Owning the human to human

Those still wondering how the long-predicted techno wave of disruption might affect them need only look to Uber for a graphic illustration of how truly consumer-centric marketing can turn an entire industry on its head.

There’s no doubt Uber is creating fans and fear in equal measure as it transforms logistics across the globe, garnering consumer love on the one hand, government raids and violent protests on the other.

Be an advocate for the customer – it’s time to get it right

From a customer perspective, it’s easy to love Uber taxis. Simple to use, always-on, quick-to-respond, and cheaper travel door-to-door. All arranged and paid for seamlessly, without a second thought.

But to the incumbent licensed taxi trade, it’s a disruptive force stirring wholly negative emotions. While Uber is seen as expanding choice for the travelling public, the fear of disruption has prompted violent reactions which have blocked roads, limiting everyone’s choice in a too literal interpretation of the notion “be the disruption you fear”.

That fear of uberisation now stalks the entire business landscape – and financial services is not immune.

Peer-to-peer transformation
Uber’s regulation-busting takeover of the taxi trade shows that transformative development can be implemented by anyone who masters the complexity of marketing to empowered customers, without the need to invest in and own every lever of the mechanism.

While traditional industry leaders are busy finding compliant solutions from within the industry, peer to peer transformation of the industry is already a reality. Transferwise and Zopa – to name but two – offer peer to peer financing solutions which undercut the traditional players and broaden the market. Uvamo is poised to do the same for P&C insurance, bringing together those seeking insurance and those seeking investment returns from participation in the insurance business.

In the face of such unpredictable technological disruption – where the next big thing might well spring from the imagination of a 14 year-old bedroom coder – to stay relevant it’s crucial to look beyond the channel and the device for changes in consumer behaviour.

Cutting it on the customer interface
Although the technological revolution is outpacing our ability to predict it, financial security remains an emotional issue. The machines won’t have it all their own way. Tech solutions may grab the headlines, but it’s customers who buy the products and pay the premiums. The user experience is vital.

In the battle for control of the customer interface, the key lies in understanding the customer’s motivation: how the revolution of mobile devices – including wearables – has affected how people connect and communicate, how they engage a brand, and how their lifestyle changes affect the way they behave.

The effective response to a fear of uberisation lies beyond the device, beyond the channel – understanding consumer behaviour remains paramount if one is serious about owning the H2H, where the real value lies. Be an advocate for the customer – meet needs. Fulfil them. That may sound basic. If so, it’s time to get it right.