Monika Schulze: “To offer customers a better service, first we need to get employees on board”
On the occasion of her participation in the upcoming edition of innovationHUB [21 November, Barcelona, request your invitation here] Monika Schulze, Global Head of Customer and Digital Experience at Zurich Insurance, took advantage of her stay in Madrid last week to talk to us about the latest trends in customer experience and active listening in the insurance sector, and about the need for companies to open up to dialogue and collaboration with the collectives they have a relationship with, such as employees and clients.
The insurance company’s corporate program “From employees to customers” revolves around this idea, a journey of innovation together with employees and customers, which will be discussed by Monika Schulze and Silvia Heras, Director of Communication and Strategic Marketing at Zurich Spain, at our innovationHUB.
Innovators (I): What is the “journey from employees to customers” for Zurich Insurance?
Monika Schulze (MS): If we look at the company’s strategy, it seems clear that customer centricity is a key pillar. If you want to give customers the best possible service, it is very important that employees are on board. That is why we start things off with them, by gathering their ideas and what they hold in their hearts to offer the best possible service.
I: How can a large company work on its transformation considering it deals with different countries and cultures?
MS: In my experience, it is very important to keep in mind similarities between countries and business areas, rather than differences. Most of the time, we focus on differences, and that is why we think we need to develop different programs. I firmly believe, and my colleagues in other countries do too, that you can find more similarities than you think, with a view to joining forces and working together in search of best practices.
For example, if you take our NPS (Net Promoter Program), we have it in all countries, and it is a common framework for all business areas, retail… it covers everything. That said, do we receive the same response from all countries? No. The main lesson is that the incentives system is important, that leaders need to be closer to the client and talk to them; they must go from data to discovery, from discovery to action. There must be a correlation with business results, and that is the same for all countries. That is why I say that, although the execution can change, the framework is always the same.
I: What are the main client experience trends in the insurance sector?
MS: If you look at large companies, it is very important to take note of how people work collectively. But if you observe trends on how to solve problems, this is usually done in silos, and not transversally and from a customer perspective. It should be clear that customers do not think about the contracting policy, prices, renewals… sometimes they don’t even know these terms. They simply think: “I want good coverage for my property”, and the company has to offer that; from the information given prior to taking out an insurance policy to everything else along the process.
We therefore need to move away from being isolated points, silos, and look towards the “complete customer journey”. Understanding how to better serve customers is essential, from the perspective of their ‘journey’, to later see if there are any “black holes” that we can eliminate along the way. For innovation projects that aim to improve customer experience, we need to see how new ideas can serve that journey, and not analyze them merely from a corporate perspective.
I: Confidence between insurance companies and customers is essential. How can digital channels and active listening programs reinforce that?
MS: If you look at statistics and confidence surveys, it is clear that our sector faces a challenge, because the level of trust in our companies is relatively low, even when compared with the banking sector. Why? One answer lies in the frequency of contact with clients. We sell clients insurance policies and then we leave them alone until they have to renew them. Frequent contact is basic in a relationship of trust, and digital channels are very useful here. You can stay in contact with people and communicate with them regularly. Unlike TV or advertising, they are two-way channels. Ultimately, the idea is to communicate, not only publish content and wait for people to see it.
Where does the innovation journey begin for Zurich Insurance?
The Barcelona edition of innovationHUB [21 November, request your invitation here] will unveil the global commitment of Zurich Insurance –host of the event– to open innovation, with its program "From employees to customers", which opens the company to participation and ideas from its employees and from external talent, e.g. through its distribution network. Monika Schulze and Silvia Heras will explain the details of this ambitious program, which uses the Imagina community network to combine active listening and the discovery of innovative insights.
About the session:
“Welcome to our journey from employee to customers with Imagina”
Barcelona, 21 November 2018. Zurich Insurance, Via Augusta 200. 10:00 AM – 10:20 AM.
With Monika Schulze, Global Head of Customer and Digital Experience at Zurich Insurance, and Silvia Heras, Director of Communication and Strategic Marketing at Zurich Insurance Spain.
See the entire Barcelona innovationHUB agenda here.