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Extreme customer orientation in insurance

In 2010 Gjensidige embarked on an organisation-wide customer-centricity programme to transform their business. Livework has been a key partner in this initiative, working with them on over 40 projects that have helped to turn their business around.

Getting out of the ‘race to the bottom’.

Insurance is a complex and highly regulated sector. Comparison websites and other switching services have created a battlefield where it seemed like the only way to win new customers was by being cheaper.

Gjensidige decided to start playing a completely new game: They wanted to differentiate themselves from the competition by providing a far superior service designed around customer needs.

No one wants to buy insurance – they want to feel safe.

In order to shift the focus from products to service, you need to get detailed insights from customers. We do this by going out and talking to people about their lives. Our expertise in gathering, interpreting and designing services in response to customer insights is one reason why we worked with Gjensidige for so long. Since 2009, Gjensidige has implemented 183 projects aimed at simplification, organisational culture, service experience and efficiency.

Our work together covered a wide range of challenges including:

  • Designing insurance contracts to be simpler and easier to understand.
  • Creating ‘the perfect start’ experience for new customers.
  • Re-thinking high street branches to be advice and consultation centres.
  • Developing new insurance products such as a basic insurance package.
  • Launching a new combined current account and insurance offer for young people.
Service Principles
10 underlying principles to keep customer needs central.

Underpinning all the work were 10 key principles that make respect for customers a core belief. The first one was ‘Always assume the customer is telling the truth’. These went up on the wall in all the company offices and transformed the approach at a base level.

For instance, we re-trained call centre staff to ditch prepared scripts and listen to customers. When people call to make insurance claims it’s usually because something bad has happened – a theft, fire or accident. A simple adjustment, such as offering sympathy before proceeding to ask for details like the policy number, does wonders to developing a relationship. It benefits both the customer and the staff – empowering them to use their initiative and warmth to respond in a human way.

From 56th to 11th in customer satisfaction ranking in 4 years.

Betting on customer orientation as a key business strategy was a winning decision for Gjensidige. In just four years, customer satisfaction showed an extremely positive trajectory. Call centre sales per call almost doubled and churn rates saw a dramatic decrease. On the Norwegian Customer Satisfaction Barometer, the company jumped from number 77 in 2009 to number 11 in 2013, positioning the company as a leader in customer experience.

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Fred Montijn Lead Service Designer

As a service designer and project lead with 20+ years of experience in creative industries, I contribute a great deal of expertise to client projects and to our team. In our projects I love to bridge the micro – people scale, and the macro – strategy scale of things, zooming in and out to focus on details and the bigger picture.

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