By Harnath Babu, CIO, Aviva Life Insurance
Mobility has made a significant jump in the last decade transforming from simple handhelds to complex next-generation smartphones and this has led to the proliferation of mobile devices across consumers. The higher adoption of mobility has resulted in businesses competing with one another to discover further means to exploit these technologies for better customer service and growth. With technology always at hand, customers expect faster responses and personal attention from every organization they transact with. Mobile means no more waiting in line and being connected means the way businesses communicate with their customers.
Like other industries, financial services companies too first leveraged on mobility as communication and connectivity enabler. As the technology became more ubiquitous, the utility value of mobile devices increased multi-fold. Many early adopters started utilizing these devices in their field operations. As an example, an insurance company started
sending text messages to customers informing them on status of their policies or reminding on premium due date.
With changes in technology, it advanced to collecting renewal premiums and issuing premium receipts to customers using a connected Bluetooth mobile printer on the move. This was further extended by P&C carriers to enhance auto claims processing using basic smartphones, which could transmit pictures and reports from surveyors back to the company in real-time for quicker turnaround of claims settlement, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
Advancement of Networking and Smartphone technologies
Financial services companies have evolved along with advancements in web and mobility technologies and it did not really take them long to leap forward from brick and mortar setup to virtual. With the advancement of networking and smartphone technologies, they quickly fostered themselves to provide mobility applications for customers to download on their mobile phones and transact with the company in real-time.
There have been interesting applications of mobility and social in the financial services sector, which are emerging at a rapid pace and have been seeing traction amongst customers and companies. Many companies are leveraging mobility and social to launch new product ideas, such as mobile live chat options to elicit user opinions and provide basic services to drive customer satisfaction.
With lowered switching barriers, customer service becomes an important aspect for retaining customer loyalty. For a bank, it would be beneficial to provide mobile-based personalized services like opening of account, fund transfers, payment of bills, etc, as today’s customer is ready to pay premium for services which are available round the clock, anywhere and anytime. For instance, an insurance company can provide mobile applications to customers for completing self-servicing options such as requesting for a change in policy terms, payment of premium or purchasing a policy itself.
The stickiness created by a mobile application can be further exploited to do cross and up-sell of various other products being offered by the company. Today’s customer is a muti-channel user and providing a consistent and unified experience across all channels is no more theoretical. Branch innovation is yet another imperative that companies need to consider while targeting the customer of today and future. As an example, an HNI customer walking in to a bank branch can be given personalized experience using a tablet-based application by a customer service executive instead of making him wait with others in the queue. This will not only enable the bank to provide customer delight, but also an opportunity to offer more customized products and better customer retention.
Banks and insurance companies are also rapidly arming their sales force with tablet/mobile-based solutions that provide real-time access to carrier systems. These enable agents a convenient way to showcase their offerings to prospects and to readily adapt as per unique client needs.
The agent can convert a prospect to a customer as quickly as in few minutes by collecting information in real time and getting it processed at the backend or through automated underwriting solutions. Sales team managers can use mobile-based performance dashboards to monitor leads and conversions to optimize sales performance and make
commission payments to agents. Smartphones are here to stay, and the challenge for companies is to determine how to use mobility to capture growth and uncover new forms of competitive advantage. In a mobile world, things don’t stand still for long.