Electronic Chat with Brad Epker
Staff Writer | April 28, 2020
Brad Epker is Chief Revenue Officer at Prompt.io (formerly Chatbox), a text messaging provider that allows businesses to transform text messaging from communication to action, empowering an instant end-to-end customer experience. The Prompt.io Messaging Suite helps businesses provides delivery, speed, volume, and quick response, empowering them to do more through text messaging from communicating to closing business.
Your background includes positions in sales and management for a variety of tech firms, including cloud specialists and GIS. How does your background help in your current position at Prompt.io?
My background has emphasized the commercialization of emerging technologies. In particular, I have focused my skills on technology that is disruptive to existing commercial markets. As an example, DocuSign introduced eSignatures, moving people from traditional pen and paper. During that time, I led the introduction of eSignatures to the insurance industry by working with Amica as DocuSign’s first Insurance customer. Tier3 and BlueBox introduced cloud computing solutions that moved companies form internal data centers to the cloud. At Prompt.io we are empowering organizations to deliver highly effective and engaging customer experiences via text messaging. These engagements are now being used in every form of customer communication including sales, marketing, and service. Understanding how to introduce innovative technology to improve current processes is helping Prompt.io grow.
How did you first get involved with the company?
In late 2018 I decided to try to spend more time home in order to do the things I love, like snow skiing. So, I quit my job and took on some consulting opportunities. One day I got a call from Tom Gonser, the founder of DocuSign, and he mentioned that I should take a look at this company who is doing some very unique work in the field of business text messaging. Having a great deal of respect for Tom’s business visions, I met with Phil Gordon, the founder and CEO of Prompt.io. After numerous conversations with Phil, I learned how valuable the Prompt.io messaging platform would be in reducing customer service calls in markets like insurance. I see this opportunity as a game changer for most businesses. Prompt.io gives our customers a significant communications advantage and a chance to fundamentally change the way people do business, which is very reminiscent of the opportunity I saw at DocuSign. While so far, the market has seen some basic business messaging solutions, there is nothing close to the speed, configuration and deliverability, and that is what makes a winner, and doesn't everyone love a winner?
Please provide a little background on when, how, and why the company was established.
Six years ago, a team of very talented engineers set out to build a solution that would help all organizations communicate more efficiently and effectively with their customers. We believe that customers want to interact with organizations in a convenient, mobile-friendly form, on their own terms, with as little hassle as possible. No one really wants to call on the phone (much less wait on hold), and email is tremendously ineffective. It was clear to us then as it is today, the best channel for conducting business is messaging. Because we have built a platform that can address any of the workflows that are typical to phone conversations or email, we are now able to offer marketing, sales, or service, the channel of text messaging as a tremendously effective, efficient tool that delivers a significant savings and return on investment, while improving overall customer experience.
How does Prompt.io work and what is the main benefit for insurers using it?
There are three components to Prompt.io Messaging Suite, with each element providing unique benefits for insurers
- PromptMessaging focuses on business communications. If you communicate with customers on their terms, the ability to engage and conduct business, complete surveys, or any form of data collection is much greater. Text messages have a 98% open rate, and can see response rate of 45%. This is astronomically higher than traditional channels such as email which see response rate in the 2-5% range. And phone calls are both a high cost and low engagement with 80-90% of consumers now stating they ignore calls from unknown numbers. Prompt.io gives you a fast, effective, compliant way to reach customers via text both through broad outreach, an agent driven experience or dynamic response and automation. Led by the millennial generation, 83% of consumers now say they would prefer to be able to work with businesses via text.
- PromptExchange is all about enabling customers to work with businesses via text, such as updating records, filing claims or signing up for new policies. Text messaging improves communication but generally can’t gather structured data or integrate with systems in a way that constitutes “doing business.” PromptExchange allows insureds to seamlessly move from text to a mobile forms experience that can both present existing information and collect structured data that is then integrated with existing systems. This solution allows insurers a way to dynamically serve policy information or handle claims in one mobile experience. Moving the end-to-end customer experience from a bifurcated process that can include email, websites, and phone calls to one fast mobile experience. This significantly increases effectiveness and reduces overall costs, all while offering the customer a modern experience and increasing customer satisfaction.
- PromptPlatform ties the first two parts together and offers more advanced integration and developer tools to offer even greater capabilities. This could include customized solutions such as integrating voice into PromptExchange or integrating existing front-end systems to existing businesses processes or to maintain workflow.
Do you have any real-life examples of insurers who have used the product to streamline their customer experience process?
While we have quite a few examples, the one that sticks out to me is from the ITA Winter Meeting in NYC, where I met Ward Brokerage. Since then, Ward Brokerage has now enabled prospective life insurance applicants to use Prompt.io to submit their applications. Their prospects can now complete this process when and where it’s convenient for them with a text-first communications solution. Imagine completing your life insurance application while sitting on the bleachers of your child’s baseball game between innings versus in your agent's office!
What aspect of insurtech are you especially passionate about?
I get very excited about improving customer service and, more importantly, customer experiences. By introducing a truly modernized text messaging platform like Prompt.io, not only can insurance companies and brokers significantly reduce their overall customer service costs, but they can delight their customers. After all, as a customer by using a text-based customer service option, you remain in control of the time and the cadence of your conversation -- no more sitting on hold while waiting to either speak to an agent, or while the agent gets more information. I once read that the average person spends 43 days of their life on hold waiting for customer service. Just think of all of the things you could do with 43 days of your life. The idea that we can deliver huge savings to companies and they can give their customers back something as precious as time makes me especially happy.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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