Published September 5, 2022
Adopting a Customer-Centric Mindset to Deliver Positive Customer Experiences | Speaking with AGCS’s Ekaterina Mamonova
We sat down with Ekaterina Mamonova, Global Lead – Marketing and Customer Experience at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) to discuss how adopting a customer-centric mindset in all areas of an organisation is key to business success.
Tell us about your role at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.
AGCS is the Allianz centre of expertise for global business insurance and large corporate and speciality risks. Our business teams work with companies worldwide to create insurance solutions designed for specific industries and business challenges, supporting customers as diverse as the world’s largest consumer brands and tech companies to satellite operators, private pilots and even Hollywood stars.
The Global Customer Experience team is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives focused on Customer Centricity. I believe that in a highly competitive commercial insurance market, providing outstanding customer experience across the whole customer journey is one of the biggest opportunities for differentiation. We are working closely with all key functions across the business to ensure that AGCS is not only providing an excellent experience throughout the customer relationship lifecycle but is also communicating our value proposition to the market in a clear, consistent way helping AGCS become the insurer of choice for our valuable clients and broker partners.
What are the benefits of democratising data within organisations?
This is a very relevant topic for the vast majority of organisations in the Commercial Insurance space. Historically, data has always been in the hands of analysts and IT professionals and internal teams have very little access to it, despite the significant role that data plays in strategic product building and decision making. Democratising access to data within the company not only provides an opportunity to react to potential issues promptly but also helps with strategy, product development and service optimisation.
As more people of diverse expertise access data, the probability of identifying critical business insights is increased. When you empower people at all levels of an organisation with data, you give them the power to use it in their decision-making. Democratizing data leads to a data-driven and data-centric culture in the organisation, whereby decisions are made based on facts instead of gut instincts. It’s about moving from an “I think” foundation to an “I know” foundation.
What are your tips for adopting a customer-centric mindset to deliver positive customer experiences?
At AGCS, we see Customer Centricity as the ability to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. Customer centricity demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions related to the customer experience to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. With this, we are looking at three core areas: value creation, value delivery and value capture.
Value creation needs to evolve into value co-creation, involving customers in designing interactions and products. From the adoption perspective, we must go from the product to the service making sure how the customer feels when they use our products or services is our top priority.
Customer empathy is key to creating positive customer experiences, something that strongly resonates with our values at AGCS. We’re looking to build and maintain honest, continuous and mutually beneficial partnerships and make sure that we are a trusted carrier of choice for our clients and broker partners.
Research across multiple industries has identified that customer focus leads to better performance and being customer-led produces the most competitive performance. I feel that this isn’t surprising as beliefs matter when they are genuinely held, they determine everyday actions, priorities, policies and procedures. Our beliefs as an organisation allow us to offer the best value to our customers, based on expertise and a solutions-driven approach and relationship.
How can we successfully align EX with CX while embedding the values of customer-centricity?
The balance between high-quality CX and EX is crucial, it’s difficult for one to be optimal without the other. Brands seeking to build a customer-centric culture are focusing on more than just customers. There are multiple studies indicating that high employee engagement is linked to higher profits, higher sales and, ultimately, higher customer satisfaction.
Interactions with brands in our daily lives have impacted the quality of experiences that we expect. With information transparency and ease of access, products and services commoditise rather quickly, this is where CX provides differentiation. As customers, we want personalised, convenient and timely interactions and from the business perspective, employees are also looking for simple, seamless and improved ways of engagement with the organisation and with the customer.
The same is true for EX. Exceptional EX is about giving colleagues across the business a set of options that will help them achieve their full potential and drive business value. This is what we are striving to achieve at AGCS, it is critical in the current war for talent in the insurance industry. We know that if a business cares for its people and they feel empowered they will, in turn, care for the customer. The main underlying principle of customer experience is the principle of empathy and the “Employee” part of the equation is key here. If you don’t get it right for your people, they won’t get it right for your customer.
One of the success factors in our industry is understanding the client’s business, getting a 360-degree customer view, and providing tailored solutions to give our customers peace of mind. Understanding the challenges that risk managers are facing, how we can support our broker partners in delivering messages around our capabilities and also making sure that we have a robust data-driven model related to risks and opportunities for our clients. The “human” element is fundamental here and its impact will only strengthen as the industry continues to evolve.