The biggest challenge facing brokers today is how to ensure strong commercial returns in a highly regulated, commoditised and saturated market, where the customer’s expectations are higher than they have ever been. Premium finance is one area where brokers can deliver growth while at the same time providing the end customer with choice. We are the number one premium finance provider and this year we are celebrating 30 years in business. Our producer strategy recognises the importance of the current market conditions and we work closely with brokers to devise activities that lead to increased customer choice and good results. Here are four ways we are helping existing and new brokers, and the benefits they are already seeing as a result of working with the only premium finance company accredited by BIBA.
The power of good data and analytics
All success starts by understanding the broker’s current position and concludes by measuring the benefit of any action taken. At Premium Credit, we work closely with brokers to understand their customers’ journey. By applying analytical methods and techniques to business data, we discover opportunities for improvement. This allows us to implement enhancements and measure the success of our activities.
Over many years of being data-driven, and employing a research and testing methodology, we have built up a body of experience and ‘playbooks’ (a clear game plan for success) which we use to optimise the premium finance opportunity for each our partners. Our work has helped brokers improve the timing, the message, the delivery and the channels used when offering finance to both new and renewing customers.
We systematically assess the effectiveness of the entire process and use data to track and mitigate customer dropout – which we call ‘leakage’. By forensically examining each step of the process we are able to build up a complete picture, assess the levels of leakage at each touch point, and apply tools and activities to reduce the drop outs.
This process is best illustrated by some work we did with a motor insurance producer using our suite of products. The company reported a significant increase each year in customers opting for premium finance insurance. However, growth was limited by a high number of defaults and cancellations. With business sourced direct and via aggregators, cancellations caused a 29% drop in gross funded advances. Our challenge was to bring this figure down.
Transactional data showed a spike in missed payments at the first payment date, so we recommended a new customer retention programme to deliver timely messages via email and text. These messages were sent before a customer’s first payment date. They also alerted customers to a preferred payment date option, giving them control of their payments and acting as a trigger to budget accordingly.
Analysis of the test revealed significant reduction in defaults compared to the control group. The number of loans processed grew by 69% and cancellations declined by 16%. Process savings were achieved through the reduction in time spent chasing bad debt and fewer loans were cancelled during the test period.
The technology team’s objective is to bring innovation to the producer and customer experience, helping make premium finance available to all, and to integrate with our partners’ processes without disturbing their current journeys. This means we offer more payment options, at the right moment to improve conversion whilst ensuring a consistent and compliant experience - thereby reducing regulatory risk.
An excellent example of this is EPICC (Electronic Payments for Insurance Customers and Clients), which is an online payment gateway enabling brokers to offer commercial clients choice in how to pay for their insurance premiums. The system presents a consistent, secure and compliant addition to the broker’s proposition. We tailor EPICC to meet the broker’s requirements, which may include the re-skinning of the tool to the producer’s brand.
Another solution is FITS (Fully Integrated Transaction Service), a system for retail clients which embeds into the existing procedures of a broker or insurance provider. As part of the journey, the customer is presented with the necessary legal information to proceed without deviating from the process. What makes FITS unique is that it is modular, so integration is simple, and our partners can select the elements which work best for their business.
When we have the data, the service and the technology working smartly we make sure that our people are available to support you.
Providing a good experience for customers is critical to securing and keeping them. According to a study by Walker, customer experience will overtake price and product by 2020 as the key brand differentiator, with 86% of B2B buyers willing to pay for a better experience, and 70% of customers expect a company’s website to include a self-service application. Resourcing in ‘self-serve’ remains a high priority, and accordingly, we’ve invested significantly in our customer and broker platforms as well as our website.
Though Gartner predicts that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship without human interaction, today, the importance of choice cannot be underestimated as customers shift from established preferences with service providers. For the foreseeable future, brokers will need to offer a range of integrated service methods such as online, telephone or a physical shop.
We agreed an EPICC trial with a commercial broker, designed to improve the customer experience. This improvement supported brokers offering commercial clients choices when paying for their insurance premiums, presented in a consistent, secure and compliant manner. After assessing the broker’s business, it was clear that EPICC could help and a trial was agreed.
After only two months, results had improved considerably as the broker doubled their premium finance business compared to the same period in the previous year, and net advances had grown by 100%. Not only does EPICC provide the level of customer experience people expect, it adds payment options, improves the multi-channel offering and simplifies processing for customers.
EPICC is one of our most recent technological achievements, and we see innovation as a critical success factor as the industry becomes increasingly competitive.
Capability supporting Sales
We have over £3.4bn in net advances, over two million customers and we work with 3,000 intermediaries. One of the ways we have achieved growth to this scale is through investment in our people and the way we work. Our national performance managers visit our partners with the sole aim of understanding their business and helping them identify ways to reduce leakage.
But, it’s not just the sales team’s responsibility to support the growth of the broker. Our Capability team provide learning and development training for all broker staff on the compliant offer of finance, objection handling, sales and systems. The Capability team offers support in many different formats, such as face to face, phone, train the trainer, video and online learning- including webinars.
Covering the whole of the UK, the team provide the service and product tools needed to service customers.
Our modular approach ensures tailored training plans that are highly relevant and focussed on specific broker needs. Working closely with our 25+ national sales team, the Capability team contributes to regular performance reviews and supports the growth ambitions of our brokers.
The way forward
The intelligent use of data, technology and innovation, and an outstanding customer experience will be the key to improved future performance. We know that customer expectations are changing with the bar continually rising, and our job is to provide you with the tools and support to improve your business performance. If you want to know more about our plans for the future, please feel free to email me at Adam.Morghem@pcl.co.uk
Strategy and Marketing Director
The intelligent use of data, technology and innovation, and an outstanding customer experience will be the key to improved future performance.