Antonis Psaras, Managing Director of Microbase and Manolis Marsellos, Co-Founder & General Manager of Insurancemarket, on the occasion of the completion of ten years of cooperation, speak to Infocom, about their common course, the solutions that have been adopted and their next steps.
Give us an insight into the services offered by the two companies and where each organization stands today. What is the development status by the two companies, what are the innovations they offer?
Antonis Psaras: Microbase provides integrated communication solutions. Since it was founded in 2003, it has had a steady upward trajectory and has gained, within its 20 years, the trust of customers in Greece but also in 40 countries, in the private and public sectors.
The services we provide extend to the combination of telecommunication and cloud solutions and services, as well as IT infrastructure and network security solutions, thus meeting the needs of businesses for digital transformation and improvement of their infrastructure and services provided.
We pride ourselves on the high level of expertise of our Engineers and executives, which has been the stepping-stone to the successful management of complex projects and has ensured the delivery of efficient solutions to our client organizations such as Insurancemarket.
An additional factor is the reliable and efficient response of our team to the needs of our customers, which leads us to our vision.
From the constant vigilance of our Engineers, unique services and solutions have emerged, such as the Exelysis platform, which has been developed since 2006 with unique features for its time. Exelysis is a telecommunications framework of exceptional flexibility and security, on which any telecommunications application is developed and is the basis of all solutions offered by Microbase. Furthermore, as Exelysis is constantly being improved, incorporating new technologies, and delivered through private cloud infrastructures, it is an innovative approach to the telecommunications digital transition of businesses.
Due to the dynamics and flexibility offered by the Exelysis platform, it has been trusted by many companies in Greece and abroad, which has maintained the high growth rates of Microbase. At the same time, a uniqueness of our company which constitutes a highly important surplus value – since there is no corresponding company in the sector in Greece that has developed something similar – is the control of the software code we have developed.
The above, combined with the high level of customer support and the trust we receive from our customers, are a driver of development for Microbase, in a particularly demanding industry such as that of telecommunications applications, services and solutions. And we are very proud of it.
Manolis Marsellos: Insurancemarket has been a constantly growing company since its first years of operation. First, because of the uniqueness of the service offered and then because of its innovative processes. Our service has been loved since the beginning and has a steady growth rate of between 15 and 20%. In the period of the pandemic, of course, the percentage increased to 30%, due to our flexibility to adapt to the new data and due to the online nature of the product.
Before Insurancemarket, insuring your vehicle was a rather time-consuming process that essentially left the entire decision up to the insurer.
Insurancemarket gave the user the ability to compare -easily and quickly- offers from many insurance companies, alone and from the comfort of his/her home. We then turned modern technologies into innovative solutions and practices, and many of our innovations continue to be ours alone, as we are always ahead of the competition.
For example, we have the most cooperating insurance companies (29), we have created the best price alert that informs about the existence of a lower offer during the renewal period, we provide all our customers with out-of-court settlement and legal advice in case of damage, we have an evaluation of insurance companies based on reviews of the already insured customers and much more.
Recently, we became the only insurance intermediary in Greece and one of the few in Europe, which allows the user to manage his/her policy online through Web Self Care or by downloading our new application – Insurancemarket app. Most digital requests are handled by automated end-to-end processes and 90% of users are served from any device in less than 1 minute.
Insurancemarket changed the entire insurance landscape. It was truly a game changer service, as its contribution was essential to the digitization of the industry’s processes, to consumer education, to the formation of insurance premiums and the requirements of the insured in terms of the services received.
Now I would like to focus on the security part, which is at the center of interest of every business. What are the challenges, what are the points that need attention, what are the solutions you offer?
Antonis Psaras: The security of telecommunications, software, infrastructure, and networks has always been an important pillar for the development and provision of our solutions. For this reason, Microbase has invested in know-how, mainly to optimize the security of the applications developed, but also of the private cloud infrastructures that offer these services.
It is my belief that the most important success factor in a security project is the partner selection. Having security in our DNA and seeing the need of our customers for essential provision of security services, we proceeded to develop a department that specializes in the design and implementation of solutions to protect our customers’ infrastructure and data.
Our company’s specialization in this field is also reflected in our certifications, initially ECC, Certified Ethical Hacker and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator, and then by the certification of our processes and infrastructure, with the acquisition of ISO 27001.
