One of my favorite aspects about being a product manager is the ability to innovate and create products that not only benefit, but excite users. Before I joined SkyWatch.AI, I worked for a leading company in the sport-media industry. When it comes to sports, it goes without saying that sports fans are eager to learn and engage with their admired players and teams. When providing valuable resources, news, and highlights to passionate sport fans, you are always met with excitement and engagement.
But, let’s face it, insurance is not necessarily known for bringing about the most exciting conversations, especially when you have to replace the word fan with policyholder. However, I like to believe that when it comes to drone insurance, the topic becomes a little more invigorating.
The drone industry is filled with passionate people who want to complete their jobs to the best ability. To do that, they don’t just want to fly insured - they want peace of mind.
Despite the challenges surrounding insurance, I began my journey at SkyWatch.AI motivated to create a product that would not only serve drone pilots' essential needs, but exceed their expectations through an innovative digital experience. Here is a little insight into my thought process.
Creating a product users can feel confident using
SkyWatch.AI’s technology and insurance platform is capable of providing great value to drone pilots. From the range of policies offered, flexible policy management, to the discount offerings, our goal has always been to accommodate various insurance requirements.
However, as mentioned before, insurance is a complicated subject which often has a negative connotation. Avoiding the excessive paperwork and fine print is part of the beauty of on-demand drone insurance - it is accessible online, quickly and immediately. While this convenience is great, it can sometimes be misread for “too good to be true.” Users always want to trust that their insurance policy is giving them what they need, and will not mislead them.
The relationship we build with our users ranges from a one-time purchase to a recurring yearly subscription. So while our goal is of course to provide pilots with the right insurance coverage, more importantly we want every user to be confident in activating their insurance plan, whatever it may be. To maintain strong and long term relationships, the overall experience with SkyWatch.AI must be enjoyable.
As of July 2020, we released a new and improved online policy management platform. This new platform was created with the intention to further fulfill our existing 3 core values:
- Transparency: We know that insurance language is not always intuitive. We strive to define insurance terms in a way that our users truly understand what they have included in their policies. Having all of the policy information and detail out in the open, upon activating the policy gives pilots the answers they're looking for - without having to search long and far.
- Trust: While in the past, dedicated brokers were needed to advise and recommend certain policies, today, the advanced insurtech world gives users the freedom to purchase insurance without the need to consult for every question. Of course, for every client who wants to avoid the consultation stage, there is one who prefers it. Sometimes, having that conversation gives users the extra bit of confidence they need. For this reason, we strive to have our technology attractive to both those who want a streamlined service and those who want to communicate. Users should feel comfortable purchasing our insurance online, while also being ensured that we are more than just a tech platform. We are just a call or an email away.
- Full Policy Control: We believe our users deserve to control every aspect of their policy. Having full policy control allows users to access and modify their policy needs at any moment, without being dependent on anyone else.
There is always room for improvement
Stage 1, Research: SkyWatch.AI has been providing drone insurance to pilots since early 2018. As the user base grows, so does the need to accommodate more requests. During this last quarter, my mission was to redesign and reinvent our online platform. Before designing the new experience, I wanted to really understand who are our current users and what are their needs as drone pilots?
After researching solutions and methods for effectively describing our user journey, I was very inspired by Lenny Rachitsky’s article, What Seven Years at Airbnb Taught Me About Building a Business. He shared his experience using storyboards and the path that Airbnb took to truly understand their user base.
I acquired relevant information about what our pilots need with a few key tactics:
- Support Requests + Tracking: Over the course of 5 months, I must have read every. single. support. ticket that came through our support channels. I gained a holistic understanding of what type of requests come in on a day to day and what is the main source of our users’ pain points. Moreover, it strengthened my desire to simplify both the user experience as well as our support team's ability to provide quicker solutions and improve our user experience.
Each time I read over a recurring request, I updated its priority and worked with the team and the pilots to better understand it.
Likewise, I ran across questions that I realized could be easily avoided with the development of a new feature or by simply making the data more accessible. For example, for the amount of people that requested formal quotes, we had to have an online on-demand quote generator.
