In Europe, only one third of customers trust their insurance company. Yet, Norwegian insurer Gjensidige has some of the most satisfied customers in the country regardless of industry. In a transformation unheard of in insurance, the company jumped from 56th to 11th place in customer ratings in only four years.
A six year partnership to transform services
How did they do it? The answer lies in long-term commitment to what Gjensidige call “extreme customer orientation”. The effort requires dedicated leadership and transformation across services and the brand. Livework has given continual support to the process in a six-year partnership with Gjensidige.
Change is hard for successful businesses
The best-known case studies for customer experience excellence describe young organisations. These are companies designed around the customer experience from day one.
However, the majority of market leading businesses have been around for a while. They don’t enjoy the advantage of starting from scratch. When they embark on a journey towards customer centricity they also face the challenge of transforming complex organisations that are set in old, internally focussed ways. Success depends on the entire organisation being engaged.
Complete dedication to customer orientation
Transforming a 150-year old insurance firm into the most customer-centric financial company in the Nordics is by no means a simple task.
In 2008, Livework helped support the foundation for change. Gjensidige challenged us to show the business what an ideal insurance service would look like seen through customers’ eyes. It demonstrated how giving customers a stronger voice in the organisation could enable radical solutions for the business.
In 2009, Gjensidige initiated an internal change programme named “Extreme Customer Orientation”. This was a bold and challenging statement for many, but left no doubt that management was completely dedicated to customer excellence. Every member of the organisation would have to play a role.
"Livework has played a significant part in helping us see our organisation through customers’ eyes. It's good for our customers, and it’s good for Gjensidige"
The first step towards becoming a truly customer oriented insurance company was removing any detail that could irritate customers. Gjensidige implemented 183 improvements to the service experience over two years. Some were small fixes; others required significant re-thinking of how services were delivered.
For example, Livework helped Gjensidige look at their claims process from a customer point of view. It turned our there were a number of unexploited opportunities for Gjensidige to help customers in a difficult situation beyond paying for damage.
The results were not only significant to customers. The broad range of activities involved nearly every employee in the process, and set the organisation on a continual quest to create a better customer experience.
Transforming the brand internally
Delivering a great customer experience requires a keen sense of the company’s true identity. To boost this, the company launched an internal branding programme, “The Gjensidige experience” as framework for customer orientation. A comprehensive training programme established clear principles for all employees on how they should make a difference to customers.
In one case of making the brand tangible with staff, Livework helped design new interfaces and procedures for call centre staff. The purpose was to enable dialogue with customers that truly reflected the core values of the brand.
Gjensidige went from 56th to 11th place in the Norwegian national customer satisfaction ratings across industries, an astounding position to take for an insurance company.
Transforming the brand externally
Combined with nearly 200 service improvements, this created a trustworthy platform for external brand renewal. In 2012 Gjensidige took the leap from a traditional corporate expression to an immediately identifiable, expressive, and colourful platform for telling human storiess. Gjensidige is now a true “service brand” – the brand is embedded in the service experience.
Evidence that counts
After four years of extreme customer orientation, Gjensidige now have the facts that to prove the value of their commitment. Numerous awards for customer experience excellency gives the company recognition.
More significantly, systematic measurements also prove the effects on the bottom line. The numbers prove that Gjensidige customers are more satisfied; they bring in new customers that stay loyal longer and spend more with a provider they trust.
Continuing Livework’s long-term collaboration with Gjensidige, we are now working together to use this knowledge to improve the customer experience and business value with surgical precision.
Between January 2011 and October 2013, the share value of Gjensidige nearly doubled.
Tangible results for customers and the business
There is not one simple recipe for the dramatic success that Gjensidige has created. What they have shown is how organisations with a long history and tradition can transform to true customer-centricity. The results are clear – both to customers and to the business.