Nicolas Faquet has pioneered online car insurance in Southeast Asia. Following almost two decades working for some of Europe’s largest insurance companies, he introduced online car insurance to Southeast Asia with the launch of DirectAsia.com in 2009. After selling that company to a large UK insurance player in 2014, Faquet is now making inroads in Thailand’s car insurance market with his new platform, Roojai.
Roojai launched in 2016 and its customer base has grown to an impressive 30,000 policyholders in less than three years. But with around 15 million cars on the road and a digitally connected population, CEO Faquet sees big things on the horizon for Thailand’s burgeoning online car insurance industry.
“Thailand was a natural fit for us,” he says. “The population is digitally savvy, but ecommerce is just starting to take off here, which is why Thailand is the right place for us to catch the wave that we believe is coming over the next 10 years.”
Finding a complete solution with Salesforce
According to Faquet, Roojai is now the most visited insurance website in Thailand with roughly 1 million visitors per month.
“The largest insurance company in Thailand is getting about 100,000 website visits per month, and we are getting 10 times that,” he says.
Faquet also knows that growing in a dynamic online market requires a strong commitment to innovation – especially in the process-heavy insurance industry that demands precise management, and the integration of multiple back-end systems.
Traditional insurance platforms can cost upwards of $5 million, which is a particularly heavy capex burden for a start-up organisation to shoulder. And Faquet says it is not necessarily the most efficient way to run a nimble online insurance platform.
“We launched Roojai on a traditional insurance platform, and we were using Salesforce as a CRM tool on top of that,” he explains. “Very quickly, we realised how unreliable and painful that insurance platform was, and how much we were struggling to get things moving. At the same time, our CIO was saying that Salesforce can be much more than a CRM and that we could deploy all the insurance processes into Salesforce, and get rid of the traditional insurance platform which was costly and unreliable.”
Faquet went to his investors with a proof of concept, and by March 2017 all of Roojai’s processes ran on Salesforce.
“Salesforce provides a very stable environment and a rich eco-system,” says Patrick Le Roux, CIO at Roojai. “The platform is also very flexible and the online resources and active developer community have helped us quickly build some local expertise. We have also come to enjoy the seamless core upgrade process, the mechanisms in place to support the development lifecycle, and the fact that we can deploy change sets any time during the day without any system downtime.
Putting the customer at the heart of the business
Service Cloud is also helping Roojai to put their customers’ needs at heart of the operation. Faquet and his team now has a full 360-degree view of their customers, enabling them to deliver more customised solutions and a higher level of customer service.
“Now that everything is integrated, we have a single view of the customer, and everything is one place,” he says. “From when the customer goes through the quote process to when the customer buys a policy and then makes a claim — we have a full view of all interactions. We have all the call logs attached to the customer record, and we’ve also integrated Facebook messenger with Salesforce, so all the customer’s Facebook messages are in the same record.”
Roojai’s investment in technology has paid dividends as they scooped numerous prizes at the Thailand Contact Centre Trade Association Awards 2018 – The Best Contact Centre of the Year, The Best Effective Software Contact Centre, The Best Professional Management Contact Centre and The Best Contact Centre Agent among other awards.
Faquet says that while Salesforce has certainly contributed Roojai’s more than 250 per cent year-on-year growth, that’s not the end of the story. He believes that integrating Google Analytics with Salesforce is also returning impressive dividends, and has helped optimise their Google Ads strategy, improve their keyword strategy and budget allocation.
“Everybody is talking about big data, and Salesforce gives us the capability to apply different strategies depending on which channel the customer is coming from,” he says. “We are able to get so granular into the data set and can use it to optimise our marketing spend, and focus on the customer journey from origin to conclusion. It’s the first time in my more than 20 years in the insurance industry that I can say we have a full customer centric vision of the customer. The value of that compared to our previous environment is incommensurable.”
This has led to a 25 per cent reduction in cost per conversion, while increasing the number of conversions by 16 per cent.
“We are now able to attribute more than 80 per cent of sales to an online channel,” says Le Roux. “This represents an efficiency improvement on marketing of more than 10M THB per year.”
Innovation in Development
Roojai has also built an in-house development team that has created a range of custom apps that Faquet hopes to package and sell to other insurance companies through Salesforce’s AppExchange program.
“Traditional insurance platforms have very little customisation and flexibility,” he says. “When we moved to Salesforce, we realised that most of the development can be done internally at reasonably low cost. That is a massive benefit not only in terms of development time, but it also gives us greater control because we are not relying on an external party. It definitely means we can provide more functionality and grow faster, without suffering the high capex investment.
We have moved to Heroku to facilitate the development, so everything we do now is within the Salesforce ecosystem. With Heroku as our platform, integration with all apps is so much easier, and we are able to build amazing customer experiences. We believe that this is really putting us at the forefront of the evolving customer purchase process in Thailand.”