CUSTOMER INSIGHT. Industry case study from Huntswood

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1 CUSTOMER INSIGHT Industry case study from Huntswood 1.

2 Customer insight Contents Customer insight...3 Major international high st. bank...4 International credit card company...5 International general insurance provider...7 Mutual investments, life & pensions and general insurance

3 How Huntswood helps organisations really understand the customer experience Customer insight With the financial services industry looking at new ways of measuring its performance, it s important that companies track outcomes that have real meaning for customers. From the recent studies that Huntswood has undertaken within the financial services sector, it is clear that the friendliness of front-line advisers (meeting regulatory obligations and responding to customer requests) is important. However, they do not deliver an outstanding experience that meets (or exceeds) customer expectations, is in line with the Financial Services Authority focus on outcomes and which enables firms to differentiate themselves in the market. These are examples of customer insight work undertaken recently by Huntswood for financial services organisations: Major international high street bank International general insurance provider International credit card company Mutual providing investments, life & pensions and general insurance Financial services companies are spending a lot of time, effort and money listening to their customers and monitoring the customer experience. Huntswood ensures that this effort pays off by helping organisations target areas of real importance for the customer and the business which enables them to make changes that significantly improve the customer experience. We do this by using a team of financial industry experts to engage with companies as bona fide customers in many cases we actually buy their products, be it credit cards, packaged accounts or general insurance policies. From this research, we produce in-depth reports based on customer experiences which, coupled with recommendations, and, where applicable, training and development or organisational change plans, enables companies to put solutions in place that not only delight their customers, but also sees them stand out from their competitors. 3.

4 Major international high street bank Industry case study Need Result Huntswood was selected to undertake a review of treating customers fairly (TCF) delivery in branches across six UK regions. The objective was to observe branch sales practices in action to assess the delivery of TCF from a customer perspective and to review how effective advisers were at providing selling as part of the overall customer experience. Solution The review involved a sample of 54 branches with Huntswood s customer insight consultants, (each of whom has in-depth knowledge and experience of the financial services sector) acting as customers and undertaking sales meetings with customer service advisers. The consultants were provided with scenarios which should have led advisers to identify specific needs and recommend suitable products. Three scenarios were used: Opening a packaged account While some good examples of customer service delivery were observed, there was a significant number of instances where risks to the delivery of TCF were identified and also some examples where TCF is being compromised through the breach of FCA rules. In addition, opportunities to sell were missed and the overall customer experience was at best average and at worst, poor. The general themes emerging across both product types were regulatory issues (failure to provide all required pre-sale information and establish eligibility), weak TCF delivery (fact finding for needs and providing required information) and missed sales opportunities (meetings were too fast; there was limited explanation of the sales process and parts of it were skipped over), the right questions were not asked to establish real needs (which meant advisers could not match products to benefits), resulting in customers having insufficient information to make an informed decision. As a result of their experience, 33% of customers said they wouldn t have bought a packaged account and 42% wouldn t have taken out a credit card. Opening a basic account and then taking out one type of credit card Opening a basic account and then taking out a different credit card Our consultants purchased the recommended product; ie a packaged account, basic account, or their nominated credit card. Meetings were undertaken over a three-week period at different times of the day and week. For most visits, an appointment was made to see an adviser; a few were drop ins. 4.

5 International credit card company Industry case study Need Over the past six months this credit card company has focused on actual performance and targets information which is used by the company s Executive Committee to drive and improve performance. The business wanted to take a more in-depth look at the customer experience and how its approach measures up against the competition. Originally, a traditional benchmarking approach was requested: 1. Using data gathered from work undertaken with existing clients, anonymising it and comparing it with the company s own data. The limitations of this approach are that information obtained from other companies tends to: Be specific (related to a certain product or need) Quite narrow (it is dependent upon which companies the consultancy is working with) Outdated (the work may have been undertaken several years ago, but is presented as current ) 2. Internet research: Whilst in theory everything is available on the internet, in practice data is often restricted. Reports (where they do exist) are often several years out of date and/or the ability to make like-for-like comparisons is challenging 3. Joining a benchmarking club or society through which information is shared. This can be a good approach; however, most organisations are cagey about making sensitive data available to their competitors even on a restricted basis. To turn it round the other way would the client be happy sharing data with other credit card providers? By assessing the clients goal, we found a different route to effectively reach that end: understanding the customers pain points in comparisn with their competition Solution Huntswood s solution was to buy the company s credit card and those of five of its competitors in order to make a direct comparison about the customer service, sales and regulatory experience. The study involved a team of 61 Huntswood associates (FPC accredited or equivalent) who have worked in a financial service environment and have an in-depth understanding of regulation (including TCF). Each also understands what a good sales/service experience should look, sound and feel like. Associates were chosen for their knowledge and experience of financial services, and also because they would fit the relevant customer profiles and pass company credit checks. Where appropriate all three sales channels were used:- in-branch, telephone and online. The aim was for each Huntswood associate to reflect the company s customer experience value chain: Getting a card Using the card Servicing the account Payment 5.

6 in order to provide an in-depth view of the customer experience for the company s own product and those of its major competitors at key stages of the value chain. Result Findings showed that despite front-line employees being warm and friendly, they were primarily order takers, following a regulatory process that leads the majority of customers to rate their experience poorly. While this was a qualitative piece of work in which the data and findings were not statistically representative, it provided insight of the type that cannot be achieved through normal benchmarking studies. Of particular interest is the inconsistency between, and within, brands. Of the six companies surveyed, none were delivering a customer experience that was demonstrably better than its competitors. This presented an opportunity for our client: to be the one company that could get its act together and to stand out from the pack. 6.

