Mobile phone apps have been trending recently.  If you’d been asleep for a while, you could be forgiven for thinking it was 2010, when apps first reached significant volumes.

A  Google Ipsos survey reveals that UK smartphone owners are particularly prone to appnesia, with around 20% of us downloading them to our smartphones, often only to forget them, forever after.

Granted that the impetus for app development increases with each iPhone release, the amount of chatter that still exists around creating a great smartphone app in the insurance sector, still surprises me.

While the survey didn’t include apps in the insurance market I suspect the forget-rate will be far higher than 20%, especially as customer loyalty and transaction frequency will typically be lower than it is in retail.  According to Accenture 43% of customers didn’t realise their insurer had an app.

The Google survey does stress that people use apps, when it makes sense.  So, for instance, there’s a regular transaction – you buy groceries, or you get new information or updates – such as today’s weather.  And for an app to be used it needs to be a better way to receive the information than say, a mobilised website.

Even in 2010, companies that took the app route soon realised that there was a lot more to this than they realised.  To get people to download it, you need to promote it.  Then you need to mobilise said app for various systems, android, ios, Blackberry OS and the like.  Every time one of these gets upgraded, your app needs to be upgraded too.

In fact, the term appnesia was first used when companies developed or started developing an app and then decided not to upgrade it, since the cost to develop it, outweighed the uplift in sales.

However, rather than compete for your customers’ attention in this hugely competitive space and rely on them to do the right thing, just provide them with access to information and apps where they are first likely to go if they need help and assistance.  It’s also where you’ve spent a considerable sum already…your own website.  Government departments have been quite successful providing services in this way, from taxing a car, to paying a fine.  It’s now much simpler and you don’t need an app.  Just send them to your website or URL.

So, in our experience maximising YOUR digital real estate, rather than trying to compete for space on your customer’s mobile devices, adds real value to their experience of your business.

When a customer needs to contact you say, in the event of a claim, they will naturally go to your website.  A ‘big green button’ can be there to start the process and then they can use their own technology to report the details of the claim.

Put your customers in the driving seat and ask them to take the wheel (excuse the pun).  Most enjoy doing this as it puts them in control, it is empowering.  Then all you have to do is respond to your customers at internet speed – but that’s another story.  You can revolutionise your service.  And do this without the hassle of building, developing and promoting yet another version of an app likely to fade into distant memory, the moment it’s built.

So, rather than battling with your customer’s limited app-etite, take the technology to them.  They appreciate it and so will your business.

Whyteleafe, Surrey, UK