Online financial services can unlock significant economic value that can be passed directly along to consumers, but how exactly is the industry tracking in terms of technology?
“In terms of how South Africa is tracking against the rest of the world, we see a huge gap where technology can play a role in championing the consumer,” says Derek Wilson, head of the online insurance and financial comparison Web site, Hippo.co.za.
South Africans are embracing disruptive technology at a rapid rate, with companies like Uber having created over 2 000 jobs since they launched in South Africa in 2013, clocking up over two million booked trips in the first half of 2015 alone.
So, what are the key focus areas that South African companies in particular should focus on to provide consumers with the best solutions?
Put the consumer first in everything you do. Never before has consumer sentiment been more vital for brands to monitor. Having a product that is vested in consumer benefits doesn’t hurt, but brands need to show them at every given opportunity what value they are bringing.
User experience is everything. As technology becomes increasingly mobile, with most consumers using their mobile phones as the first touchpoint to their service providers, products should be simple, easy to use and effectively give consumers an experience they will keep coming back for.
Give your consumers a personal touchpoint if they need it. Technology is the future, but people still want to know that they can talk to someone on the other end of the line if things go wrong.
Make big data work for you and your consumers. The wealth of information available on consumer habits and preferences through analysing big data means that the research is already there. By analysing data correctly, we should be able to interpret what consumers really want and offer them solutions that fit their needs.
Get creative. The scope to innovate in South Africa is limitless, particularly in the insurance market. Insurers are already using technology like GPS to innovate in the auto insurance market, and comparison websites are consistently looking to benchmark industry standards to ultimately give consumers the best value.
Consumers are looking to revolutionaries, and the transparency that technology provides is pushing companies to innovate more. The insurance industry in South Africa has led the charge in creating technology-first financial services and to ensure we’re tracking against global best practice.