We spoke with Slice Director of Technology Operations Kevin Marshall to hear what he had to say about his job, the people at Slice, and what it takes to be successful in this burgeoning sharing economy.
How long have you worked at Slice?
I started the new year off right, joining Slice in January of 2017.
Why were you interested in working at Slice?
I felt Slice was a fit for me in terms of strategic direction, growth plans, quality of people and of course it’s innovative product. I was ready to leave behind a dated and bloated legacy business and IT environment that had little opportunity for growth and just wasn’t exciting. Slice was a breath of fresh air, with a business model and product vision I could easily understand and believe in. And, more than anything else, they care. Slice genuinely wants to help people and make a difference by providing insurance in a way that removes risks and barriers and allows people to take control of their assets and pursue their dreams.
What is your role at Slice?
I lead and manage the Slice Technology Operations. Our team implements and supports the infrastructure used to host our online and mobile insurance products. We also provide customer support services; answering a variety of questions about the product and the company, and resolving technical issues that prevent customers from accessing or using our insurance products.
What do you love most about your job?
Serving customers and making them feel comfortable about Slice and our Homeshare product. I recognize that Slice is a new company and a new insurance product so connecting with people, helping them feel confident in our product and service, and growing our customer base is both exciting and rewarding.
What kinds of questions from customers do you often get?
Most recently with all of the tragic storm activity in the south, we get a lot of questions about major storm damage such as whether we cover hurricanes, tornadoes, brush fires, etc., but mostly I get questions you can expect and we are prepared to answer, like, What does your policy cover? Who is your underwriter? How do I get a quote? Do I really have to sign-up/register to get a quote? How does the product work? If you cover times when I have a guest, who covers the times when there is no guest at my house? When are you coming to my state or my country? Can your policy cover my unique situation or business model? Do you work with property managers? What if I don’t own the property but I rent it, can I purchase your policy to cover my contents and liability?
What is the biggest misconception about Slice? What do people “not get”?
Folks don’t necessarily believe we have the track record or financial strength to support our insurance products. Some are also skeptical of our approach which requires a “sign-up” or registration to get a Homeshare insurance quote.
Another big misconception is about the nightly quoted cost. While many look at the cost as being very low or competitive since the policy is offered on a “per night” basis and customers can buy as much or as little as required to provide coverage for guest stays, others see a $8 per night cost as outrageous because they are assuming a 100% booking at 30 nights per month. In that case, they see a $240 per month cost, not a $8 cost. The flip side is looking at protecting the income or revenue from the short-term rentals and the customer's assets. With 30 days booked, at say $100/night, the monthly income would be $3000. At this level of revenue, perhaps spending $240 on insurance is not that bad. But if you only look at the cost, without looking at the value of your assets or the revenue generated by your short-term rental business, then it may look “expensive”.
What do you think makes Slice so great and different, how does it help?
Customers get full “on-demand” flexibility—they decide if, when, and how much insurance they wish to purchase, and it’s delivered directly to them in a way that’s super intuitive and easy to use. This is a brand new concept for the industry.
What’s a memorable experience you’ve had with a Slice customer?
I’ve had many. Anytime a skeptical potential customer gives me enough time to explain our product offering, how we work and we end up with understanding, a good fit and a converted customer, this puts a smile on my face.
What kind of feedback are you getting from customers?
Mostly very positive feedback about our business model, our website, our product meeting their needs, the timeliness and quality of support, etc. In some cases, we get feedback about improvements that can be made to make the product easier to use. We take all feedback seriously and prioritize what changes we make based on this input.
How do you feel about the on-demand/sharing economy, how is it changing things?
It’s putting more control in the hands of individuals and families to leverage the assets they have, and their time, for economic benefit. For some, it makes the difference between affording a home or not, affording an annual family vacation or not, sending their kids to college or not, retiring...or not. At a social level, the sharing economy is connecting more people like a “real world” social media: guests meet hosts, hosts meet a variety of guests, drivers meet passengers, etc. These “meetings”, or connections, would not happen without the sharing economy and the platforms that support or enable it.
What tips do you have for homeshare hosts?
Live the dream, but don’t forget to protect what you have.
Our sincerest thanks to Kevin for answering all of questions so openly and thoroughly! If you have more questions for us please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
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