The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic almost three years ago changed everything and everyone in a myriad of ways in Kenya and beyond. One of the key developments caused by the pandemic was the acceleration of digital transformation — across the board for businesses of all sizes — globally. Digital transformation has become a buzzword of sorts but at the core, it simply means not changing what you do but how you do it — through digital channels and innovations.
One of the key things that have changed immensely post-pandemic is how consumers and businesses engage with their insurers of choice. Due to social distancing, many insurers had to accelerate their digital transformation roadmaps from years to just a few months to stay relevant with their existing and prospective customers and partners. Many digital touchpoints such as social media, digital advertising, chatbots, and mobile apps become ‘de facto’ for progressive insurers but one of the key areas of digital transformation has increasingly become the corporate website.
In a social media-obsessed world, it is easy to overlook the value of a well-designed, built, and managed corporate website as a key customer and partner channel for Insurers that can generate sales, build brand, enhance customer service and streamline operational efficiency and effectiveness. Indeed, the corporate website is a key ‘owned’ digital channel for insurers that enables enhanced business performance if done according to best and next practices.
The following are eight key considerations for any insurer to achieve a world-class corporate website from a digital transformation perspective:
- User Experience (UX) & Responsive Website Design — User experience (UX) has become a major buzzword for all things digital. The practice of UX design has become essential to achieving a world-class corporate website. A great website is not only visually appealing but also intuitive and easy to use once you get in. A great website should also be responsive to a myriad of screen sizes from feature phones, and smartphones all the way to larger screens while still ensuring a great UX. Improvements in UX and responsiveness to various screen sizes can yield massive increases in conversions and/or sales from a corporate website.
- E-Commerce Enablement — The digitally transformed consumer in Kenya and East Africa expects to be able to purchase products and services from a website. E-commerce has significantly grown in the region and the trend of direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales has become a key distribution channel. The good news is that this has become easier to do in recent years where you can use proprietary, open source, and cloud-based e-commerce systems to make this possible. We also have a broad range of licensed digital payment service providers (PSPs) in Kenya and East Africa who can make the process of e-commerce enablement stress-free.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — This is one of the most valued methods that insurers can use to generate high conversion and low-cost traffic to their websites. SEO simply means making sure that your website can be found by anyone using the relevant keywords and phrases that represent your products and services in the marketplace. SEO can be a time-consuming and continuous process but done well, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! To put this into context, if you underwrite motor insurance when one types the word ‘motor insurance’ into Google for example, does your website appear on the first page of search results? Being found on the can make all the difference to your bottom line as an insurer!
- A Corporate Blog — Having a blog on a corporate website is one of the ways to enhance brand positioning and business performance through thought leadership. Consumers and businesses gravitate towards brands on digital channels that not only attempt to sell them a relevant product or service but also provide educational and informative content that can assist them in achieving their objectives. Another benefit of a blog is it improves SEO performance.
- Digital Privacy and Security — The modern corporate website needs to be compliant with digital privacy laws which have become ‘de rigueur’ for all digital channels globally. Kenya has had digital privacy laws in place since 2019 and this means that corporate websites need to have well-defined cookie and privacy policies as well as legal disclaimers. In tandem with digital privacy, there is the consideration of cybersecurity to ensure that a corporate website is not at risk of ‘leaking’ sensitive customer and partner data due to hacking or other risks. The reality is that any brand or business operating digitally today must ensure it respects digital privacy laws as the consequences of not doing so can be truly dire in the context of a digital-first global market.
- Content Is King, Context Is Queen — these are digital marketing terms that indicate the importance of contextual content. Contextual content has become a game changer for insurers that want to make their corporate website outperform those of their competitors by resonating with the intended target audiences for the same. Content includes everything from copy/text, images, videos, and graphics. Good content generally creates a great first impression and retains user traffic if it’s regularly updated. As much as possible, website content needs to be localized and personalized so that it resonates with website visitors.
- Self-Service Features & Functionalities — A website today is so much more than an organization’s information reservoir. As a customer service channel, it can have the ability to offer self-service features and functionalities. In the current global digital context, a corporate website can be augmented to have live chat, chatbots, customer and partner extranets or portals, etc. In doing so, tasks that used to be handled in person, on phone, or via email can be migrated to these self-service features which ensure greater user satisfaction and meeting their service needs.
- Website Hosting Infrastructure & Security — One of the biggest caveats to achieving a world-class corporate website user experience (UX) can be the quality of website hosting infrastructure. Research shows that if a website takes more than 10 seconds to load, users generally don’t wait around to access it. In addition, if a website is not secure due to compromised website hosting that could have been infected by malware, for instance, users will get a warning in their browser when trying to access it. It’s therefore important for websites to have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates to ensure that a website is secure when users access the same via encryption. In 2018, Google’s Chrome browser added a feature that shows if a website has an SSL certificate or not by displaying a ‘not secure’ message when a website lacks one. Given that the Google Chrome browser has the largest global market share, SSL certificates are not just a best practice for enhanced website security but also a reputational necessity in an increasingly digital consumer market like Kenya and East Africa.