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Customer centricity in practice



Customer centricity plays a central role in the survival of modern businesses across every sector and industry. It has never been easier for consumers and potential clients to research a business and its offering, discover reviews, and share recommendations online.

However, customer-centricity has been a buzzword in business for a long time. On top of that, it is probably fair to say that most business leaders will disengage at the mention of it – that is, unless some tangible and perhaps novel ideas are also presented around how it can be brought to life. So, this is my humble take on how our industry can take concrete strides to become more customer-centric.

Get agile 

Firstly, there is an opportunity for insurers to adopt and scale Agile in their businesses, thereby bringing the company closer to the customer and delivering customer value much faster. Research from McKinsey & Company on insurers around the globe suggests that Agile insurers deliver around 20 to 30 percentage point improvements in terms of the customer satisfaction score.

Leverage data

Another way in which I believe we can become more customer-centric is by leveraging insights better. I believe this is something that we, as an industry, should strive to perfect. The IQbusiness State of Agile report solicited responses from 278 agilists, who naturally understand the value of customer-centricity and customer insights. Surprisingly, only 28% of respondents indicated that it was easy for them to engage customers directly to obtain feedback, while a mere 26% of them indicated that they have access to customer insights reports. When insights are made available, 57% believe they come too late in the process. Finally, 56% of respondents felt that the solutions they were building weren’t validated by customer feedback. The point I want to bring across is that if we don’t have customer insights right, then we are missing a fundamental pillar in our quest to deliver value to clients in the shortest possible time.

Embrace digital

Digital advancements in our industry have taken place at a rapid pace since the pandemic, and we expect this trend to intensify. While we unlock different customer experiences through digital, let’s also be mindful of the big data opportunities that these digital innovations will bring. Many insurers have launched telematics solutions, using different technologies, including the Internet of things (IoT). Some are even providing panic assistance through smartphone applications. Apart from unlocking better client experiences, these innovations can also support us in our quest for more individualised product development, if we are willing to leverage the data opportunities they bring.

Define your purpose

During my recent presentation at the FIA Advice Summit 2022, I expanded on the aspects that enable businesses to make the shift in organisational culture away from being target and deadline-driven to being driven by what will deliver the most value to the customer. A massive catalyst to this change in culture is, I believe, unlocked through the process of defining our purpose as an organisation. So, money and profits aside, why do we exist? Defining and embedding this purpose organisation-wide has the propensity to drive a shift in organisational culture that ultimately benefits the customer, and in many instances, society at large. As many would know, this approach was pioneered by the leadership guru, Simon Sinek.

Ultimately, customer-centricity must evolve from a buzz word to something far more tangible in the lived experience of employees and organisations if the original vision behind the buzzword is to be realised.