I had the honour of giving a presentation during the First National General Insurance Conference 2017. it took place at Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra on Thursday 19th October.
The theme for the conference was “Transforming the General Insurance Industry in Ghana through Self-Regulation, Financial Capacity and Business Innovation.
I spoke on “Transforming the General Insurance Industry in Ghana through Business Innovation” and emphasized mainly on taking advantage of digital innovations. My article this week will focus on some key lessons and takeaways from my presentation which may be relevant to other businesses and sectors.
The main speaker for the event, Mr. Steven Oluch, CEO of ICEA LION General Insurance, Nairobi, Kenya in his presentation shared the following quote:
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” ― Christopher McDougall.
I would want to liken the sun coming out in the morning as the rise of the digital era. All companies whether big (lion) or small (gazelle) must run to survive. A company must either “change or die”!
Current market trends and technology empowers the customer and can also reduce costs for brands and businesses.
- THE MODERN CUSTOMER IS EMPOWERED!
- S/he has access to information: There is information about companies, products and services readily available and literally at the fingertips on customers. They can easily find out about your organizations reputation if they look in the right places in the digital space. This new customer makes purchase decisions based on social proof and information.
- Power to undo: The modern customer has the power to “undo” a company! Very recently faced global wrath for an advert deemed racist. The brand was quick to apologize via Twitter, saying it regretted the portrayal. We have seen the protests on Social Media at the Nivea “for visibly fairer skin” ad in the past few days with the #PullitDownNow tag on Social Media. In 2016 we slammed CNN with #GetitrightCNN in a report about the elections reporting that Ghanaians struggled to obtain food. The almighty #DumsorMustStop grew off the internet into an actual street protest! There are a dozen examples of what the empowered customer can “do and undo”.
- Direct access to a brand/business/organization: The modern customer can have access to the CEO of the company. There are different channels through which he can have access to your company. On social media platforms, this may be done with an audience watching! Today’s customer is soliciting customer service on social media more and more because Social Media allows him/her to connect with companies on a very personal level and promptly.
- Fickle and wants ease and fluidity
Today’s customer expects a company to know and seamlessly solve his problems. He does not have time to deal with the departments and divisions in your company. They may disengage with your brand if they do not receive a seamless experience. Companies which have taken the lead in providing seamless experiences like, WhatsApp (syncing mobile with desktop/laptop) and Chrome (being able to pick up from where you left off when you switch devices) have given the customer a taste of what to expect from brands.
- WE ARE MOBILE
- Brands and organizations have to take note of the fact that Internet accessibility in Africa is predominantly mobile.
- Our mobile devices are almost always within an arm’s reach and go everywhere with us.
- The mobile phone may be the first thing we interact with when we wake up from sleep, and may even be responsible for waking us from sleep!
- The explosion of data
Due to the digital explosion we are leaving so much data that reveal patterns, trends, and associations, relating to our behaviour and interactions. Uber and Ayalolo may have data on your transportation habits. Facebook may know your wedding anniversary! We are making so much data that companies are struggling to keep up and to try and make sense of this data i.e. turn it into knowledge.
Taking the reins
How can we embrace and make the most of this digital revolution?
- The empowered customer
- Brands and businesses must make relevant information readily available to their customers and prospects across all their digital touchpoints.
- Brands and businesses must use social media to address pain points.
- Brands and businesses must use social media as a helpline. Your customers should be able to reach you via your social media platforms.
- Brands and businesses must use social media to educate customers and prospects.
- Gather feedback
Customer feedback can be one of the greatest sources of learning for a brand/business. Feedback gives an understanding of the why’s behind revenue numbers and other implicit metrics.
- Make them advocates
You can make your customers advocates for your brand on Social media. You can brag about how good your product/service is, however, social media advocacy is a better way to spread the word. You have testimonials from people who have actually experienced your brand. This is like having third party cheerleaders who use their personal social media accounts to promote your brand. This is the traditional “word-of-mouth” marketing approach in digital form.
- be customer centric
Whatever digital medium you are using to reach your customer was created because of the customer and must function as such. Social media is about connecting with people. Brands and businesses must remember not to lose the personal touch. Build relationships with your customer even before and after a transaction takes place.
- Being mobile
The mobile era requires all brands and businesses to have mobile versions of their websites. These mobile sites should have the following features:
- It should be easy to take action on your mobile site after your customer has made a decision about your product or service.
- Important information should be readily available. Customers do not have to pinch and zoom and scroll before they find relevant information.
- It should be easy for customers to contact you via your mobile website, it is a “mobile” website so the ability to give your company a call or send an SMS or instant message etc will be very useful.
- Your mobile websites design should be light to enable fast loading even when internet connectivity is low.
- Use data!
Facebook uses algorithms to design our newsfeeds and show us content which is relevant with us. Companies should follow suit and deal with their prospects and customer. There is an Insurtech called Digital Fineprint which uses data they gather on LinkedIn to get an idea about a person’s income and information on Facebook to determine his/her appetite for risk.
- …riding the digital waves
Organisations which will win the race when the sun comes up should:
- Share data across teams
- Develop products and services around the customer
- Build relationships (before and even after transactions)
- Allocate budget for digital
- Train and make their staff social media literate.
- Collaborate with IT/Digital marketing experts to come up with products and applications that can meet the needs of the modern customer.
- The importance of having an army of employee advocates in the digital space
“The people who work for the company” are the biggest marketing asset that a brand can have. Your employees can be your biggest advocates on and offline.
Apart from the Social Media manager or marketing team making use of Social Media platforms to market their brand, alternative individuals working at the company might act as ambassadors on their Social Media channels. Training your employees will help them to use social media responsibly and you will avoid most online disasters.
Educate your employees and see a spike in your profits through exposure, brand awareness and increased revenue. Encouraging them to use Social Media and equipping them by way of training is one of the best investments a brand can make in this internet age.
if your company would like to hire me to either provide on-site Social Media training to your team, and/or to help your company organize an internal Social Media training programme for your employees, please feel free to contact me through any of the communication means below! I will be delighted to assist you.
Have a fruitful week!