While product is a common buzzword, there is an elusive question that lingers near the buzz. Do we fully understand the meaning of “product”?
At Capco, we define a product as something that helps users achieve their goals. A good product value proposition is not just about finding gaps in the market; it is about finding whether there is a market in the gap. A mindset that considers both user and business needs resulting in propositions that are grounded in commercial and market realities. As Alex Hamlin, Capco’s Head of Product, puts it, “While projects succeed by being on time and under budget, a product mindset focusses on customer and user outcomes, maximizing results.”
In industries such as insurance, where competitors typically offer similar products and pricing options and where digital marketplaces make comparing options easier than ever, a great product mindset can make all the difference. As companies harness a product mindset, they can align with customer needs and wants and positively affect profits by drawing users to a product for something other than price.
A product mindset takes a holistic approach to deliver both business and customer value with an emphasis on continuous improvement. Here is how:
1. Understanding Users: Outcomes
A product mindset seeks to answer the question, what outcomes do users seek from your product? Understanding the goals that users have on a variety of levels will enable a product team to thoughtfully shape experiences that help users achieve their goals.
As an example, in the life insurance industry, a user’s goal may not be to just provide financial security in the event of an untimely death, it may also be to provide living benefits that provide additional opportunities to help secure a family’s financial well-being. The act of purchasing the product is the task, but the user’s goal is reassurance and peace of mind that their family will be cared for not just in the event of an untimely death.
2. Enhancing Design: Experiences
With a deeper understanding of what goals users are seeking to accomplish, products can be built to differentiate themselves on the elements that matter most to users. Someone using a product mindset would ask, what product features will best serve customers as they navigate through different user buying experiences? Following our life insurance example, when designing an experience for consumers who are shopping for and purchasing all types of insurance, the need and want of users to feel reassurance that their family will be taken care of should be considered at every point of the experience. Given that want and need, there are tools that insurers and agents have used for years, such as a needs or coverage calculator that insurers can give directly to customers at the point when they are comparing and selecting coverage amounts empowers customers to get the right amount of coverage with confidence the very first time. The result of putting that tool in the hands of consumers at the moment it is needed for decision making helps to bring users that reassurance.
3. Realizing Improvement: Optimization
As with any endeavour for greatness, a product mindset embraces building a defined continuous improvement process and performance improvement metrics (e.g., KPIs) for optimization of product innovation. Continuous product innovation which meets customer needs and desires, is more than simply reacting to feedback, it is about building a defined process with clear, measurable outcomes and successes.
Thinking through Optimization from a product mindset involves setting goals such as:
- Speed to issue - many insurers are targeting ‘instant issue’ for many simple products and risk types and even for fully underwritten policies, targeting <10 days to make a decision!
- Increased Customer Satisfaction – just sending the policy to the customer isn’t enough; some insurers are proactively calling customers with a Welcome to our Company and ensuring they understand the coverage, benefits and building lifetime relationships.
- Ongoing Benefit Enhancements – as features and benefits evolve, proactively adding these to existing policies and communicating with customers is a way to increase lifetime value.
While an effective product mindset is understanding users, it is about building something that meets the wants and needs of a user in a way that is compelling from a business perspective. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can align your product mindset to fit the protection needs of your consumer, we have the experience and expertise to help you.