Silvia Heras (Zurich Insurance): “Listening to our employees has allowed us to gain credibility”
Zurich Insurance Spain is currently developing a listening program for its employees and network of agents, with the objective of focusing on its customers. With an extremely illustrative title, “From Employees to Customers” proposes a journey that begins inwardly, has an intermediate stage with the company’s brokers, and ends with the insured client. To this effect, it uses a network of interconnected innovation communities, where it currently gathers insights from employees and distributors. The ultimate goal is the insurance company’s collective transformation. Also, an internal cultural change that not only seeks to bring the company closer to its clients, but also involve the latter as part of the company’s channel for listening and transformation through innovation.
Silvia Heras, Director of Communication and Strategic Marketing at Zurich Spain, spoke to us about the main keys to this pioneering program, which has selected the insurance company’s Spanish division as its pilot experience. Among the initiative’s key results is a 34-point rise in eNPS and over 700 ideas shared by employees, of which around ten are now in their implementation phase.
You can see a summary of the interview in the video below.
Innovadores (I): What motivates Zurich Insurance to embark on such a journey with its employees and customers?
Silvia Heras (SH): At Zurich, we began our journey towards a cultural change some time ago, as we sought to move closer to our clients—something all companies are looking for today. When we discussed that journey, we realized that we didn’t only need to think about our clients; we had to begin with our employees, then move onto our brokers, and finally arrive at the satisfaction of our insured customers.
I: Focusing on that first stage with employees, how did they receive the project and what have been its effects?
SH: Changes in culture or in how we work take time, and that is not something you can always control, people establish the pace of such changes. We have spent a long time on our employee community, until we saw that their involvement became something natural. In that sense, the cultural change hasn’t been something we triggered: all employees have started to play and interact with the community and, without even noticing, we have all changed.
I: How did you decide to extend the program to the company’s network of agents?
SH: Once we reached the stage where all employees were involved, we realized that we were ready to expand the network to our brokers. In this case, the project depended on our people responsible for distribution, but they immediately gave us their approval because they were already familiar with the project and saw it as an opportunity. We launched a community for them and, again, it was a pleasant surprise: 96% of agents registered in the platform in merely a few weeks.
I: How does the company’s management value this data?
SH: We are immersed in the same process of credibility as we already enjoyed with our employees.
I: Credibility seems to be a key factor, especially if the ultimate goal is to get clients involved. What is the next step in that direction?
SH: We launched an initial challenge that focused more on clients, in either platform, to see what ideas both employees and agents came up with. Now we are working on the final stage of the journey, determining the launch strategy for our client community. If we are now capable of implementing an idea from our employees in only a couple of weeks, just imagine what we can achieve with our customers.
When client excellence begins with employees.
According to Silvia Heras, "From employees to customers"has triggered a cultural change at Zurich Insurance. Almost 90% of the company’s 1,600 employees in Spain have registered in an internal community where they can share their ideas, which are co-created by users and listened to by the company’s management. This commitment to listening to employees has produced other results, such as a 34-point increase in eNPS shortly after the program’s launch. "If you want to give the best possible service to customers, it is very important that employees are on-board; that is why we should start with them, collecting their ideas", summarizes Monika Schulze, Global Head of Customer and Digital Experience at Zurich Insurance, regarding the philosophy behind this ambitious program[you can see a video interview with Monika Schulze here].In this respect, Schulze stresses the need to "avoid silos and look at the complete customer journey", increasing interactions with customers that go beyond the classic moments when a policy is contracted and renewed. The company’s management highlights the suitability of digital channels to approach this contact with customers. "In the end, the idea is to communicate, not only publish content and expect it to be seen".
Photo: Monica Schulze, Global Head of Customer and Digital Experience (Zurich Insurance).
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