Being recognised in this way is further evidence Standard Life is progressing towards being a customer driven retail business, and gives us enormous confidence that we can achieve our strategic vision. Winning the award ahead of major brands we traditionally compete against as well as major players from other industries is terrific external recognition of the work our team are doing. Our success is down to the endeavour of many people across the organisation working together to embed a customer-led culture.

We set up our dedicated Customer Experience department in early 2013, and have recently been awarded for our approach to insight. Experience measurement and actionable insight play a key role key role in empowering customer led decision making across our business. Here are the four big steps on our journey:

Step1: Measuring. Accurate and consistent measurement of customer experiences allowed us to give our customers a voice on every channel. We researched various experience metrics for relevance to our business and our customers and decided against continuing with satisfaction in the new framework. Historically we had collected satisfaction metrics and the numbers had proved stubborn. Our analysis had been unable to detect a strong correlation between satisfaction and identifiable customer outcomes.

We focused instead on a combination of metrics: Easy – how easy we make it for customers to get what they need, First Time Resolution (FTR) and Net Promoter Score (NPS). The three are intrinsically linked; FTR means an experience is likely to be easy. Being easy means, the customer is more likely to think well of our brand and share their experiences.

We started measuring on the phone channel, quickly expanding to the digital experiences over the first 6 months. The measurement roll out was supported by an intense engagement effort – across the whole business. Giving our customers a voice had really started to open our eyes to what they thought and felt about their experience. We started to piece together how we could make things better for them.

Step 2: Getting Personal. We introduced a new element to our collection methodology – capturing unique customer ID’s automatically. This enabled us to link our customers’ experience to key journey definers such as Customer Persona. This really brought colour to the picture.

So great progress in our first 6 months, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. Our new approach initially relied on having colleagues ask customers for feedback – a new and often daunting experience for many. Shaping our propositions with customer feedback was also a new concept to some within the business.

Getting a traditional financial services work force to buy into a programme like ours wasn’t straight forward. It didn’t help that the backdrop to our efforts was unprecedented transitional and cultural change within both our business, and our industry.

We certainly had set backs. For one, capturing the unique ID at the point of survey takes time, not much but it still affects the length of calls. Selling the value of looking beyond Average Handle Time (AHT) and other traditional contact centre metrics wasn’t easy. We also had to work incredibly hard to build trust in our Voice of the Customer (VOC) data, so it became a valid resource for business decision making.

By initially operating as a pilot programme and dedicating significant resources to collaboration and stakeholder relationships – we slowly built the confidence in our approach across the business. Six months in, we were ready to make the next step.

Step 3: Next level analysis.The individual customer level analysis we could do through the unique ID meant we could tell clear stories not just of what customers were saying, but when and in many cases why. By linking our customer data to our customer feedback we are now, for example, able to understand how and why each of our customer personas contact us, and what they think about the experience. It isn’t hard to imagine the transformative effect this is having on our business and how we make decisions.

Step 4: Insight into action. Tangibly improving experiences with negative feedback, and learning from those, which were consistently positive. For example, our insight told us two of our personas really wanted to easily bring all their pensions together, but felt our existing phone journey took far too long. So working with customers from that group, we designed a new online journey, which took the initial set up time from 20 minutes to 5 and meant full control for the customer. The results have been encouraging.

Four steps to success: Accurately measuring the right things, getting to individual customer level, taking our analysis to new depths and committing to turning our insights into tangible change. So is it working? Touch point NPS has increased 25% and Effort scores are up 10% in 12 months. There’s still a lot to do – but we know our method works and our colleagues trust us.

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