If there are any die-hard Madonna fans out there, forgive me for paraphrasing but we are living in a digital world and if we don’t see the light, we won’t be Mr Right for our customers.
The world today bears no resemblance to the one I lived in when I first started in this industry. The largest taxi company in the world owns no vehicles; the most popular media owner creates no content; and the largest distributor of films doesn’t operate a single cinema. It’s never been truer to say that just because something’s always been done one way, it’s doesn’t mean it should continue to be done that way. Our customers are demanding new ways of buying financial services products and of interacting with their providers. They want speed, mobility and transparency.
Rather than seeing this as a threat, the digital world is a world that intermediaries can embrace – but identifying where to start can be overwhelming.
I’d recommend looking at how you can use technology to help out on all the heavy lifting. You’ve used sourcing systems for years to take away some of the research burden – so why not use technology to ease the fact finding and sign-up process?
Get your clients or prospects to provide relevant information online before you meet, enabling you to filter the right options to put in front of them when you meet. Get their permission to access their credit file before the meeting so that you can score them in advance, again meaning that you can rule out what they’re ineligible for and put the most appropriate offers in front of them when you meet. Set up the ability for them to digitally sign documentation, speeding up the process further. Invest in CRM software so that your client can update themselves as to progress of their application. E-conveyancers have been doing this for years now, so why can’t you?
None of this is new – there’s just more available to you to use and your customers are more willing to do business electronically, enabling them to interact with you and update themselves as and when they want.
It’s not just intermediaries having to embrace new ways of doing things – insurers and providers of insurance such as ourselves are also having to challenge how we’ve done business in the past and look at how we can use technology to make your lives easier as well as supporting you as your customers demand a faster online service. One example of how the team at the Source embraced the digital world was the introduction of our e-doc portal, providing your customers with instant access to their policy documentation in a secure online environment.
It’s proved to be really popular and as customers themselves use the likes of Dropbox to store and share their own personal documents, they expect to be able to access their financial products or instructions for their household electronic equipment online from their smartphone. If you haven’t considered cloud-based services like Dropbox then I would urge you to review them. It’s not just a question of having a secure storage facility for your customers that is constantly backed up; it provides your advisors with access to these documents as well as other business information. Invaluable if they’re out on the road.
The basic tools are out there to help you embrace today’s digital world and enable even the smallest companies to compete with the major players. So what’s stopping you?
Brian Coulton, is head of sales at Source Insurance