How will technology continue to change our industry? Ive been reading about Uber, which is changing the transportation industry. The taxi industry has been around for decades, but failed to evolve with the advent of various technologies and consumer needs.
Along comes Uber, currently valued at close to $50 billion. You can download their mobile application, which allows you to order a car with the click of a mouse. You have a choice of vehicles; they tend to be clean and efficient and your credit card is debited with the total cost (including tip) so no monies are needed at the point of sale. Once ordered, you receive an email or text with the name and picture of the driver, the type of car and license number and how long before they arrive. The UberX (usually a Prius) is less expensive than a taxi and the process is so much more enjoyable than the traditional taxi mode.
Also see: "The discussion brokers should have with PEOs."
Will Uber rest on their laurels or continue to innovate and expand? They are experimenting with restaurant home food delivery, exploring package delivery services (competing with FedEx and UPS) and have gone global. They currently drive 1 million miles a day in China, where they are rapidly expanding.
What can we learn from the Uber example?
Clients expect more for less and we need to be able to provide more for less without compromising the financial integrity of our organizations. We are experiencing commission compression and expenses continue to increase. Perhaps, we need to explore technologies that currently exist, to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and create a more memorable client experience.
In large metropolitan areas, we may spend 45-60 minutes driving to a meeting, which may not be an efficient use of our time. Is there a better way? Several years back, our office initiated WebEx or Go to Meeting introductory meetings with prospective clients. What have we learned from this experience? We have found that frequently it is easier to schedule the meeting, as the prospective client has more control over the time allocation. He or she can terminate the meeting at any time as opposed to trying to get one to leave their office. With video conferencing or Skype, we can have visual contact and personalize the experience.
By expanding our thinking and embracing technology, we have the opportunity to improve our efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the client experience. What are you going to implement in this brave new world?
Torelli is an EBA Advisory Board member and area senior vice president at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Reach him firstname.lastname@example.org.
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