Release date: 3rd January 2021
The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Dr. Heike Wiegand.
Heike speaks about her view on digitization and customer experience in the insurance practice. Additionally she shares her thoughts on the future of the consulting business.
Thank you Heike – it was a great pleasure!
#customerexperience #employeeexperience #digitization #leadership
Gregorio Uglioni 0:05
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second episode of CX idea. I am really glad to have your Heike Wiegand a partner at KPMG. And perhaps Ik, you can introduce yourself, explain what you’re doing, and welcome and thank you very much for being here.
Heike Wiegand 0:22
Good morning, Greg. It’s a pleasure for me to join this call. And I’m pleased to answer your questions. Yeah, my name is Heike Wiegand, I’m partner with KPMG in Zurich for insurance, consulting, KPMG cards, that advisory insurance, my favorite topics are customer experience, and still straight through processing. So that means in the end, it’s, it’s about process optimization. And when I say here, customer experience, I really do not mean chatbots, and robots and digital onboarding, and all that stuff. But it’s more about a rather good experience and the moment of truth when the customer knows, notices a claim, and then the following settlements. So as I said, I’m in the insurance business, and there, it’s all about settling claims, and not buying a cool product.
Gregorio Uglioni 1:17
Thank you. Okay, and thank you for the introduction. I think your job is quite difficult. We are speaking now about quite a lot of social distancing, you perhaps you cannot go to the customer, to your clients and discuss with them. What are the main challenges that you are facing do during this period of social distancing?
Heike Wiegand 1:36
Yeah, it’s very difficult. And in particular, the last three or four months were very difficult, because as you mentioned, already, we were not able to meet our clients in person. Of course, video cards, conferences, and everything would work quite well, even my company, it accelerated that experience. Let’s call it like that. But video cause, of course, only partly a good alternative. In my case, for example, I’m rather new to this company. And if you haven’t met a client, before, in person, it is very difficult, or you don’t do that to have the first meeting online. That was for me the biggest challenge. Otherwise, it’s possible to do a lot online, but not meeting clients in such a business. I mean, consiting is people business, it’s not producing something. This is still a big challenge for us.
Gregorio Uglioni 2:33
Thank you. I can, I was a former consultant at Accenture. And I think it’s really extremely difficult. Our will change the service model of consulting firm advisory firms. If you cannot be with the client together with the client, discussing with them, what’s your view on that?
Heike Wiegand 2:53
I’m sure that this will change in the future because now we experienced that it is working home office works video conferencing and all that works. Probably we will not travel so much in the future anymore. And you can also do projects in a virtual environment and with virtual teams. And I mean, this is something we are practicing for quite some time when it comes about AGI working Scrum and all that. I mean, I think this is the best foundation to work work in such an environment. But parts of project work, of course are difficult to do online. And if you don’t see the people in person and can work together and have brainstorming together, brainstorming online is always a bit different than in person. And that will influence the consulting business, I’m sure and I I mean, we are also doing auditing and not only consulting KPMG as an auditor, and I also would assume that this has an influence of auditing of the auditing work. I assume that automation here will accelerate in the next couple of years or maybe all already in the next couple of months. So maybe just add one our experience is that partly the the productivity was higher or is higher if you work remotely because you don’t waste your time traveling and commuting. But on the other hand, there are also some disadvantages of course.
Gregorio Uglioni 4:22
Thank you. Thank you for the great answer. You said something that came to my mind productivity and I know you as lady with a lot of energy, doing quite a lot of stuff discussing being EARRIN there. I think your schedule is quite tight as a partner of KPMG How are you ensuring your work life balance? What are your hobbies what you are doing outside of your daily job?