The axes of our activity in this area are twofold: a) the security of information systems and customer data and b) the safeguarding of telecommunication infrastructures and their privacy.
In the field of information systems, Microbase has chosen to cooperate with leading companies in the field, such as Checkpoint and Fortinet, offering solutions for perimeter security, Cloud infrastructure security, computer terminal security, etc.
In the telecommunications infrastructure sector, we have chosen to develop our own Application Firewall, Exelysis SBC, which is part of all the solutions we offer and which, in addition to protecting the telecommunications infrastructure, also offers encryption capabilities to ensure privacy of communications.
What is the picture of the insurance market today? What are your customers looking for, what is your “input” in shaping a “package” that will meet their needs? Is the number of Greeks taking out insurance online increasing?
Manolis Marsellos: The future of insurance in our country is optimistic. Great progress has been made in the digitization of processes and the convenience of the user throughout his/her insurance. Almost all major insurance companies have started digitization programs and some of them have created their own direct insurance channels. Currently, in vehicle insurance, three large direct insurance companies and three Aggregators (Online Brokers) are active.
Regarding the popularity of online insurance, we have calculated that in Greece, 1 in 6 drivers insure their vehicle online while, abroad, in countries such as the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, online is the main channel for insuring a vehicle. The insurance industry is a “traditional” industry, with a conservative approach and needs patience to modernize and change the established perceptions in our country. The percentage, however, is slowly but steadily increasing, because people realize the real benefit of online as well as the quality of our services.
Our customer is looking for the most economical, the fastest, the easiest and the most reliable. In short, he/she wants everything, good for him/her. We want to be his/her ally in finding the right product, according to his/her needs and wallet, through market comparison. We want to strengthen people’s ability to make informed decisions, removing uncertainty from their lives, allied with education, technology, and innovation.
We work with more insurance companies than any other competitor, to offer our users a wide range of options. At the same time, most of the innovative services we mentioned above, which help the user to make the right choice, exist only in Insurancemarket.
Additionally, a very important differentiator of Insurancemarket from the competition is our education/advice and social footprint. We have entered partnerships such as the one with the University of Piraeus and joint participation in research projects, in order to be able to educate the citizen every day on issues related to insurance awareness, road safety and the modernization of society. In this way, the consumer will be able to make informed decisions and choose the appropriate services for his/her household, which meet his/her needs and maximize savings.
Microbase and Insurancemarket complete 10 years of cooperation. Tell us about this journey, the points that stand out, the factors that led to an effective “companionship”.
Antonis Psaras: We started our cooperation with Insurancemarket in 2013. It was a period when, on the one hand, our innovative platforms and services had started to gain shares in the Greek market, and on the other, they were particularly suitable for companies looking for modern platforms to optimize communication and service with their customers – when Customer Satisfaction/Experience had entered for good as a KPI in the Marketing roadmap of every modern business.
As a “restless” startup business then, Insurancemarket gave us the pitch and after listening to their relevant needs and diagnosing the environment, we proposed our solutions. Solutions that allowed it (and still do) to manage in the best and most efficient way the overall experience of its telephone communication, incoming and outgoing, with its ever-growing clientele, contributing to its positioning as a pioneer company in the insurance market, awarded among others as Best InsurTech of the Year for 2022.
At the same time, Insurancemarket’s emphasis on innovation and the complex needs that constantly arose, helped us to further develop our services and products, constantly improving our provided solutions.
Manolis Marsellos: Our collaboration with Microbase is intertwined with ours, as we have been partners since our first years of operation. We have faced many big challenges together and Microbase’s contribution to the effective management of challenges has been direct and important. I believe that the factors that made our cooperation so much easier are the shared values, the good communication and the great trust that has naturally been built over the years.
Shared values are very important as we are a company with a flexible culture and “out of the box” way of thinking, so it would be difficult to cooperate with rigid organizations and processes. Everything must be done quickly, correctly, with respect to the customer and with quality assurance. And Microbase always offers us serious Customer Support and custom solutions to the issues that arise.
Microbase’s Solutions allow the management of the overall experience of the telephone incoming and outgoing communication with Insurancemarket’s ever-growing clientele, in the best and most efficient way, contributing to its positioning as a pioneer company in the insurance market, awarded among others as Best InsurTech of the Year for 2022.
What are the solutions that have been at the heart of this collaboration? How were they selected, what were Insurancemarket’s needs and how did Microbase shape the result?
