges.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? 

I studied at the University of Brighton and I loved the city so much that I ended up staying here.  After graduating I worked at a range of different places across all kinds of roles -including as an estate agent but don’t hold that against me!  

I joined Legal & General eight years ago and began my career here in a finance role. I got the opportunity to run a training course and that’s where I got a passion for supporting and developing others. From there, I moved to work for the Learning and Development team in our Insurance business and this role had me creating digital learning. I learnt about development tools, film production, UX design, LMS programming as well as learning theory and behavioural science. Two years ago I moved into the newly formed Knowledge Base Team.  We’re a small scrum team who aim to develop AI solutions to deliver improvements for our colleagues and customers.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Our team is constantly innovating and challenging ourselves and I really enjoy the exploration and creativity of the role.  So far we’ve launched support centres, chat bots and webchat on a variety of platforms and it’s been a real success.  We now have other departments adopting this technology and following our lead which is great.

How did you become a FuseBox resident? 

Living in Hove, I know Wired Sussex by reputation and so when I heard about the Legal & General partnership I jumped at the chance to get involved and become a resident.

Can you tell us why Legal & General decided to partner with us? 

We see this as an opportunity for us to get more involved in the digital community in Sussex and beyond. Legal & General has a lot of digital initiatives that go under the radar.  We want to share what we’re doing and learn from other businesses, to the benefit of our digital economy. 

Can you explain what you’ve been working on recently? 

My team and I have been using a combination of technology and behavioural science to solve business challenges. We’ve been identifying where we can improve the experience for both our colleagues and customers and then using tech in innovative ways to find solutions. We’ve also been exploring how we can support them with ‘just-in-time’ training tools. This is a philosophy that aims to make sure the customer has what they want, when they want it.

Can you give me some examples? 

Sure. A challenge for colleagues was that a central place to store information about products and processes didn’t exist. Instead, they would refer to memory, manuals or various intranet pages which meant inconsistencies. The solution has been an internal support centre. Colleagues can now find the answers they’re looking for by asking a direct question to their very own virtual assistant, Ame. Ame stands for Ask Me Everything and was named by colleagues in a competition we ran. 

For customers, a challenge for us was the sheer volume of calls coming into the department’s contact centre which can result in longer wait-times for customers than they would like.  We created a dynamic FAQ which uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to answer generic questions instantly for customers to help them to self-serve instead.  Customers of Legal & General Insurance are now able to get instant answers to their questions online  generated by AI.   If the AI can’t answer, or the customer needs additional support, it will pass the customer to a Live Chat adviser. 

How often are customers and colleagues using this? 

Every month we get around 50,000 interactions (questions) across all our knowledge base solutions. 500 colleagues a day are using Ame and 90% of the time they’re getting their answer. Over 102,200 customers used our service in the last 12 months.  
We consistently answer 91% of customer questions. By the end of last year, it had reduced calls to our contact centre by around 6,000.

How do you keep improving the technology?

Part of what we do day-to-day is look at what insight we can get from our customers and colleagues to keep improving the technology. This is very much data driven, looking at what questions are being asked so that we can ensure we have the right information to meet their needs.

Finally, can I ask – what are you looking forward to the most about being a FuseBox resident? 

What I’m looking forward to the most is discovering more about VR technology and its potential for creating immersive learning.  Although it’s new technology for us, my team recently purchased a GoPro Fusion camera for an internal campaign. I’ve also ran a session for the head of our business division about using virtual spaces for collaborative work. I’m hoping to get some inspiration and insight on how to get the most out of this technology.
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