Heike Wiegand 4:51
Um, that’s a good question. And I experienced that in the last nine to 10 months. I mean there you have a lot of flexibility as a Consultant and I’m enjoying that maybe I have to admit it’s on a higher level. Yeah, if you status concert, and if you’re on project that varies, but if you are on a partner level and you do a lot of acquisition and other work, not just working on projects, you have a lot of flexibility and what I really enjoy this, this is not a nine to five job. There’s a lot of work you can do at other hours, and you don’t need anybody you can do it at home or wherever you are. And that allows you to give you the right balance. And for me, it’s all about self organizing, and time management. And it’s about setting priorities. And if you can, if you are able to manage yourself, then it’s really easy to keep this work life balance. But of course, it always helps if you like your job. And it’s easier to keep this balance, of course.
Gregorio Uglioni 5:53
Thank you. I think we have also the first tweetable moment with what you said, keeping yourself motivated, enjoy your your job. That’s that’s extremely important. And perhaps going back to job your daily work today during this COVID crisis and so on, what are your clients looking for?
Heike Wiegand 6:17
Of course, since this was a test, nobody was really prepared or it came suddenly, it’s still about the topics around business resiliency and business continuity management in times of crisis. So I assume that automation and digitalization will continue and will also accelerate, because a lot of companies now saw their gaps, areas where they have to improve. And I would guess that this is the first priority in the next couple of months they are working on. And in general, when it comes to the insurance business here in Switzerland, but also in other countries, everybody’s facing the problems with the low interest rates, they will stay or remain for I would expect for quite some time. So it’s still in this business. It’s about harvesting efficiency gains and to reduce costs to improve the combined ratio and remain competitive.
Gregorio Uglioni 7:25
Thank you. Okay. You mentioned some topics that are really interesting. And perhaps we can share a bit more with with the with the audience. You spoke about automation, digitalization at the beginning, you spoke about customer experience, our deal, these still buzzwords that everybody speaking really about? Or are really company Insurance insurance company committed to continue this journey and to invest in this type of automation, digitalization. Also in order to improve increase customer experience?
Heike Wiegand 7:58
That’s a very good question. And Greg, you know, me, I’m always very honest and say what I think. And as a consultant, maybe I shouldn’t say that. But from my point of view, there’s a lot of bullshit bingo around. I mean, it’s a hype. And I’ve been many hypes before. So this is for me another one. So I’m sorry to say that, but you have to go along with a nonsense, otherwise, your shareholder or even worse, the analysts don’t find your hip anymore. So I think that’s the pressure more or less from the outside. It’s not, I would say, here in Switzerland, it doesn’t come from the customer directly, but you have to tell a cool story. And therefore you have to use some of these words, in your reports and in on your investors days, and stuff like that. But I think most of these topics are really not you they have another, we call it now in a different way. And it’s there are a lot, there’s a lot of there are a lot of passwords around.
Gregorio Uglioni 9:01
Thank you. Okay. And also thank you for being really open and explaining what you think and not reading something that KPMG told you to say. It’s I think, I love your your answer. Perhaps the next one, it’s about if we speak about customer experience customer needs. And on the market, there is quite a lot of discussion around creating customer centric experience. What’s your view on these topics? Do you see in the market, a shift into this direction being reached really customer centric?
Heike Wiegand 9:37
Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, it’s a big topic currently. And honestly, I’m here on this once again, I don’t understand why we supposedly discovered the client only in the year 2020 Or maybe a couple of years ago. Since I come or in my former life, I worked for Allianz Insurance. I was already surprised 10 years ago when they put the client in to the center of their thinking, and I thought, oh my god who was in the center before. But So honestly, I mean, you always need customers, you are not doing your service, or you don’t sell a product, because just you like to produce it and you like it. So I think the customer was, of course, very important even in former times, but currently, the customer is more mature, let’s call it like that. So, for me customer experience is also a little bit overhyped. Yeah. For me, a good example, is Red Bull, which entered the market already 1987 When the term customer experience did not even exist, but what was the whole story? Or is this whole story about, it’s telling the customer that you get wings if you drink this sugar bubbly, so it’s about a drinking experience the customer has, the two guys did not intend to simply quench the thirst. So I think it was also informed at times about customer centricity. But now the last couple of years, I would say last, maybe five years. This topic also experiences a certain hype for whatever reason. And it also addressed now the insurance industry, which is usually not the first mover.