Antonis Psaras: The solutions we offer at Insurancemarket come from almost all categories of our Telecom Product Portfolio and cover different relevant needs:
The Exelysis Contact Center platform is used to effectively manage more than 300,000 incoming calls per year, with very high levels of service.
- Through detailed real-time and historical reporting, the entire operation is monitored in live time and managers are given the opportunity to intervene to continuously improve customer service.
- Through the offered functionality of outbound campaigns and predictive dialing, outbound communication with customers has been automated and made more efficient.
- By interfacing with CRM, users’ work has been simplified and a unified environment has been offered.
The Exelysis UCS platform covers the most basic PBX needs of Insurancemarket, with the interface of ordinary users, but also additional services such as doorphones.
With the Microbase ePhone telephony service, Insurancemarket leverages a) the capability of a range of 200 direct phone numbers, b) the provision of multiple channels to carry and manage the many simultaneous phone lines required and c) the achievement of competitive rates for carrying the thousands of outgoing calls made in the relevant campaigns.
Manolis Marsellos: The basis of our cooperation is the management of all our incoming and outgoing calls. Microbase also offers us the management console and reporting tools that are necessary for us, based on our needs and in general everything we need, no matter how demanding it is, always safely.
In particular, with Exelysis Contact Center we have managed our incoming calls from our first day of operation! This platform allows us to have a state-of-the-art call center, successfully handle more than 300,000 incoming calls per year and keep our SLA very low. An additional advantage is that it allows us very easy customizations, as we are a living organism that is constantly evolving and growing.
We also manage outgoing calls using the predictive dialing algorithm. This enables us to define how many recaptures we want to make in each of our campaigns, make the desired automations and helps us to continuously improve our productivity.
This is followed by reporting, through which we can see in real time the effectiveness of all the above services and improve our services and the way we serve our customers, essentially. In addition, we have custom-made reports, based on our own needs.
Furthermore, the management console is equally important; it allows us in real time to know what our consultants are doing, the calls and requests they manage and, finally, the ePhone telephony to manage all our lines.
What is the value that Insurancemarket obtained using the specific solutions? What benefits did it see in its operation, how did its activities improve?
Manolis Marsellos: In a customer-centric company like ours, Microbase’s services are crucial. Part of our telephone service – exclusive to Microbase – is top quality, and is reflected in the excellent NPS 80 (Net Promoter Score), the very good level of our SLA’s and the loyalty of our customers, as 9 out of 10 customers don’t change us.
All this is achieved with the ability to always be on, for our user, either from the office or remotely (home office) and to have a better conversion due to the speed and reporting analysis. It is worth mentioning here that Insurancemarket has been awarded three times in the customer service awards for its high level of service and has also been distinguished as the Best InsurTech of 2022, as mentioned above.
Today, at Insurancemarket, more than 75 insurance consultants serve our clients every day, through seven differentiated communication channels, and Microbase is by our side every moment and occasion, no matter how demanding that may be.
What are the next steps of this partnership? At the same time, what are the development plans of each company? What new can we expect?
Antonis Psaras: What distinguishes us as a company is the continuous communication with our customers for their effective support, but also for the diagnosis of additional needs arising from their telecommunications operation. Likewise, with the Insurancemarket team, we are constantly discussing the steps we can take in our partnership, which will contribute to the achievement of their goals.
At the level of development and evolution of our products, the goal for the next two years is to integrate more AI models into the Exelysis platform, to maximize the performance of its operation, better analyze data, facilitate users, and optimize the level of service and customer experience.
Regarding Microbase’s growth plans now, commercially we aim
to expand our facilities to more countries and
further penetrate our solutions into the public sector.
In addition, we seek the inclusion of other telecommunication providers in the Microbase ePhone ecosystem, offering a Carrier Neutral environment, to facilitate the decision of companies for digital transformation and transition of their telecommunication infrastructures to the Cloud with the Telecom as a Service model.
Manolis Marsellos: This cooperation has power and will continue to have, following the latest steps in technology and the best shopping experience. As far as our own plans are concerned, our main goal for the coming years is to empower insurance, energy, and financial products services, with personalized services and solutions, so that the user has in his/her hands a comprehensive service comparison tool, that will constantly work guided by his/her benefit, based on needs and financial possibilities, always with transparency and reliability.
Interview to infocom.gr (in Greek)
Interview to the magazine INFOCOM (in Greek)