What opportunities are you leaving on the table with your mobile investments?

It’s happened. The total number of mobile phones in the U.S. has surpassed our population—well in excess of 300 million are now in use across the country. As most of us know firsthand, smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps are truly pervasive and changing lives, the expectations of users, and the business operations that support them. Similar to the personal computer, mobile devices are quickly evolving and changing our daily routines, but at a much faster pace. The unfortunate news for many businesses is that the actual operation behind the curtain is evolving at a much slower rate than the mobile environment. For the many companies unable to keep up, this is leaving money and service improvements on the table.

A common example is the mobile app that lets the user report a claim through a smartphone. Many insurers have rolled out mobile apps that allow an insured to self-report an automobile accident, with the app facilitating everything from taking pictures, exchanging insurance and driver information, reporting the location, calling a tow truck from the scene, finding a rental car and repair shop, and so on. Pretty cool stuff. The reality is that many businesses are not capturing the value from this new mobile interaction. The mobile app might look and sound interesting, but the reality is that the operational processes behind the scenes remain largely the same. We’ve seen countless examples of this new technology supported by the same (or similar) old processes. In the example above, there’s an opportunity to turn what we traditionally refer to as “first notice of loss” (or “FNOL”) to “first and final notice of loss.” Many of our clients ask, “Auto-adjudication in healthcare has been commonplace for years. When is it going to be standard in property and casualty?”

The truth is that few companies are truly preparing the end-to-end operational change needed in the mobile environment. The result: missed opportunity to improve service and cost.

To help our clients work through the issues when considering mobile technology initiatives, we share these top-line lessons:

  • Don’t put a Band-Aid on top of the old operational processes, skills, roles, and service delivery. This will only drive up costs and create minimal improvement in service.
  • Rethink the end-to-end processes, skill requirements and metrics, starting with the customer or end user.
  • Plan and watch out for black holes from the customer perspective. The new mobile environment can be far more complex than the old when it comes to service delivery.
  • Measure the success of the new end-to-end model—especially service, cycle time, and cost. There’s a lot more value to be had in mobile than just creating the perception of a better customer experience.
  • Consider incentives to drive customer behaviors toward mobile. For example, the best customers (i.e., least likely to report a claim) may be best suited to self-report a claim. How would we incentivize them to use this more convenient, less expensive model? What about the customers who we would least prefer use the mobile environment?
  • Consider other ways to capture value from the new end-to-end mobile environment. For example, should we bundle a new service experience with a marketing or branding campaign?
  • What other initiatives underway are in conflict or need to be rethought as a result of the mobile model?

There’s no punch list or single best practice to follow in the new world of mobile—innovations are happening in near real-time. I would welcome hearing about your experiences with mobile, and I’d be happy to share more of our experiences helping clients to capture value from mobile investments. Please drop me a line at steve_discher@renolan.com.