By Arjen de Boer, Managing Partner ITDS – Customers nowadays place an order in a single click, base their choices on reviews and expect perfection on their mobile. The lesson then, is not to think from the perspective of technology, but from the behaviour of your customer. In this way, greatness can start from small beginnings.
When it comes to digital innovation, I can honestly say that it feels as if insurers aren’t going further than words and well-intentioned initiatives. For the moment, anyway. And that is for the simple reason that organisations often lack the necessary knowledge, let alone a vision about what to do with it. To me, this begs the question of what the real reason is that we wax so lyrical about anything that has to do with digital innovation? Is it customer-driven? Or does it have more to do with the image of the insurer? I fear it’s the latter.
In my day-to-day work I notice that insurers want to be seen as innovative. They like to think that they do things “just that little bit differently”. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when it comes to technology and digital innovation, insurers nowadays seem to want to do too much too soon. A colleague once said to me: “Get the basics right first, and then do it with style”. Or, as Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff used to say, “Playing football is simple, but playing simple football is very difficult”. First of all you need to get things under control and document why you do what you do. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only way to become really good at anything. In any sport, for example, the winner is the one who does it the best, not necessarily the one who does it differently.
Overtaken by customers
I am convinced that new technology and methodologies can make the ways that we work a lot more efficient. But at the same time, I’m also afraid that we might lose sight of the most important objective, namely maintaining contact with the customer. While organisations busily figure out how to implement technology and how to stand out from the crowd, they are being overtaken by customers on all sides. Let’s make absolutely no mistake about this: customers are much more digitally mature and online savvy.
Consumers’ choices are based on reviews and they expect self-service backed up by 24/7 support. If your platform is not completely mobile-friendly, they’ll be gone. Other business sectors are coping with this situation much better and implementing one solution after the other. The insurance sector, however, is lagging behind. A challenge? Definitely. But it should not be done from an introverted innovation perspective, but from an extroverted one that looks outside. Take a critical look at which tools will genuinely improve your customers’ experience and perception. And rather than doing everything just a little bit, do a few key things a lot better and stay primarily focused on the right objective. Like Cruyff also used to say: “You cannot score without a ball”. Without customers? Well, you can fill in the blanks for yourself…