Tag Archives: avis

Stop Drowning in Big Data; Use It Right

What’s the big deal about big data?

Big data is an enormously appealing subject these days. However, many companies miss the big picture when collecting it — or drowning in it. There is an idea that the more data, the better. In fact, the focus should be on determining the right data to help improve the overall customer experience.

Raining Big Data
Big data is like the weather — we’re talking about it, but we haven’t quite figured out how to do anything about it. Even fewer know how to leverage it. There are lots of questions but few answers. For example, who’s familiar with the 3Vs?

But don’t be afraid to get wet. Data can be used to improve many things for many people – including your employees and customers. I say “can” because, before you do anything, you need to make sure you are using the right data — and not just the random troves collected throughout the years. Mining the right data can lead you to the right customer problems, which can then be solved, creating a better customer experience.

Background Checks
Always define before measuring. What does great customer experience look like in your industry? Figure out what you need to do to wow customers and then compare that with the reality of your business as it stands now.

I’ve utilized customer journey mapping, net promoter scores and voice of the customer metrics with great results. You can even provide customers incentives to help you out with input.

Here’s a smart way to do that. Start by checking the leading survey on customer experience, the Forrester Customer Experience Index, to see where your organization lands. It might surprise you.

Reliable Friends Are Powerful Friends
Right data helps organizations do many things, including:

• Anticipate what customers want before they ask for it
• Identify customer pain points and resolve them
• Create new business value
• Improve customer service interactions
• Develop more effective marketing and better products
• Improve operational efficiencies

Take Southwest Airlines. It’s using speech analytics to extract data-rich info from live-recorded interactions between customers and personnel to get a better understanding of customers.

Or read about Avis Budget’s data-driven growth model. It uses big data to identify the most valuable customers today and tomorrow.

How, you ask?

By examining a broad range of data sources, including structured information like purchase histories, CRM data and intelligence from industry partners, as well as unstructured information like social media, blogs and videos. Sorting through the data has helped all customers be treated like VIPs.

These are only two examples of forward-thinking leaders using the right data to create actionable insights that monetize their data. There are many more. What about your competitors? How far along are they down the big data road? And are they using the right data?

The 'Sharing Economy': What It Means for Insurers (Part 1 of 3)

Insurers have always been at the forefront of responding to user needs. Direct marketing and online portals make it easier for consumers to understand and purchase insurance. Usage-based insurance (UBI) allows safe drivers, particularly those who drive less, to reduce their premiums. Even insurance company-sponsored coffee houses offer a unique way to gain financial service knowledge and one-on-one access to experts.

Today, a different type of opportunity exists that may help insurers not only meet changing consumer needs but gain first-mover advantage in the process. Called the “sharing economy,” this market involves renting privately or company-owned assets—generally cars or homes—primarily through an online, peer-to-peer network. While the car-sharing market in North America is exploding, few insurers have even begun to explore this market.

As people continue to seek new opportunities in this economy, and as Millennials begin to take control, it’s likely that this idea of “sharing” will not only thrive but expand. The question is: Can insurance companies make a reasonable profit from this market? If so, how will they adapt their models to meet the new consumer demands?

To begin answering these questions, we will take a look at three areas. In this article, the first part, we’ll define the sharing economy and examine some of the innovative models already in play. Then we’ll discuss the insurance challenges that sharing-economy companies are facing, and the insurance industry’s response. Finally, we’ll look at four steps insurers can take to begin evaluating the sharing economy as a viable business opportunity.

Access trumps ownership

The sharing economy offers a fast and efficient way for owners of assets and renters to connect through online services. Two main stars have emerged in the sharing economy: auto and home. Companies like RelayRides and Getaround can help a consumer rent a car for a few hours of errands or even enjoy an SUV for a weekend in the mountains. The other main sector, home rental, allows owners to rent out their homes or simply a room on a short-term basis through companies like Airbnb. As the sharing economy branches out, owners are renting out other assets such as parking spaces, tools and camping gear.

It’s all about monetizing unused capacity of an asset for owners. For renters, it’s about gaining quick and easy access to those assets without being bogged down by ownership. Access, in a sense, becomes a service that is paid for per time increment or by distance.

Much of this market is being driven by the Millennials who grew up with the ideas of sharing, renting and paying small transactional fees for access to things such as music and movies. This generation has been slow to move out of their parents’ houses, and many delay getting their driver’s license for a few years. They simply don’t value ownership the way previous generations have. That means sales are down for this generation, especially on large items such as cars.

As the sharing economy becomes more popular, large companies are jumping into the mix. For example, Avis paid $500 million for Zipcar to gain access to the peer-to-peer market. Daimler’s Car2Go charges 38 cents per minute including fuel, insurance and parking. And GM invested in RelayRides to allow peer-to-peer rentals of OnStar-enabled cars.

There’s a reason consumers and corporations are embracing this model. Forbes predicts that the global sharing economy will grow by 25 percent this year, reaching more than $3.5 billion. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the North American car-sharing economy alone will reach $3.3 billion by 2016, with 9 million members participating. And once self-driving cars come into play, decreasing the risk inherent in different driving behaviors, the car-sharing model could explode.

Next week, we'll explore the interactions between sharing-economy advocates and insurance companies.