Wireless Can Boost Productivity
And Improve Customer Loyalty
“Mobility” is a hot topic these days. Everyone is excited about mobile and wireless technologies, from Wi-Fi and mobile applications to the hot new PDA phones.
With all the excitement, many industries are re-examining their business processes to determine the most useful and cost-effective ways in which to wirelessly enable their employees. The recent upswing in the economy has many insurance carriers increasing their IT budgets and allocating funds to deploy wireless in the workplace.
How can you use this technology to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduce paperwork and cycle times, and still deliver a recognizable return on investment (ROI)? There is high interest in Wi-Fi and wireless local area networks (LANs), and you may wonder what role these offerings can play for your company.
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First, lets demystify some terminology. The terms “mobility” and “wireless” are frequently used interchangeably, but they deal with different types of solutions. “Wireless” refers to hardware solutions and “mobility” refers to products that enable a remote worker to interact with corporate applications and data. Wi-Fi is not a form of wireless Internet connectivity; rather, it provides connectivity between pieces of hardware, such as laptops and your Internet router. A wireless mouse that uses an infrared beam to “talk” to your laptop or keyboard is an example of a wireless solution.
When it comes to mobility, the most successful deployments have occurred when a company takes a top-down view of how different functions within the insurance industry operate together. It helps to view your industry from a customer-in approach; in other words, how do customers interact with your company? How can mobile technologies be used to provide customers with a better experience and make it easier to do business with you?
It makes sense to use field force automation solutions when there are mobile and field employees, but much of the insurance business is comprised of office-bound workers. Some insurers may look at mobilizing their hard-wired workers to bring them closer to the customer. Increased customer interaction has been shown to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Lets look at how these varying technologies may be deployed across the insurance industry to build collaboration between work groups, provide mobility solutions for field workers and peek into the future of wireless insurance using location-based service technology.
A wireless LAN, or WLAN, can allow more collaboration between office workers who can take their laptops to different conference rooms or around the corporate campus. They are not truly mobile, because their connectivity is bound to the wired Internet connection within the office or campus.
An example of a mobile collaborative solution might be to deploy a mobile enterprise-grade instant messaging (IM) solution whereby field employees can collaborate in real time with colleagues. The term enterprise-grade differentiates from free IM clients, and this is an important distinction.
Many employees use free IM clients at work to communicate and collaborate quickly with colleagues as it is not a store-and-forward medium such as e-mail, and questions often can be resolved more quickly than by making a phone call. For all the upside of IM, there is a serious downside to using free IM clients. They generally are not endorsed for use by IT departments as they cannot control their use, and the free services do not have the same security measures used by an enterprise-grade IM client.