Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NACCM 2010: Keeping it Real with Customers: Nationwide on your Side

Keeping it Real with Customers: Nationwide on your Side
Presented by Jasmine Green, Chief Customer Advocate, Office of Customer Advocacy, at NACCM 2010

Empower the front-line with empathy.

Initially born out of the CEO being tired of getting customer complaints, Nationwide started their journey by creating a single place to resolve customer issues. They were getting so much data, but being excellent at handling individual complaints wasn’t enough – Nationwide needed to get to root cause and something with this wealth of information. Some of the specific initiatives include:

o A “Top 5” report that is reviewed regularly at the executive level, providing the ability to drill into the major improvement opportunities.
o Nationwide now looks both at the Kudos and the Complaints, and also tie to employee feedback to be able to recognize employee performance and prioritize the right opportunities.
o They pass exactly what the customer says on to others in the organization: No filtering. Nationwide has found that the verbatim is critical – don’t water it down, making it more real.
o Jasmine has rolled out a comprehensive training program across all 32,000 associates for service recovery, and have shifted culture to one of respect internally that then is passed on to the customer. Empathy is emphasized – treat customers like your friend and make them feel special.
They recognize that their front-line associates are critical to providing an excellent customer experience, and therefore Jasmine view her responsibility as being on the job 24×7, not 9:00a to 5:00p. Measuring employee engagement is a big part of making it work, and correspondingly they also increased accountability of the front-line and further empowerment.

Key to their success has been the ability to tie improvements to the bottom line and show the business benefit (ROI) for various initiatives. Focusing on retention has made them able to establish the ROI for everything they do.

[This blog posted by Steve Bernstein of Waypoint Group, and cross-posted on the Customer Insight = Revenue blog]

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