Gregorio Uglioni 11:25
Thank you, Heike. I think this is really important that what you are saying, customer experience, at the end, it’s not really new. Because if you really think about it, at the end, the customer are paying our salaries, my salary, your salary, and so on. Therefore, my question would be, why is customer experience so important in this period of time with COVID, but also with all these opportunities for the customer to compare different products to compare different experience? What’s your view on that?
Heike Wiegand 12:00
As I said before, the customer today is more mature, as I would call it. So he has a lot of possibilities to compare products, as you mentioned, he’s Yeah, he better understands what he’s buying. And former times that when it comes to insurance, it was very difficult to compare insurance policies. And I mean, the insurance companies, they did it on purpose that you do not understand what you sign. But meanwhile, you have a lot of calm portals where you can can compare and you can compare prices and all that. So that puts the customer he has no better position. And he Yeah, he has the choice, what he wants to buy. And then of course, the competition is still recommended in the insurance business here in Switzerland, as well as in other countries. But he has the choice. And he can, I wouldn’t say that he has so much power, but he has more power than he had in the past. And that’s why this topic or why the customer becomes more important.
Gregorio Uglioni 13:06
Thank you very much. It was again, really clear explanation that customers experience in future will be really, really important independently and independently in which industry we are working. I think we are now approaching the end. I don’t want to, to get too many time from from your scheduled from your schedule. And perhaps the last question or second last question I would have is, if people want to get in contact with you, I really like all the papers that you are publishing in LinkedIn, how it’s possible to contact you and keep in touch with you.
Heike Wiegand 13:45
Of course, you can get in touch with me via my email address you find on the KPMG portal, but I am personally very active on LinkedIn. This is rather new I wasn’t in former times. This is for two reasons. One reason is we get points if we are very active there. And the other reason is that there’s a lot of research material from KPMG which is not confidential which is not internal. So which is or which has is created for our clients. And I have now the access to all that material globally. KPMG global and there’s a lot of very good research very, very good studies, which I really like. So I published them because it’s for free, so why not share them?
Gregorio Uglioni 14:25
Thank you very much. I think sharing is caring about other people and that’s very, very important. What’s the last book that you read? Or what would you If we speak about vacation perhaps you read one book What’s What would you share with the audience?
Heike Wiegand 14:43
Um, yeah, that’s also something I’m not sure if I shouldn’t share that but I as I’m honest I share it with you and you might be shocked. The last book I read the last couple of weeks was cola Kona feel alarm in English, it’s false alarm. It shows statistical correlation. and interprets then it’s about Germany, the statistics in Germany. And of course, the the interpretation is, is a bit different from what politicians and virologists and the mainstream media say, and said in the past and still do. So I read that book in. No, I did mention I’m economist, I studied political economy. So I also enjoyed a couple of years ago, many semester statistics. And the first you learn on your first day, and statistics is never trust any statistic you haven’t faked yourself. And this is still my credo. And that’s why I like to follow up what the real figures say and what you got told, publicly.
Gregorio Uglioni 15:48
Thank you, I can I really appreciate that we work together several years ago. And you gave me once a book about statistics and one of the sentence was in there. I think it’s great that you are repeating that, and this is my very, very last questions. And do you have still one insights towards something that you want to share with the audience as your last thoughts of this webinar discussion?
Heike Wiegand 16:14
Yes, what I would like to share. So as I said, I’m on a, let’s put it like that, most of my working life, I work on the client side and not in consulting. So I worked on in the insurance industry many, many for many, many years. And so what I would like to share with the audience is that don’t let people who have not worked a single day in an insurance company tell you how you have to do your business.
Gregorio Uglioni 16:46
That’s really a great sentence. Thank you very much. I care for this discussion. It was great to have you and to get some of your time. And also to the audience. Thank you very, thank you very much for being here. And being part of this second episode. It was really great to be with you. Thank you very much! Grazie Mille & Arrivederci!
Heike Wiegand 17:07
thank you and bye – and have a good day. Ciao.
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