by Jason Walsh – CEO, CPP Group
This article was originally published on Global Banking & Finance Review
Like all companies, CPP Group is taking the necessary steps to manage the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. As a global organisation operating in 12 markets, the business is attuned to adapting and this is strengthened by having in-market teams that have local knowledge and expertise. Lockdown restrictions have already begun to be lifted in some markets, with the UK following suit, and businesses around the world are looking to develop strategies that are going to successfully navigate the new normal.
A tailored approach
Central to any business that wants to see success in international markets is appreciating that a one size fits all, off the shelf model will not be suitable in every instance. It’s essential to create a tailored approach based on individual market needs as this is what directly informs how and what services and products a business develops.
This has to be underpinned by local knowledge. Now more than ever, insight is going to be key in understanding how consumers within those territories have been impacted by coronavirus.
The power of local knowledge
If a business is looking to add value to partners and customers, then having a thorough understanding of how individual markets operate is fundamental. From CPP’s perspective, the growth of the middle class in India and the aging population in China have been key trends that the business has harnessed when it comes to exploring the technology solutions and services that are most relevant to those markets, such as healthcare.
We have really seen the value of having in-market teams that are on the ground, responding quickly to customer demand and business partner challenges. Operating in this way further strengthens your business’ ability to be agile, especially during a time of rapid change like we have encountered over the past few months.
COVID-19 driving change in consumer needs
As a result of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, consumers will now be seeking reassurance from businesses, especially those that offer services that can bring significant benefits and peace of mind. It is the dependability that they value their customer’s health, wellbeing and security that needs to be a core element of how businesses operate going forward.
In the insurance and banking sectors having a strong NPD will really resonate with consumers. Businesses need to show that they understand the markets they operate in and use this insight to offer appropriate product solutions, for example life insurance and wellness products such as LivCare in India, which provides on-demand, online healthcare support. The shift from cash to digital payments as a result of Covid-19 has triggered a big response from businesses in certain markets like Turkey, where mobile payment products are being extended to include NFC and contactless cover.
The importance of understanding consumers is particularly important if a business provides technology services. Technology used properly is agile by nature and enables you to respond quickly to consumer needs. But it still needs to be relevant and delivered in a way that adds real value to their lives – For example, the pandemic has significantly shifted consumers’ priorities in terms of what they deem as essential. There is an increased focus on the home, which is now a hub for combining work, play and family time, and there is more demand for the use of technology in the home, which is driving digital usage.
There is also, understandably, a sustained focus on health. CPP has started to see this already in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region, with the delivery of new travel and health-based products. There has been an increase in consumer expenditure on healthcare and a rise in the number of patients using telemedicine platforms and applications.
Evolving partnership models
As well as technological advancements, COVID-19 has paved the way for new forms of digital transformation as businesses shift operations to cope with office closures, restricted movement and supply interruption.
A key driver of this is a demand for speed in the delivery of services. From insurance claims to onboarding new customers, lockdown has emphasised the challenges using physical channels can pose. As a result, some businesses are experiencing operational headaches as they try and quickly adopt a more digital approach.
To help navigate these changes, we are expecting to see a shift in businesses implementing an ecosystem operating model in order to be able to meet the new demands of consumers. Partnering with other businesses in order to deliver products and services digitally is going to become more common.
CPP’s parametric InsurTech arm, Blink, is a good example of how businesses can work together to offer better services to end customers. Driven by data to predict real-time travel disruption and offer immediate insurance solutions, Blink delivers the responsiveness and certainty that consumers want.
Many complications with claiming on travel insurance came as a result of coronavirus being an unknown entity, making it a struggle for insurers to identify how best to serve their customers. As a result of this, parametric insurance will play a significant role moving forwards, especially as travel begins to open up again, as it offers a pre-agreed amount of cover based on the probability of a pre-defined triggering event.
A supportive culture
What should also be a key factor in any multi-market strategy, especially in times of uncertainty, is a strong people and culture positioning that helps colleagues feel supported and empowered. This is also connected to encouraging local teams to be entrepreneurial; they are your eyes and ears in the local markets so an integral part of understanding the most successful way to operate.
CPP’s International Support Centre that operates out of Leeds in the UK is in place to support all market functions. While dedicated, in-market strategies are key, it’s also important to focus on the bigger picture and to ensure they are aligned with a single corporate vision. This will provide the ability and resource to envision what the future may start to look like.
All these elements are essential to ensuring your business has an effective multi-market strategy that is able to navigate the changes set to be brought about by Covid-19. The pandemic has certainly encouraged many businesses to reflect on their approach and this could be an opportunity to refocus how your business is operating. What’s certain is that in the short-term, there needs to be a strong human element running through any strategy if you want to successfully resonate with partners, colleagues and consumers.
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Jason Walsh, CEO
Jason has held a number of management and executive roles at CPP between 2002 and 2014. After almost two years at Ernst & Young working within their Financial Services Advisory Practice, he returned to CPP in May 2016 as CEO. Jason grew up in a small village called Appleton Roebuck in Yorkshire and is a proud (and very busy!) father of seven children.