Verisure, a company that provides home security services, wanted to increase its understanding of Finnish home security and provide an even better customer experience. Verisure worked with Digia to implement an app that supports wider-reaching changes in the company’s operating method. Now Verisure receives valuable data that can be used to further enhance both its services and customer experience.
We had quite a tight schedule for the implementation of the app, which required plenty of flexibility and stamina from Digia. It was clear to see that Digia personnel were highly committed to the project. I also liked how the developers at Digia thought about the app from the customer perspective.
Tommi Heinimo, installations and customer service coach, Verisure
One in three Finnish homes does not have enough fire alarms to comply with the Rescue Act. In one home out of five, the fire alarm is installed in the incorrect location.
These are the findings of a study carried out by Verisure, based on home security analyses by the company’s security experts.
Home security analyses are part of Verisure’s aim of improving its understanding of Finnish home security. A mobile app implemented by Digia helps the company to collect information. The app also provides the customer with an overview of their home security.
How large is the home in square metres? Does the home have an air source heat pump? Is it heated with electricity or district heating? How many fireplaces does it have?
When Verisure’s security expert arrives for a visit, the analysis of home security begins. Earlier, this meant filling out information on a paper form: floor area, number of fireplaces and doors, and other such data that the expert could analyse to recommend Verisure solutions to the customer in order to improve home security.
However, from the perspective of overall home security, such analyses only scratched the surface. Verisure wanted to offer more to its customers.
“We wanted to provide our customers with even more information about their home security and what issues they should take into consideration in general, over and above our solution,” says Tommi Heinimo, installations and customer service coach.
Thanks to the app, home security analyses have become more controlled and comprehensive, and also produce a useful report for the customer.
The design of the app started in June 2016. The first version usable during a customer visit was completed in November. Design set out to cater to the needs of customers.
“We had to take into account that the ages of our security experts range from 18 to 60, so the app had to be easy to use. That’s why it was important to do most of the work in the design phase with a service designer,” says Heinimo.
Another important aspect was functionality.
“The app has to work in customers’ homes, even in the cellar. Even if the tablet suddenly loses its network connection, the app must keep working. And it does,” he says.
A security expert records detailed information into the app on the security status of the customer’s home. That’s why particular attention was paid to information security.
“The report on the home security analysis does not include any identifying information on the customer that would enable someone to associate the report with a specific home,” says Suvi Hiltunen, Verisure’s Head of Marketing.
The app was implemented using microservice architecture and React software development. It was launched nationwide in May 2017. Ever since the first version, software development has been agile, responding to both legislative amendments and user experiences.
“Mandatory changes must be implemented whenever new EU directives and legislation are introduced, for instance. In addition, we make changes to incorporate proposals from users, such as when our experts observe that many homes have a certain kind of room that isn’t included on the app’s room list, or that a certain kind of heating hasn’t been included,” says Heinimo.
At present, the app is used for home security analysis, but the company intends to scale it up for use in the corporate sector, too.
“We’ve never thought that this is just some app. It’s a new way of working that’s supported by the app.”
Hiltunen says that Verisure’s objective of providing customers with more expertise and value requires the company to change its operating methods.
“Of course, thinking about what the app and the reports should be like required a lot of work. But in terms of the bigger picture, designing the training materials also required plenty of effort. And so did thinking about what kind of customer experience we want to offer and how the app supports our objective,” says Hiltunen.
Any change in the organisation requires careful mobilisation. Verisure changed over to the new ways of working successfully.
“We coaches visited all our business locations to mobilise the use of the app and the changed ways of working. Our employees have embraced the changes and given positive feedback,” says Heinimo.
And what about the customers?
“Many customers have been grateful for the summaries they’ve received, as the reports clearly indicate which aspects of home security could be improved and which are in good shape,” says Heinimo.
For Hiltunen, one of the highlights of the project is that Verisure has been able to put the data collected by the app to good use.
“We’ve gained plenty of really useful information on Finnish home security. And externally, we’ve been able to produce truly important and awareness-raising content that spurs people to think about issues such as fire security.”
Verisure is currently in business in 14 countries. Heinimo and Hiltunen see potential for the use of the app in other countries, too. In addition to Finland, the app developed by Digia is already being used in Norway.
“Digia was well prepared for this opportunity and created the app in English, translating it into Finnish. When the Norwegians showed interest in the app, it was easy to translate the app for them,” says Heinimo.
“The app already supports four languages for home security analyses: Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and English. If our security experts speak English during a customer visit, but don’t know all the terms in English, the app comes in useful.”
The content and functionalities of each language version are identical, which will facilitate introduction in new countries.
“I’ll be very surprised if a year from now the app isn’t being used in several of Verisure’s business countries,” says Heinimo.
Both Heinimo and Hiltunen thank Digia for smooth cooperation.
“We had quite a tight schedule for the implementation of the app, which required plenty of flexibility and stamina from Digia. It was clear to see that Digia personnel were highly committed to the project,” says Heinimo.
“I also liked how the developers at Digia thought about the app from the customer perspective. When I presented wishes regarding the app, they thought about how these would affect the usability of the app or the added value gained by the customer.”
Digia’s working methods were also memorable.
“When the developer team and customer are located in different premises, the working methods are highly important for ensuring that everything is done right. I was positively surprised to see that the work was done so accurately,” says Heinimo.
“Also, nothing was designated as complete until we’d approved it. In a way, this enabled us to participate as equals in ensuring the functionality of the app,” he adds.
As in all projects, the original plans for Verisure’s app were fine-tuned as the project progressed. However, the challenges encountered on the way have provided lessons for further development.
“The most important thing we learned as the client was that when you’re developing this kind of app, you must have the patience to thoroughly think through the needs and desired features. Now that we’re planning to scale up the app for use in the corporate sector, we intend to first pilot a paper version to gain a better understanding of what the app requires before we start implementing it,” says Hiltunen.