Petplan on the power of letting the customers do the talking
Head of insights and CX at Petplan discusses how they have been capturing and actioning the voice of the customer to significantly boost customer satisfaction levels
Voice of customer initiative
In recent years the voice of customer has been a major area of focus for brands looking to improve customer experiences (CX) and get to grips with how their clients are feeling.
We sat down with Ingrid Wienholts, head of insights and CX at Petplan to hear about the innovative ways they approached their voice of customer initiative and the best CX metrics to use.
CX Network: Could you take us through a customer experience success story at Petplan?
Ingrid Wienholts: As a premium brand, one of Petplan’s main areas of focus is to deliver a differentiated value proposition for the customer. Continually reviewing and improving what we do is key to this. Our claims service delivery is the moment of truth for customers and when we pay out quickly, we find that NPS – our main metric for customer experience – increases. We pay 97 per cent of all claims received, and 90 per cent of claims are paid within five working days. So there are no golden eggs, as far we’re concerned. We turn over every stone and strive for excellence across every touch point.
We looked at the 10 per cent of customers that didn’t get their claim paid as quickly as we normally would pay; this translates into a great opportunity if you consider that we pay out about a million claims each year. We found for customers with claims that go beyond five days, this is often due to the need for further information from their vet and the opportunity for improvement is keeping them better informed of the status of their claim.
That is the feedback and insight we got from the voice of the customer platform. From that, we introduced several improvements to our claims communications. For example, we introduced SMS messages to customers updating them on the status of their claim, and with that small improvement, the impact on satisfaction was significant.
This is just one example of many small improvements we make, which all add up to a continuous improvement plan that keeps us ahead of our competition. That’s the game we’re in. We need to turn over every stone and strike excellence across every touch point so we continuously show value to our customers.
CX Network: With continuous improvement plans, prioritisation is key.
Ingrid Wienholts: Yes, with the voice of the customer program, we are actually now in a position to make informed decisions and identify those priorities because we have lots of data at our fingertips. It is much easier to identify the opportunities where we can improve.
CX Network: Do you have a golden rule regarding customer experience metrics?
Ingrid Wienholts: One challenge with voice of customer is that there is so much data that we could act upon, it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed. So we need to focus our efforts on key topics that align to our company strategy.
But we need to let the customers do the talking, we can’t assume that we know all the answers.
Our direction needs to be customer-led while aligning with company strategy.
For example, a key focus is digitalization. With Petplan, human touch is crucial, so we don’t want to digitalize the journey just to drive cost savings in a way that isn’t right for the customer. We need to make sure we design the journey and optimize it for the customer. To do this we need to understand when it is important for the customer to talk someone and when they want the convenience of online channels.
CX Network: How is Petplan actively capturing and actioning voice of the customer to improve customer experiences?
Ingrid Wienholts: We invite customers to provide feedback at a range of touch points, often at the end of a journey, whether that is a claim, policy purchase or policy cancellation. At the end of those journeys or touch points, we typically send off several questions to the customer asking for feedback regarding their experience.
NPS is a key measure for us, but we use other metrics as well because NPS isn’t the answer to everything and doesn’t always provide us with actionable feedback. What it does do is it gives us a good metric we can all rally behind and we report against as a key performance measure.
To capture feedback, we use different metrics like satisfaction alongside NPS. We look for changes and then we hunt for the root causes driving the movements and very often that leads to an opportunity for improvement.
For example, one group of customers we track is those whose pets have unfortunately passed away. That is clearly quite a sensitive group of customers for us to contact. It is a really important and emotional time in their lives, so it is crucial we deliver an excellent experience.
Our frontline team send out handwritten cards with forget-me-not seeds to those customers whose pets have died. Those customers really value that.
When we realized how much of a difference that made to customer experience, we made sure that all staff knew the importance of it. And even though it’s discretionary, we have rolled it out in a broader scope and, as a result, it has improved the empathy that we show to customers in those difficult moments.
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