Largest P&C InsureTech and B2B roadside services providers partner to deliver convenient, touchless emergency road support to policyholders
As the coronavirus pandemic creates disruptions across the United States, consumers of all ages are facing a new normal. With social distancing measures, widespread remote work, and shuttered stores and public institutions, the ways that Americans go about their lives is changing in unprecedented ways. While Millennials and Gen Z were early adopters of digital tools and services prior to the pandemic, we are now seeing a new normal where the remaining technology laggards within Baby Boomers and Gen X are rapidly adopting digital technologies to help with their daily tasks. As they recognize the benefits of these technologies, consumers are likely to stick to them even once the pandemic has ended, leapfrogging digital to the forefront of many industries, and creating new expectations for digital consumer experiences.
These last few months have had an unprecedented impact on our communities, our families, our economies, and frankly, our basic sense of normalcy. Yet through it all, essential workers, everyday heroes, and even consumers seeking groceries or medical care have taken to the roads, and more often than they would have liked, found themselves in need of assistance from roadside events and accidents. Our clients, agents and network rose to the new challenges presented. Emergency services is about managing the unexpected and we are used to dealing with crisis. However, providing roadside during a pandemic has been a powerful test in technology implementation, empathy, agility and resilience.
A few months ago, we highlighted Agero’s On Demand App, enabled through VIVR (Visual Interactive Voice Response). Since 2014, we have seen the preference for self-service roadside assistance requests nearly triple, so we introduced our On Demand App on our roadside platform in 2018 as a way to deliver a digital experience for our clients who do not have their own branded native app.
However, among the self-service channels, mobile apps are the most preferred. For consumers who are used to using their mobile devices to order food, request a ride, or deposit a check, the mobile roadside experience is considered faster and overall preferable to speaking with an agent by phone. We make it easy for our clients to create a seamless digital roadside experience directly in their own mobile apps using Agero’s Mobile API.
We have seen digital roadside requests through our mobile API grow by 50% over the past 12 months. For both our clients and consumers, there are significant benefits over other request channels:
- 100% digital – Vehicle and personal details are prefilled with information from the customer’s profile, helping to speed up the request process. The vehicle location is captured by the phone’s GPS, and all breakdown information is submitted digitally, which ensures the service provider receives clear and accurate job data. After the request is submitted, the customer receives follow-ups by text message. However, if an event does require further support, full integration with Agero’s platform allows a seamless transition to an agent-assisted experience.
- Seamless brand experience – Clients own the end-to-end user experience with roadside requests integrated into their native apps. Consumers get an additional useful feature in the client app, enhancing app stickiness, and increasing engagement with the brand.
- Emerging interactive channels – Our API isn’t just for mobile apps. Clients can create innovate user experiences by integrating roadside assistance into their smart device programs, such as Alexa skills for Amazon Echo Auto.
- Higher NPS – Customers who request roadside assistance through a mobile app report NPS 10 points higher on average than those who use non-digital channels, and 5 points higher than those who initiate the process by phone and transfer to a digital channel.
We’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier to use our mobile API, or to add more features that our clients can integrate into their mobile apps. Here are some recent releases:
- Dispatch scheduling – Many customers, including the nearly 35% whose cars break down at home or at work, may not need immediate roadside assistance, or may prefer to request assistance for a specific time. We now offer the ability to schedule a dispatch through our mobile API for a future time slot. Customers are given the option to choose among a list of available time slots but cannot choose times that already booked up. One hour before the selected time, a digital dispatch is created and assigned to a local service provider.
- Drop-in UI – For clients who want to validate customer demand for mobile roadside requests before investing in UI development, we now offer a web-based user interface that can be displayed directly in their branded native app. Customer information is pre-populated in the roadside request interface to enhance the user experience.
- Improved sandbox – We moved our staging environment to Amazon Web Services to take advantage of its superior reliability and stability. Mobile app and API testing is now available at any time without prior notice or scheduling, giving our clients’ dev teams more flexibility.
We are excited about the possibilities as more customers request roadside assistance through our clients’ mobile apps. We continue to invest in improvements and new features for our mobile API – stay in the loop with our blog to learn about them as they are released.
In the meantime, if you are thinking about how to encourage consumers to use your digital channels, check out some best practices here.
At Agero, in order to best service millions of consumers every year, we spend a lot of time and research staying on top of consumer trends. Since 2014 we have seen the preference for self-service nearly triple. Recognizing this shift, our team has been hard at work developing new channels and enhancing existing channels in order to provide a better consumer experience.
Based on consumer research we have found that consumers who use sponsored roadside support have a great affinity to their roadside provider. In fact, this can have a dramatic impact on NPS even for consumers who don’t take advantage of the benefit.
Delivering a roadside service and peace of mind to over 115 million drivers is no small feat and one that we take incredibly seriously at Agero. We have been building the pieces and evolving with the needs of the industry for over 45 years. We are proud to service more than 12 million events per year but there is always room for improvement.
As countless new innovative disruptions extend to nearly every corner of our economy, now is the time for many industries, roadside services included, to transform themselves and fully embrace the digital business model. These disruptions—such as mobile apps à la Uber that provide instant response through easy-to-use technology—result in more competition, provide new choices and offer even greater convenience for clients and consumers, but pose a serious threat to those companies that fail to adapt.
Semi-autonomy is coming FAST. It’s creating driver confusion, changing driver behavior, and potentially changing driver risk. This has sparked enormous interest among insurance professionals.
Innovation is a buzzword that’s tossed around a lot these days, and as with most buzzwords, it’s been drained of meaning. At Agero we believe true innovation— that is, innovation that has value and isn’t just an empty word—is change for the sake of the customer. This customer-centric focus means that, for established industry leaders like Agero, innovation can’t come at the head of rapid and reckless change. It has to be carefully planned out and unveiled in a way that delivers exceptional experiences for current customers, while moving the industry as a whole forward.