‘Being customer-centric means different things to different people’
Interview with Prudential’s Chief Customer, Marketing and Digital Officer on the importance of shifting from product-centricity to customer-centricity.
Angela Hunter is the Chief Customer, Marketing and Digital Officer for Prudential Assurance Company Singapore. In this interview with host Seth Adler for CX Network’s podcast theatre, she discusses coming into the product-centric Prudential and shifting the focus to customer-centricity.
With a background in marketing, her focus has always been on the customer. However as she joined the company as a CMO, her job title changed over time to include the crucial ‘customer’ aspects as well which helps to emphasise her focus area to wider business.
“Being customer-centric means different things to different people and journey mapping is a great way of engaging the whole organisation in putting a mirror to your organisation as to how well you deliver that experience across all the touch points.”
1. What is customer-centricity?
“Being more customer-centric means you need to be able to map customer journeys, being more customer-centric means you need to implement new measurement systems and not just focus on an annual survey, being more customer-centric means that you need to understand how you can implement segmentation and lifecycle management – and we didn't have anyone in the company that had those skills.
“You need to identify that that is a skill and that you need people that are experienced to do it. Some of it we brought in short term consultants who had specific expertise whilst we recruited, and we specifically went and found people who had done it before in other industries, not life insurance.
“The point there is accelerating the quick wins, so I didn't wait six months until I had my full team on board to be able to get some quick wins.”
2. Bringing customer-centricity to Prudential
“I started my career in marketing so the customer-centricity piece, and bringing together what customers want with what companies have to offer, and creating that kind of proposition.
“From a career point of view that was always there for me, and I've done CEO roles and Managing Director roles and different roles but that's always stayed with me and always put me in good stead to be able to help teams and organisations be successful. So coming into Prudential as the Chief Marketing Officer and the focus was very much on product and how we support the distribution of sell more, was an interesting shift.
“You need the right person at the C-level who gets it, regardless of whether they get it straight away or whether you have to educate them, the ability to tell the story, why it's important and what it's going to do for the organisation can create a sense of excitement about it.
“Businesses are always looking to grow, whether it's focus on share price, growth or profitability, there's always some opportunity there. So if you can link the business opportunity to why being more customer-centric is important, you’ll get the executive team including the CFO and the CEO.
“The magic bean is being able to link being more customer-centric with specific initiatives and then specific metrics that are going to turn into money. At the end of the day, those are the things that are going to get you there.”
3. The shift from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Customer Officer
“Generally we would have assumed that being the Chief Marketing Officer meant you were customer-centric. But it wasn't about whether I got it or whether my team got it, it was really more about whether the broader business got it.
“And the symbolism of saying we're going to change from being product and distribution centric to being customer-centric, having someone senior at the chief level with the word ‘customer’ in the title was really significant in terms of the lens that we put over everything we do as an organisation.
“And to a degree we gave permission to ask the question at every opportunity: is this being customer-centric? Is this the right thing to do for the customer? Are we thinking about our customers when we're doing this?”