Listening to customers can be beneficial in any circumstance. But in a rapidly-changing or tumultuous economic environment, it is of critical importance. Customers are more selective with brands than ever before. Now, they aren’t afraid to jump ship if they don’t share a powerful emotional connection. Building these strong relationships starts with listening and understanding the voice of the customer.

One company that got this customer listening strategy right is Vitality – the health, life and car insurance provider. Using a VoC Programme to inform its actions, Vitality saw positive results in less than a year.

How Vitality started capturing ‘CX signals’ in real time

The complexity occurs when organisations want to analyse customer feedback and sentiments, both in-depth and at scale. With the fast-moving pace of business, organisations need the right digital technologies to continuously capture ‘CX signals’ throughout the entire customer journey. These signals can come from: direct feedback (what customers say to you); or indirect feedback (what they say about you); operational data; and observed behaviour.

Equally important is to translate these complex CX signals into actionable insight. Every decision-maker in the organisation needs access to the latest insight. Some – such as those on the front lines of customer service – need these in real-time. Getting an accurate sense of what the customer is experiencing and expecting in a given moment can help teams proactively take action to meet their needs.

In all, what can we learn from the award-winning CX strategy and team known as Vitality?

Implementing new technology for richer insights

Vitality is a provider of health, life and car insurance services in the UK, insuring the lives of 1.6 million members. It aims to help people live healthy and active lives by encouraging its customers to participate in health-promoting activities and manage their own wellness. This leads to the development of healthy long-term habits that are not just good for the individual, but also beneficial for Vitality and for society as a whole.

In order to enhance member experience and satisfaction, Vitality worked on improving the way it collected customer feedback. It sought to move away from collecting individual feedback responses to a unified platform-based approach. This had the ability to categorise and order feedback in real-time. This would help all stakeholders, executives and customer service agents prioritise action in the moments that matter most.

Understanding changing priorities during the pandemic

The VoC programme was particularly useful during the pandemic crisis. Vitality had to consider best practices for both of its customer groups and act quickly. Within two days of launching the programme, the CX team was able to roll out bespoke dashboards in a self-service way and influence decision-making.

Vitality also leveraged Medallia’s ad hoc research capabilities off the back of the enhanced customer listening programme. Applying this strategy early on meant that Vitality was able to deliver the first research piece within the first month of implementation. The research involved:

  • Understanding the wellbeing of its own members and staff shortly after the first lockdown, which helped inform Vitality’s employee health and wellbeing strategy
  • Gaining insights into views and concerns around receiving treatment in the pandemic
  • Providing its corporate clients with a temperature check of the wellbeing of their employees with an output of tailored recommendations

Some of the insights collected helped Vitality understand customer motivations. For example, individual customers were motivated by the “Get Healthy, Get Rewarded” programme. This helped them improve their lives through exercise; stress-relieving relaxation; and by following sensible eating and drinking habits. By rewarding customers the right way, it was able to maintain strong relationships and satisfaction.

Putting action-oriented insight to work

The VoC programme continued to provide value as the pandemic’s hold on everyday life persisted. Vitality used the data collected from multiple touch-points – from the contact centre to research surveys. They continually adapted programmes to engage customers and reward individuals for making positive health changes. In particular, Vitality was able to:

  • Further understand its members’ challenges earning Vitality points, as well as their preferred exercises, fitness devices and apps
  • Have the opportunity to provide tailored communications and advice to help drive behavioural change following members’ health checks
  • Survey customers to better understand their future preferences in preparation for the easing of a disruptive lockdown

At Vitality’s contact centres, managers were able to analyse customer feedback on agents’ tones and manners. This identified what worked and didn’t work for customers. In response to customer feedback and surveys, coaching sessions and processes were implemented. These allowed the organisation to better coach agents who were in contact with customers. 

Making CX the driving force for business

Vitality’s VoC programme assisted their mission of proactively helping people better their lives. The company achieved a unified, enterprise-wide view of their customers. Importantly, it transformed its ability to directly respond to their needs as they evolved.

Executives and employees were empowered to respond to inquiries and proactively reach out to 6,000 customers. They were able to concurrently monitor and analyse over 160,000 responses to live digital surveys. This enabled teams to identify and prioritise opportunities for improvement across organisation and digital channels. 

As a result of this approach, ‘positive resolution’ in Vitality’s car insurance business increased by 53% in less than 12 months. Several key ‘ease of business’ metrics also improved. This is according to data derived from the VoC platform. Vitality won multiple customer service awards – including Gold for CX Team of the Year in the 2021 CX Awards.

Vitality’s CX story is an important one for any organisation that wants to foster strong emotional connections with customers. A dedicated team which can drive results, coupled with the right technology, can help set organisations apart from the competition. As CX excellence will require ever-more intricate understanding from business leaders, Vitality’s winning formula serves as a blueprint for success.

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