Talking business with our customers

What happened when real customers were invited to join RSA's personal lines board meeting? Andrew Selman explains

From our earliest days, operating from a London coffee house over 300 years ago, giving customers excellent, trusted and personalised service has been at the heart of RSA’s business strategy.

Following in that stead, in 2011 RSA was the first big UK insurer to make Net Promotor Scores (NPS) – a measurement of customer satisfaction and advocacy – a key performance metric for our business in the UK.

This important strategic decision, taken by the UK Exec Team, was founded on the strongly-held, but as yet untested, belief that making our customers happy would translate into sustainable business growth.

I lead RSA’s insight team in the UK and it was our job to make sure that we could measure NPS in the level of detail we needed and correlate it against other operational metrics to prove (or disprove) that core belief.

Industry recognition: Customer Experience Champion Award

Last week, an award from customer experience consultancy, Clarabridge, recognised some of the work we’ve been doing in this area. The Customer Experience Champion Award is given to ‘a company that has made a corporate shift to elevate customer experience to a top-tier business strategy'.

The judges looked at the measurement frameworks we set up and how we're using them to extract insights to help us make our products and services better for customers.

One of the customer engagement activities that they cited was when we invited real customers to join a meeting of our personal lines board. Ten customers from around the UK – advocates and detractors – shared their views about insurance, what motivates them to choose or reject a particular insurer.

Getting face-to-face with customers

Everyone involved fed back that it was an incredibly positive experience – but that’s not to say that all of the feedback was positive! We were particularly careful to have an even split of customers who’d had positive and negative experiences of RSA and that really came through in the discussions.

“Negotiation is not something I want to do. Why can’t you just give me the best price? I just want a price I know is competitive and I know is fair!”

“We suffered a leak from a pipe. My initial reaction was panic. The lady I spoke to first wasn’t calm – she asked too many questions – but the assessor who called was really helpful.”

You can bring as many graphs, facts and figures as you like into a board meeting, but nothing beats having a real customer look you in the eye while telling you the sorts of things that determine their view of RSA and drive their purchasing decisions. It was an extremely effective way of pushing customer experience onto our leadership team’s agenda and make sure that it stays there.

Keeping our customers high on the agenda

Twelve months on, our customers continue to rank highly on the agenda for the board members who attended. 

While it was initially pitched as a one-off session, getting our customers directly involved in operating strategy discussions is something we’re committed to doing more of. We’ve started involving customers in other internal forums – inviting active promoters and detractors of RSA to be guests on our internal social network for an hour or two, so that anyone in our company ask them a question and get an honest view.

I’m delighted by the Clarabridge Customer Experience award because it recognises the cumulative effect of actions from many different teams flowing from the belief that driving customer advocacy would improve business results. Serving our customers well isn’t just a proven business model, but a strong unifying goal for everyone working at RSA.