CXM Interview with David Wright, CMO of Police Mutual on their cooperation with Avanade UK and the impact of the partnership on their business
CXM: What was the decisive point for choosing Avanade UK for partnership? What did the process look like?
David: In terms of our background, Police Mutual has been around for about 140 years with the largest affinity based in UK, but if I go back 5 or 6 years ago, we were quite a single product company. We’ve always been owned by, and ultimately run by, the police service and we support the service in a number of ways, for instance with access to low entry low cost regular savings plan which has been the backbone of our business. We were faced with the challenge that, to stay in the business, we need to grow in order to cover the increasing costs.
We developed over recent years a number of digital income streams based around general insurance saving investment health care mortgages and how we created it is a number of product silos because of this. The backdrop to our engagement with Avanade UK was superb. Firstly, our investment in technology has been very limited; we had a number of very old systems. And secondly, having to fix the roof so to speak, we asked ourselves how can we move much further to give our customers a much more integrated and holistic experience. Such to understand who they are, what their products holdings are etc. Something that would allow us to deliver to our customers, who are all members of our society, a much better member experience and a much integrated offering with all our products and services. That was the backdrop to the engagement. In conversations with Avanade they were able to provide us with an end-to-end process. We were impressed by their experience in the industry and that certainly gave us a level of competence that making that initial decision to engage with Avanade would take us down the right road.
CXM: As you are the provider of financial services for particular target group, how much is your CX different from the others?
David: A number of things characterized that. The first is that for whatever reason our brand has a phenomenally high standing in the police market. And the sort of thing that is characterized by is that we have incredibly high retention level. To compare it with general insurance, for instance, if you could retain 50% of your home and motor customers from last year, you were doing very well. This year, on both home and motor insurance our annual retention number went to 90%. That manifests itself in very high level of loyalty and trust. As the result of that, our members have a very high expectation and from an experience perspective, that we will know and understand them and anticipate their needs. And I think whilst we were focusing on one product, we could tell how many regular savings plan our member had, when they were started and what the stage they were at. However, we could do that in the old world, while in the new world of having lots of different products and services, systems and infrastructures, the challenge of the brand was to retain that high level and meet the high level of expectations without proper technology and infrastructure.
CXM: What about this changed infrastructure, how did that affect the Employee experience? Did you have to motivate and educate staff additionally?
David: It was quite a heavy investment in terms of development and training. However, in terms of the use of the CRM engine, I believe it fundamentally affected the way in which colleagues can both access the information and deliver some of the tasks.
What we were able to do after the improvements was extract the list of members and we were then able to be much more proactive historically. Apparently, we were not showcasing all our products and services to members. We live in a bizarre world where our members would be disappointed if we were not sharing more services and products we offer.
Having the data warehouse analytics capability that we bought actually gave our colleagues a greater understanding of our members and it led to richer conversation with them. We had bizarre scenarios in Police Mutual when members would call asking for home insurance; we would then also tell them about what we might be able to do for their motor insurance, and because of that, they would send us flowers because we could provide them with much more bespoke solutions. Frankly, in the world of financial services, that is not quite something we’re used to.
The other thing that had a significant impact on colleague engagement interaction is quite an internal one. As the business got more complex, we’ve acquired more products or more businesses in different locations.
We faced the challenge of time, face-to-face meetings etc. But having Microsoft Lync allowed us to be much more flexible and productive, to have meetings within teams or outside teams and dial-in experts when we need them. Overall, our level of productivity is quite hard to quantify, but we’re certainly getting closer internally, which will ultimately lead to a better customer experience.
CXM: How do you see the future of customer experience? Can you predict some shifts in customer experience?
David: We have witnessed a significant shift in last couple of years and we had to put some basics in place to follow it. And we’ve already seen the benefits of that. But I have to say I’m pretty excited that this is just the beginning. Not everyone knows what range of services we offer.
Therefore the technology, our CRM, our data warehouse, our analytical capability that we embed in our organization will lead to a much deeper customer relationship. We’ll witness the scenario where our cross-product holding will increase significantly. All in all, I think it will be quite an exciting journey.
CXM: Thank you, we wish you to keep receiving flowers from your clients.
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CMO of Police Mutual
David gained a wealth of sales and marketing experience in the consumer goods industry before joining Lloyds TSB as a Divisional Director in 1997. Following time as a management consultant, where he led a number of marketing change programmes, David held a number of senior management roles at Aviva plc. He joined Police Mutual as Marketing Director in 2010 and was appointed to the Managing Board in August 2013.