Last month, our CEO, Ofer Deshe, has been invited to run a workshop on “Humanizing Insurance”, for eleven InsureTech start-ups at the accelerator programme Startupbootcamp London*. Ofer has been also a mentor there, sharing his expertise and knowledge in user experience, human-centered design and innovation.
Managing customer’s expectations
Ofer started his talk with a scene from the movie “Falling Down” where William Foster (Michael Douglas) enters a fast food restaurant at 11:32am and asks for a ham and cheese whamlet breakfast. Unfortunately, he is told it is against the company’s policy to serve breakfast after 11:30am. When William pulls out his TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol, the staff change their mind! They offer William breakfast, but he decides that perhaps after what they just been gone through, he should treat himself and enjoy a juicy burger.
After much anticipation, the burger arrives, but when William opens the package, he becomes extremely angry and starts to shout at the staff. It is not the burger that he saw in the pictures above the counter. What a disappointment. What a letdown.
Sounds familiar, ha! Unlike most Hollywood scenes, this situation happens to us all, almost every day. Businesses, service providers, fancy products, agencies and many other organizations let us down every single day. 25 years later, this scene is still a perfect illustration of how you must never manage your customers’ expectations.
InsureTech Business + customer = L4E?
Insurance companies are not particularly known for good customer experience. The insurance industry is aware of the issue. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI): “For an industry full of people passionate about making a difference for customers, it is extremely disappointing that the sector has so badly failed to secure their trust.”
InsureTech: Promising Opportunity for Better Customer Experience?
Technology and new digital platforms offer insurers the opportunity to get closer to their customers and provide a personalized and improved service. InsureTech, FinTech, FoodTech, it sounds like it is all about technology. But unless you are creating back office systems or processes it is not. Unlocking value is not just about technology. The relationship between people and technology plays a crucial role on that market, and has never been more important.
Great customer experience is increasingly the key contributor to business success and growth. Yet, as Ofer pointed out in the workshop, many start-ups have been struggling to meet the needs of their customers and manage their expectations well. To do this well you need to know your customers.
How many FinTech and InsureTech startups really know their customers’ needs and expectations? How many start-ups actually spend meaningful time with their customers, or any time? Can you create a real digital transformation and change people’s lives if you rarely leave the inside of an office that looks like a shed? Which elements of your business propositions really support your customers and fit their context? Frequently, the answer is “yes, we know our target audience, and we have done customer development, surveys or A/B testing”. But when one digs deeper, most “insights” are based on guesses, assumptions, or badly conducted and heavily biased attitudinal conversations. Rarely people conduct proper user research, evaluation or validation. Most “data” is based on anecdotal evidence, stereotypes industry reports and heavily biased brainstorm sessions. The results is an “elastic user”, a person that doesn’t exist and whose needs have been made up by a committee:
The needs and expectations are influenced by the leadership team, IT department, product owner, sales team, and the opinion of project stakeholders. Eventually, they will all be surprised when their solution is too complicated and unusable, or it is a problem waiting for the right solution.
That’s why a successful insurance business needs proper user research investigation. This involves “a deep understanding of behaviour, scientific research and human-centered design techniques to create digital experience that people love”, Ofer said.
How to conduct the right customer research?
As a digital innovation consultancy, Tobias & Tobias often observes people and their behaviour within a context. It is important to apply a scientific research approach. In our own work, we make sure that our clients understand the real challenges people face, identify new opportunities, find out unexpected and unpredictable behaviors, validate assumptions, and build customer empathy.
But it does not always need to involve experts. In the workshop, Ofer has provided participants with a number of techniques that would help them to create the right customer experiences for their digital services. Doing something right is better than the typical scenario of doing nothing, creating an MVP and thinking: Let’s hope it will turn out right.
In conclusion, measure twice, cut once: customer experience and issues cost up to 100 times to fix post-implementation.
Need help with your digital insurance projects? We will be delighted to have a chat. Our goal is to help insurers to create services that people love to use, and ultimately to improve the success of your business. Just say hi and share with us your challenges at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Startupbootcamp is a three-month program open to startups across the globe and is the first FinTech accelerator to receive support from leaders in the financial technology.