- Phone Calls: Next, I reached out to existing users. On each call I felt I was learning more and more about what is, and isn't currently working for our pilots. I gathered great insights on what can increase their confidence and reduce their frustration and what is first on their capability wish list.
💡 If you take anything from my experience, let it be this. Talk to your clients. This opportunity not only helped us with our new development, but it also allowed us to introduce ourselves to the users and prove that we are more than just a tech company. We learned about their world, ecosystem and who they really are - without only talking about product goals.
Reading the support tickets is one thing, but really speaking to people can reframe your thinking processes and open up a new realm of ideas you may not have previously considered for your product.
- Community Feedback: Getting real feedback from users who use our service after their first purchase was crucial in my process. We always strive to touch base with first time users to learn about their first purchase experience. This insight comes from a new set of eyes, a user who has not been insured with us from the beginning, or did not touch base with support beforehand.
- Data Analysis: Aggregated data analysis is essential when it comes to understanding what are our most used features. It also gives us critical insights on how users are interacting with our system and product. Google Analytics is a great tool that we continue to use, however I came to understand that it doesn't provide enough suitable information for our measurements. This led us to create our very own internal dashboards, now used by our partners as well. Our dashboard is tailor-made for our specific measurements and KPIs. This board is a powerful tool for action-driven insights and quickly became a part of our company’s culture.
Stage 2, Personas/User Journey: Next, I moved onto the stage of creating persona and user journeys. This stage became a cross company collaboration - with everyone from design, product, marketing, support, and data analysis partaking in the brainstorming.
Eventually, we created four full personas that resembled different type of SkyWatch.AI users. Below is an example of one:
We set up a user journey for each finalized personas. I decided to work with the user journey template published by NNGroup.com, which I felt is the most relevant to our needs.
Integrating the personas with the user journey process was great because it allowed us to clarify what are our pilots’ needs. Most importantly though, it helped our team create clear and defined goals, with a shared focus. With these goals, our team was able to stay aligned and determined to start planning and executing our new and improved platform.
Beautiful design is in the details
We immediately decided that when designing this new online platform, it would need to reflect the fun spirit and culture of our company. As a startup, we had to establish a vibrant brand.
We also had the honor of participating in the Google for StartUps program, where we met with various leading UX/UI experts in the industry. We pitched our ideas and received dedicated feedback on our product and design ideas that allowed us to make actionable changes. After multiple sessions with mentors, we were able to bring our vision to life.
Our design included the following core aspects:
Color palate: We transformed our original, rather dark color palette to a more vivid color scheme
Details hierarchy: Our user feedback led us to understand that we need to provide more information in a more accessible manner. A tooltip with a sub sentence was added to each step in the policy purchase. We also added a widget that includes FAQs and enables search through our rich knowledge base.
SkyWatch.AI Graphic Language: While we wanted a technology-oriented experience, we also wanted to give it a human feel. While "fun" is not an essential part of getting insurance, we truly wanted a way to make the process friendly and emphasize our brand. We created original caricatures to represent our pilots, team and even our partners. The caricatures first started only as part of the Safety Score discount offering, but it quickly became a part of the process from start to end.
Early results and next steps
Upon releasing our new design and features, users were quick to provide great feedback. Remember, our goal was to make them excited about insurance (as if it was a sports team…)
It is very clear that users feel more confident than before when they land on a well designed website, with more details and explanations about what they are purchasing.
In terms of KPI’s, we have already seen a significant improvement in the time needed to complete key milestones in our experience.
Here is some of our latest feedback:
"So far this service has been great. Your website is easy to navigate and it is nice to have different options and the flexibility to change my insurance plan at any time."
"The experience was seamless and straightforward and I really liked the online and app interfaces!"
"This is a super cool service you guys have created. I'll be sure to recommend you guys to my other drone pilot buddies."
The Road Ahead
The quote “Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will see farther” has always resonated with me, and remains in the back of my mind as I continue to develop products. Now that SkyWatch.AI has launched our new online product and brand, we will continue to take active measures to engage with our users, dig into the data, and run tests to improve our offering so that we are always providing the best solution and service to our users.
Make sure to see the full new experience online at https://portal.skywatch.ai/.