Axiom Connected™ is a digital connected warranty and e-commerce platform. The company‘s goal is to build connected warranty product platforms for vehicles and any other connected appliances and electronics that require monthly or long-term protection attributes. Warranty as a global sphere is estimated at $1 trillion per year. There are currently no digital connected warranty platforms serving on a grand scale.
A Diligent Leader
Michael Reth is the CEO of Axiom Connected™. He has over 26 years of rich experience in the automotive, insurance, and warranty industry. He primarily focuses on creating products and innovative technology that bridges both traditional finance and insurance products leveraging current digitalization revolution. With a 360-degree understanding of all automotive aspects, he offers a unique perspective in bringing solutions to Axiom Connected.
Delivering Inclusive Protection Coverage Products
Axiom Connected™ is contributing to the automobile and insurance industries by bringing a virtual e-commerce transaction platform to consumers who want to buy protection-style products in a far more conducive manner. Previously, people only had the option of buying extended protection coverage at the sale point in automobile transactions. If they bought it on an electronic device at a big-box store, it was typically offered at the register. Some direct-to-consumer call centers sell customers something on the phone, but they typically have to pay a higher price and finance that premium over time.
With its subscription-style, e-commerce, and connected warranty platforms, Axiom Connected™ offers products that are meaningful, cost-effective, and fully digital in the palm of a customer‘s hand. The products are fully transparent and based on the vehicles’ usage and the consumer‘s budget. This is something that does not currently exist in the industry. The company believes that it fits for automotive and many other subscription-style insurance products in America, the UK, Australia, and Europe as well.
New Technologies to Enhance the Customer Experience
Michael observes that most businesses and consumers earlier would only adopt disruptive technologies after massive general acceptance, while many consider them as an idea in the early stages. Now, they see these technologies come to life far faster than ever before. Consumers are willing to adopt new technologies and services more frequently as they now know how it works, and want to be a part of the early adopters.
Michael says, prior to Amazon, buying something online and having it shipped to people‘s houses was a hassle. But the company‘s platform eliminated the “friction“ of buying and returning products online, much like Carvana and Cazoo are doing in Automotive Retail and Finance transactions. These frictionless Automotive transactions have given people confidence in the premise that they can order a $40k vehicle online and it will be shipped to their house, as described above, with included protection. A consumer just has to navigate their computer or phone to complete their purchases. This is significantly delivering convenience to consumers while buying new things online. Most millennials along with Gen Z, Gen X, and Boomers, are gaining advantage from these models. “People have become very comfortable with subscription services. They know if they are no longer happy, they can cancel the subscription with minimal risk. It makes a subscription work hard to “earn“ someone‘s business every month – not just once,” Michael said.
Distinct Asset of Next-Generation Leadership
Speaking on vital leadership attributes, Michael opines that leaders must pose Grit. It is an under-utilized term in any business line, and it means having the tenacity to overcome daily challenges. Not everyone has that capability. Being committed and tenacious has helped Michael see his vision from an idea through digital applications and modern transactions. That has been his greatest accomplishment.
Today, anyone can say they have a business idea, but not everyone can execute and see it to completion. Without execution, nothing matters; it is just an idea. Michael thinks the companies that really make an impact on the world are the ones that take an audacious idea and indeed find a way to bring it to reality. And to make that happen, a leader must have GRIT.
Overcoming Challenges to Stay Strong Among Competitors
The initial challenges Axiom Connected™ faced were not adapting to digital change in any meaningful way. According to Michael, most insurance and warranty companies are operating traditionally, still making money. Pivoting away from those tried and true methods is often met with salespeople’s resistance, sales platforms, regulation, and bureaucracy within insurance companies. It took these organizations years to consider making changes that were more commonplace in other sectors matching the digital now approach.
More often than not, it usually wasn’t until a competitor made a change that others were prompted to follow. The primary challenge to make this very established was that traditional businesses need to make meaningful and digital change for business partners and end-users. Furthermore, the automobile and, Finance and Insurance (F&I) industries have been challenged with the state and banking regulations. Historically, regulation always follows innovation. To get both of these key elements to align has been a challenge, but today’s consumers have demanded change; COVID-19 validated that it happens much sooner than the industry was willing to move. For example, in Automotive Retail, only up until about four years ago, Carvana began making it possible to buy a car completely online without visiting a brick-and-mortar store. Netflix changed the movie rental industry in about 12 months, putting an entire traditional industry out of business. The automobile industry was very rooted in having face-to-face transactions inside a dealership store. However, the challenge to shift this traditional industry focuses on the potential perception of lost income. The impact of COVID-19 and being able to have a hybrid approach to sell to existing and new customers without visiting the dealership has created a new mindset throughout the entire industry. The pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies to make transactions digitally.
Michael sees that the automobile and F&I industries can all be held in the palm of a consumer. They don‘t have to go to multiple locations or sources to find information as it is all easily accessible now. He believes that those obstacles the company faced through 2015 have been overcome with the integration of digital marketplace transactions and consumer engagement all from afar in one form or another.
An Extraordinary Journey Towards Success
The ability to adapt during the digital age of business has helped Michael in his journey. When he first got out of school, during 1995-1996, the Internet was significantly beginning to impact businesses on a marketing basis. Five years later, the automobile industry was started quoting and offering pricing and sales opportunities in the automobile business. He said, “From 2000 to 2010, we saw smartphones and how they were interacting with selling products. From 2010 forward, we saw insurance started to be offered in a digital or e-commerce format. Being part of this journey, from the advent of the Internet, and what a modern digital sales process looks like now has really gotten us to the forefront of where we are today.”
The Future of Work
Michael believes that Axiom Connected™ will work more in parallel with manufacturers to integrate connected technology to communicate with its clients. In–Warranty and Protection, the company has now created a user experience that conjoins with the physical aspect of the traditional vehicle purchase transaction. Axiom‘s future is based on building technology that is fully integrated into other products. Imagine if insurance companies could provide quotes, tire companies could provide offers, or dealerships could offer customers a trade-in value all because they were a part of the connected car ecosystem. And Axiom‘s platform already provides this.
Shaping Young Minds
Michael advises emerging leaders that Cybersecurity is ever-changing. In the past, business leaders had documents stored in file cabinets in their offices. But today, everything is digitally connected. Lacking the proper security protocols puts their entire business at risk. Even everyone nowadays is at risk of being hacked anytime as they are connected online. Year over year, the risk grows, the threats are becoming more concerning, and those companies’ names are more prestigious. In this context, leaders have to focus on what will give them the best chance of protection and survival in the most cost-effective matter for all levels of their businesses.
Moreover, leaders in any organization have to manage two fronts, balancing the “why” of the business by adapting to change and giving people the ability to interact with the business digitally. Leaders have to remain true to why they started the business while adapting to changes and keeping up with new technology. Axiom Connected™ thinks about what is the consumer experience that it creates and works backward to build the technology and services. “If the experience is great, people will find value in everything you offer,” Michael mentioned.