7 International general insurance provider Industry case study Need The solution Following the design and delivery of a sales effectiveness programme Huntswood was asked by this client to develop a tailor-made customer experience programme for its customer service centre. Specifically the need was to: Identify, from the customer s perspective, the current levels of service delivery provided by the service centre Map the existing high-level service centre processes Validate how this relates to the customer experience provided currently by the customer service centre (and so identify the gaps in performance) Determine what training is needed to eliminate the gaps Recommend how the learning can be embedded to ensure behaviours are changed Huntswood introduced a staged approach as follows: Stage one: understanding the customer experience Stage two: programme design Stage three: pilot & train the trainer Stage four: embedding learning & evaluation In stage one of the process we undertook a short, but thorough review of the current as is situation within the customer service centre to understand the current performance from three points of view: 1. The customer 2. The business 3. The employee 7.

8 Customers point of view Customers point of view We interviewed 40 customers who had recently contacted the service centre to understand: How they viewed current performance (what works, what doesn t?) What they were looking for from a service perspective (what does good look like?) How they rate service levels against the competition/providers of other types of general insurance To gain a full understanding of the service centre environment we reviewed the business to identify: How closely the customer experience matched that of the intention of the Service Centre How the Service Centre was managed and measured How Agents are trained and deemed competent to carry out the services required on behalf of the business The 40 calls were divided between the following categories: The business service centre review involved: Recent enquiries Recent enquiries which required internal Recent calls where customers had cause to complain Customers memory was fresh, i.e. spoke to the Service Centre that morning or the previous day Tracing the call flow from the customer s perspective provided insight as to the service they experienced internally. Delays, transfers and satisfactory responses were identified Understanding why the customer had cause to complain and the events leading up to the complaint. More importantly how quickly was the complaint resolved, and was the customer satisfied with the outcome? Mapping the intended customer journey through their enquiry Overlaying the true customer experience against the intended customer journey Understanding the desired state of the Service Centre Producing a high-level process map provided a visual representation of the Service Centre customer journeys; hand-offs to other departments, and; written or expectations of service level agreements For up to ten customers interviewed in each category, Huntswood mapped the customer journey from the point of query to the point of resolution Holding more in-depth conversations with key stakeholders to obtain deeper insight into current vs. desired performance 8.

9 Reviewing the training and competencies of Service Centre employees Reviewing current Management Information Meeting with head of Learning & Development to understand what training Agents and Team Leaders have had to date (eg induction) to ensure our training complemented rather than conflicted) Reviewing management information (e.g. quality scoring), what existing MI was available and what was missing. The employee review involved: Observing the Service Centre in action Meeting stakeholders outside of the Service Centre Meeting with Agents and Team Leaders and listening to calls Meeting with colleagues from other parts of the business whose actions impact upon customer service to determine how much they understood about the customer experience and their role in delivering it Employee point of view The employee experience provided a view of service centre culture. Employees shared their views on: What they think customers feel about their service What they think customers are looking for from them in the future How they feel about the service provided The findings from this review were contrasted with what customers were actually looking for and determined how closely aligned (or otherwise) agents were with their customers. The findings from stage one understanding the customer experience shaped the design of the subsequent stages (programme design, pilot & train the trainer and embedding learning & valuation). Employee point of view As a result of the training and follow up (side-by-side coaching and short, workplace training modules delivered in team briefing sessions by line managers) customer satisfaction levels increased by 11% and complaint levels decreased by 13%. In an employee post-workshop survey, an average score of 8.9 out of 10 was received for individuals understanding what customers expect and 8.7/10 for what I can do personally to improve the customer experience. 9.

10 Mutual investments, life & pensions and general insurance Industry case study Life & pensions General insurance The client portfolio of this particular mutual makes it difficult for the organisation to undertake mystery shops with its customer (50% of customers own farms). Huntswood s solution was to sign up real customers to feedback what took place in discussions between them and the mutual s financial consultant. Huntswood designed a questionnaire which was sent to customers who were being visited at home by a financial consultant. Following the meeting, customers completed the questionnaire which detailed their experience from a regulatory, sales and service point of view and returned it to Huntswood for analysis and evaluation. A team of financial services experts took out the mutual s motor insurance. Purchases were made over the telephone or in person at an agency. In addition to applying for the insurance and taking out the policy, our financial service experts look at the literature they receive (both from a regulatry and experience perspective) initiating a cross-sale opportunity (or responding to one if called by the agency) and renewing the policy for a second year. The aim is to provide the mutual with an in-depth endto-end review of what their customers experience. Investments At the time of selling structured products to customers, the mutual was keen to ensure that customers understood fully the bond they had just purchased and the implications of the product being linked to the Stock Exchange (traditionally the mutual s customers opt for low-risk products). Huntswood developed a questionnaire designed to elicit this information (without alarming them) and conducted a short interview over the phone. This approach is welcomed by the FCA which sees it as TCF in action rather than discovering five years later that a product has been mis-sold, this proactive approach checks understanding at the time of sale which means any errors or misunderstandings can be picked up immediately. 10.

11 HUNTSWOOD Abbey Gardens, Abbey Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3BA Telephone: ABOUT HUNTSWOOD Huntswood is a professional services organisation which offers a range of complementary propositions which focus on customer service delivery, consulting, recruitment and people learning and development. NOTES RELATING TO HUNTSWOOD This document and its contents are confidential and proprietary to Huntswood or its licensors. No part of this document may be copied, reproduced or transmitted to any third party in any form without our prior written consent. Huntswood cannot accept any liability for the information given in this document which is offered as a general guide only. All Huntswood engagements are subject to a binding contract, fully setting out all terms and conditions. A full summary of terms and conditions is available on request. Huntswood CTC Ltd trades as Huntswood, Abbey Gardens, Abbey Street, Reading RG1 3BA, registered company number

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