A summary of our visit to AA Insurance, Newcastle

8th February 2017

Our February member visit was recently hosted in Newcastle by AA Insurance.

The team shared their approach to both Customer Retention and their journey of change to continuously improve their customer journey  

The visit opened with an overview of the operational site that handles the sales, service and retention of Motor and Home Insurance products. A journey that started in 1967 in Newcastle and currently handles in excess of 2m calls per annum. The AA, launched in 1905, is actively working to retain its current customer base by ensuring the insurance product is meeting every customer need

With the removal of scripts and the move to a “conversation with the customer “ the AA are happy to report they are enjoying their best customer outcomes.  Introduction of a balanced business scorecard teamed with advisor incentives the AA are rewarding their people financially “based on the results NOT hitting productivity targets -  “an empowered approach to customer service that epitomizes their recently added ‘Courtesy & Care’ values that now sit comfortably alongside the established motto for their customers of being  ‘Always on Patrol ‘.With an impressive plan of developments for 2017 that includes reducing attrition through their culture and engagement programme and the continuation of  path to modernisation the team explained that their next challenge is the reduction of customer handoffs, one they intend to tackle head on .

In a presentation that outlined the opportunities that were there to be explored in a combination of the people, culture and appetite for change the retention team explained that they felt that hard targets had previously been driving bad customer service. Observations showed that towards the end of each month the advisor’s behaviors changed in order to hit the target NOT service the customers  - hard targets were certainly found to not give the customer experience they desired.

In a hugely collaborative environment where the principles were based on openness, trust and sometimes sheer determination to deliver a plan to ‘Remove the Blockers’ is showing great end results with a clear reduction in AHT and an impressive improvement in retention mirrored by improved CSAT and NPS scores. With an evident love of the letter ‘C’ the team shared lessons learned on Customer, Culture, Collaboration, Commerciality, Communication, Change and Champion “(Remember to tell everyone how good it is!)

The presentation was followed by an active roundtable Q&A session where a number of members were keen to explore in more detail the practical support activities that embedded the new process and approaches.

The AA team expanded on how the introduction of team coaches was showing benefits across the board and a selective approach to who worked in what teams (centres of excellence) has resulted in a far greater level of engagement from team members. General discussion on leadership, the difference a good leader makes to successful businesses was affirmed followed by the ever present AHT question (How to reduce it !!!) gave us some lively debate and interaction. 

A great day and exactly what we aim to achieve at the CCMA events -  best practice, networking and a sharing of information that benefits us all. 

Top 5 Takeaways  

  1. A new customer is NEVER better than keeping an existing one 
  2. Take your culture and build on it, rather than trying to change it
  3. Give your CSAT comments back to the advisor. Direct feedback to the advisor from the customer, allowing them to see the customer view on the contact they handled be it ‘Good, Bad, Ugly ‘has a huge impact and drives improvements
  4. Never underestimate the power of a gesture – A Birthday card and £10 voucher goes a long way to include and recognise your staff
  5. Great leadership from good people is always key to a successful business !