Tablets are cool! The intuitive design and the standard features of tablets make it possible for digital financial services teams to create compelling customer experiences and support bank advisors and insurance agents in an effective and efficient way. Forrester forecasts that by 2016, 106 million people in the seven major Western European countries will own a tablet, while more than 112 million people will own one in the US. The rapid adoption of tablets means executives should make them an important part of their digital strategy. A tablet is a distinct touchpoint that needs a distinct strategy — particularly banks that want to promote online banking or agent-based insurers — and tablets can effectively support your multichannel strategy. Here are a couple of reasons why you should put a tablet strategy in place in the near future.

Tablets are a great device to promote self-service.
Customers see digital devices like tablets as a convenient way to connect with their bank, wealth management firm, or insurance company at a time and place that suits them. Tablets’ technical features make them well suited to supporting self-service, potentially reducing costs. However, their real power lies in creating value for customers by empowering them to do things themselves.Customers love this ! For example, consumers can get a quote for a new car insurance policy, get more insight into their financial situation, or file a claim or make payments in a convenient way. Tablets are already used throughout the home: Our Consumer Technographics data shows that 88% of US tablet owners use them in the living room, while 79% use them in an adult’s bedroom and 51% in the kitchen. Tablets’ Internet and video capabilities mean they are already competing with small TVs in rooms such as bedrooms and kitchens.

Tablets support advisors’ sales processes and productivity.
Tablets give advisors the flexibility to interact with customers in new and cool ways via their fast start-up times, high-resolution screens, and customer-friendly format. Insurance agents can use tablets for sales and administration purposes. Working digitally is efficient and gives agents more time to focus on selling rather than administration. Take the situation of Dutch brokers as an example: As of January 1, 2013, they will have to start working on a fee-based rather than commission-based model. With less income coming in, some of them may no longer be able to afford their support staff. Therefore, their need to work digitally will become a reality — and a necessity. Widespread advisor adoption of these digital working practices will help financial firms reduce costs and aid them in their digital transformation.Read more about this in my report "How will Dutch insurance companies stay engaged with the broker channel after 2012?"


Tablets are better than laptops for reaching out to your always addressable customers.
Financial firms need to understand that their customers now like to interact with them “anywhere, at any time, and from any place.” Danskebank in Ireland has launched the first dedicated tablet banking app in the Northern Ireland market. The new tablet app give its customers an easy-to-use personal “dashboard” of widgets that customers can customize using drag-and-drop functionality, depending on how they prefer to view their finances. Not only are tablets portable but also they are more socially acceptable in public places than laptops. They let advisors advise their clients in places where they might not use laptops — like restaurants, bars, and cafés. And a tablet’s lightweight, instant-on form factor makes giving spontaneous presentations possible in hallways or on trade show floors — not just in conference rooms.


Executives: start your tablet strategy today!
Tablets are becoming widespread, and financial services firms’ digital teams need to embrace them with a distinct strategy, rather than treating them as either a PC or a smartphone. Forrester believes that tablets will be an important touchpoint in a new generation of digital financial services that are simple, ubiquitous, personal, empowering, and reassuring (SUPER). You should do a couple of things when considering your tablet strategy: determine your business objectives; adjust your website design and make it tablet friendly; and get the right people and skills on board to execute your strategy. For more suggestions for insurance teams, you can read my latest report on how digital insurance teams need a tablet strategy.
Let me know your thoughts: Do you agree that tablets deserve an important position in your distribution mix?

Auke Douwe