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A personal service agent for everyone

A personal service agent for everyone

Berry CoeberghWritten by Berry Coebergh – October 25, 2017.

As part of my job at OnMarc, I am currently working for an insurance company. The goal is to better analyze customer behavior using the customer services app. As you may expect, performance is a major aspect of the analysis. However, better understanding of the customer and the way he or she uses the app, and whether we make enough impact, is way more important. We need to look at the app usage as part of the overall customer journey.

An app is different from a website 

The way you measure and interpret things on an app is substantially different from a website. Although the sales funnel offers the same look and feel when using the app and the site, for active customers the use is different. Almost all users of an app are logged in, therefore customer details can be pre-filled when, for instance, the sales funnel is used. Customers are far better able to go through the sales process when using an app. New opportunities for online marketers arise. But an app is not just for sales: customers can do a number of other things using the app: from checking their insurance coverage to reporting a damage and to inform you that they will move to a new house. For the customer, the app should act as a customer services agent, but he/she is in control of it all! A customer therefore starts to interact more often with the app, and hence the insurance company.

When customers choose to use your company’s app, they get very personal with you and your relationship changes directly: the interaction is more confidential (and more frequent). This gives you a big responsibility: when you do it well, individuals become loyal customers resulting in a longstanding relationship. When things go wrong you probably lose them at once. This means it is important to service customers with personal experiences, not just based on app behavior, but based on the combination of all interaction across all touchpoints. Being it marketing channels, apps, websites or other devices and interfaces customers use.


How can you make the app as personal as possible?

For my current project, the focus is on the customer journey. How does the customer behave in the app and does he or she switch to using the website? When we see that they switch, it is a potential sign that the app process may not be easy to use for the customer. Together with a UX designer, Visual Designer, and a developer we brainstorm on how to improve the app. Using A/B testing we can measure and understand whether the changes that were made had the impact we hoped for. In a recent case we have achieved a decline of 8% of applies for a physical document. These documents were a lot of work for customer agents at the back end, but by making only small adjustments on the app, it became much more user friendly.

A few changes, enormous impact

In some instances, we have seen that just a few, small text changes on a screen have made an impact on customer behavior. But to analyze this, detailed data on the user behavior is required. Creating a data-driven app is important for the whole team, from development staff to the product owner. The product owner can prioritize his backlog on cases that will generate the biggest impact instead of just taking a guess at which cases the development team should implement first. Moving to data-driven app development is not an easy process. It should happen evolutionary. Once the value of the data is seen and used by all team members, the benefits become obvious.

How can we make the next steps?

A customer does not use an insurance app daily; insurance is not like that. However, when we are able to use app technology to change from a reactive model (paying damage claims) to a more proactive model where we inform customers about potential future damage, we can have a significant impact. Preventing water damage, theft and storm damage are just the first steps. Interacting with a digital service agent that uses artificial intelligence to better communicate with you and who gives personal advice will follow. You have the choice: does the use of a digital service agent frighten or will you embrace the new features and use service apps?