Lessons in customer centricity

Teachings from the use of mobile apps in the insurance industry have given Yaron Assabi, the founder of the Digital Solutions Group (DSG), unique insights into how a frictionless commerce experience can improve customer retention.

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credit Rob Hampson
"hone it and they will stay", is the author's slogan for the connected age Credit: Rob Hampson on Unsplash

“A frictionless experience for your customers, employees and suppliers is non-negotiable when looking to succeed in competitive markets. The reason for this is simple: when you remove friction from a process or a system, you give back the resource no one can generate more of, time. In the future, the most powerful brands will be customer-centric. Successful companies will know their customer and will be the customer’s advocates.”

In the past, online shopping was primarily about convenience. According to Wired, the online trend accelerated by 77% just months into the pandemic, progressing innovation and adoption of digital commerce by half a decade. Shopping, working and socialising online became mainstream worldwide because it was the only way to connect with others while staying safe, advancing digital commerce from a nice-to-have to a necessity.

Those habits have stuck. Many people now routinely order groceries on Checkers Sixty60 or hail a cab through Uber or Bolt. We order movie, travel and sports tickets online or use a self-service kiosk that is effectively the e-commerce experience in a booth. “Teams” is becoming the common term for online meetings, a modern example of the phenomenon called genericisation.

We are now truly becoming a connected society and in that context, there is one fundamental requirement for success in the services sector, according to Yaron Assabi, founder of the Digital Solutions Group (DSG). Says Assabi: “A frictionless experience for your customers, employees and suppliers is non-negotiable when looking to succeed in competitive markets. The reason for this is simple: when you remove friction from a process or a system, you give back the resource no one can generate more of, time. In the future, the most powerful brands will be customer-centric. Successful companies will know their customer and will be the customer’s advocates.”

Lessons in customer centricity

The digital era should make services and companies more customer-centric, meaning a move away from focusing on products as the primary catalyst for innovation and improvement. It should be easier to reduce friction for customers, looking holistically at how data, supply chain and commerce technology – coupled with digital solutions – can create a frictionless experience for customers. This is easier said than done, especially for solutions that involve apps, says Assabi:

“The biggest challenge for mobile apps is retention. Getting users to download an app is one thing but bringing them back to the app is another ballgame and continues to be a major hurdle in almost every app’s growth journey; 66% of users do not return to the app after a week of installing the application. In addition, one in two apps are uninstalled within one month of download.”

According to research by Netcore Cloud, several reasons combine to produce such poor results:

  • Poor first-time experiences that lead to higher time-to-value
  • Complicated navigation that makes it difficult for users to find the relevant features (low feature discovery)
  • Lack of guidance on how to use features (absence of in-app guides leading to low feature adoption)
  • Intrusive app experience (flashy pop-ups and alerts)
  • Too many steps to reach the final conversion point
  • The rapid change in the way users interact with apps

Becoming customer-centric

These problems reflect the broader challenges around using customer-centricity. Many organisations might think they are focused on customer-related metrics, but their use is still superficial. Forward-thinking insurers provide a great example of this principle in reverse.

Assabi notes: “We partner with companies in the short-term insurance industry, making use of IoT data from the sensors of the mobile device to observe how people drive and therefore offer them better insurance quotes, tailored to their specific driving behaviour. Traditional auto insurance underwriting heavily weighs credit and driving history, so young drivers with lean credit are often unfairly penalised. Consumers, especially those under 30, often pay more even if they are less risky. We leverage trust and frequency of communications to create multiple positive touch points during the time that we observe the consumer driving behaviour and consumers can save between 10 and 40%.”

Using data as a two-way link with customers, these insurers use innovative features such as IoT-monitored “digital test drives” to help customers get personalised quotes. For insurers, it provides a non-comparative and differentiated value proposition that is personalised and helps convert more leads. The insurer also only quotes for their preferred risk, making it more profitable in the long term. In terms of apps, successful insurers also use “digital nudges” to provide contextual relevance and help drive higher conversions at every touchpoint. Nudges can introduce segment-specific features, highlight personalised content and facilitate low-code A/B testing.

“Your customers want to trust they can find, buy and get the products they want every time they shop, as well as trust that businesses will keep their financial and personal data safe and secure,” says Assabi. “We combine mobility data with other financial data to segment and target more effectively and we use data and risk scores to create a frictionless commerce experience. Our design team focuses on the customer journey to ensure customers have all the information they need to find the right product for them.” Customer-centricity fuelled by intelligent use of data leads to the kind of innovation and frictionless experiences that build trust between customers and brands. This is not a fad aimed at driving traffic. Rather, this is a sincere way to align business goals with customer sentiment and support. It’s not “Build it and they will come.” The slogan of the connected era is, “Hone it and they will stay.” The road to that result is customer-centricity.

What are you doing to ensure your customers stay?

Yaron Assabi, founder of the Digital Solutions Group
Yaron Assabi, founder of the Digital Solutions Group

About Digital Solutions Group

With a track record spanning 24 years, DSG has become one of Africa’s leading providers of On-Demand Customer Experience and Digital Solutions, serving some of Africa’s premier consumer-facing and corporate brands. 

For more visit: dsg.co.za