(Replay) All about NPS and building long-lasting relationships with customers with Ana Maria Zumsteg – E5

Release date: 18. January 2021

CX Goalkeeper with Ana Maria Zumsteg is about NPS and building long-lasting relationships with customers Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

With more than 20 years of CX work at Zurich Insurance and experience in implementing CX measurement tools & understanding customers’ needs across 30+ countries, Ana Maria Zumsteg shared some of her top learnings.

Ana Maria implemented the NPS framework at Zurich Insurance as the enabler to build a long-lasting relationship with customers and employees. From the beginning, the clear goal was not to measure a KPI but impacting people and their life. The core of her work focuses on “building relationships with customers” and not on creating a measurement framework. CX is really about understanding the customers.

The KPI is only the cherry on top of the cake. There are three relevant drivers, which need to be properly understood:

· The brand’s perception,

· The value proposition (e.g., price) and

· The customer servicing

In particular, the customers’ feedbacks are really important to understand what is behind a relationship and how it is possible to build it in a positive way.

Ana Maria explains also how to leverage such a mindset: if you start working and implementing your vision, you should use some KPIs to measure ,where you are. By using KPIs such as NPS you can be faster at identify improvements. Gaining awareness and delivering on areas that really matter to the customer is key.

It could be possible that the NPS gets interpreted as a “control tool”. Therefore, it is important to ensure a proper understanding of it. For example by starting by sharing positive feedbacks, celebrating employees which are positively impacting people life helps making it understandable.

Also, the negative feedbacks could help to understand what customers think and quickly identify pain points. Additionally, not all changes with a strong positive impact on CX, require a financial investment. Sometimes, merely changing the messaging strategy or simple changes in the way processes took place had a tremendous and immediate impact on CX.

It is clear, that the NPS as a measurement shows some weaknesses. For example, the NPS values cannot be compared among different countries (American people rates differently than people from Germany).

The first discussion with Ana Maria ends with her interesting question.

· “Who are we really?”

· “Which roles are we taking in life?”

She states that everybody is covering different roles as in business as in the private life. Ana Maria is convinced that people should show their real personalities.

“Be who you are among these roles” and in front of challenges there are 2 choices: “start coping with the challenge or start crying”. … And it is clear which way people should take.

At the end, Ana Maria’s shares her GOLD NUGGET: “Decide who you are, live by your values, treat customers and employees by those values. When you look at yourself at the mirror, you should look free and happy.”

In relation to the NPS: “whatever you do, whatever framework you use, the real essence of a customer experience strategy is to build relationships. You build relationships with integrity, listening and accepting what you listen to.”

“Whatever you do, whatever framework you use, the real essence of a customer experience strategy is to build relationships. You build relationships with integrity, listening and accepting what you listen to.” Ana Maria Zumsteg on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

“Decide who you are, live by your values, treat customers and employees by those values. When you look at yourself at the mirror, you should look free and happy.” Ana Maria Zumsteg on the CX Goalkeeper

Ana Maria’s contact details are: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ana-maria-zumsteg/

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Gregorio Uglioni 0:05
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to CX idea by Greg, thank you very much for being here. Anna Maria is also with us. She’s really an interesting story. She has an in depth know about customer experience. But let’s start. I Ana Maria, how are you?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 0:22
Hi, how are you? Gregorio, thank you very much for inviting me to your session. That is, it’s great to be here.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:28
Thank you, Ana Maria, let’s please start with a short introduction. What you did, what was your job at Zurich Insurance? I know you will, since a while. But it’s really an interesting story.

Ana Maria Zumsteg 0:40
Sure, absolutely. I spent the last 22 years working for car insurance, and the last eight indeed in the area of customer centricity. And you’re sending me now back to memory line, it was towards September 2012. When my then boss, Gabor Danny and his boss, Isabelle Kerner, who were coming from ing and had a lot of experience in this area, asked me to join what was then a new project, they briefly explained me what it was about, which was indeed the implementation of NPS globally across our company. And I can tell you a little I knew the absolutely fascinating journey I was about to embark on. They actually hire the support of Bain and Company and also Medallia, and we work with them over months, just really setting up a baseline with available hypotheses on you know, what our customers strategy could look like. We tested these hypotheses across a few units. And, you know, the rest is history, we’ve been, we’ve successfully implemented not just the framework in this assumption, I really am thankful to them, because I learned that although the project was about implementing NPS, you know, the core of it was really building relationship with our customers and our employees as well. So it was not about a measurement tool. It was really about, you know, mine chief. And, you know, and I basically found my vocation I, I’ve really enjoyed this years, working with customers.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:29
And I clearly see that also how you’re speaking about that, with your laughing when you’re explained this, this, these things, and I think it’s really something important to have passion. And now speaking about what you said, more than 20 years in the same company, then it needs really, that you need to be passionate about what you’re doing to stay in the same company for so long time. Perhaps Could you share a bit of your thoughts why you stayed 20 years there?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 2:59
Yeah. Sure. You know, it’s kind of funny, because I recall when I was so for the first position, which was communications role in the global implementation of SAP, so financially was a communication not without a financial finance area. I kind of started insurance, you know, do I want to do this. But I tell you, looking back, it’s been exhilarating. 22 years, insurance is a fascinating industry. It has so many facets and so many different areas within that. And it has such an impact on society. So when I started to realize that we were actually about supporting people, supporting companies, you know, to continue doing what they do, and giving them trust. I really fell in love in the industry with the industry in the first place. I also joined Zurich at the time, they just became really global. They bought bat. And we were a relatively small team. Many of them has been working I RST working for the company. So we basically grew together, you know, we celebrated the successes of the company together, we went through some challenging times together. I probably spend more time with these people that I’ve done with any member of my family when you think about the traditional way of staying in the office 1012 hours a day. So they become my family, you know, and Siri has grown to be part of that family too. So I don’t know if that could be the case if you’re in a small company, but definitely I have had so many opportunities to learn to grow. It’s been fascinating. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Gregorio Uglioni 4:49
It’s great what what you’re saying and I think if I can rephrase that, what I really like is what you said impact impacting people. And a lot of people, and that, and this is what one of the values that we really share together. And therefore I really like to speak to with you to understand better what you’re doing. What’s your thoughts, this is one extremely important topic. And the second one is clear, it’s business aware, we are spending so much time together with other people, and that we want to create relationship not only with our customer, but also with our colleagues, in order to create something together, you mentioned something like family, I am also working in SMEs small medium enterprise since 10 years, and what effort to be there, and I really like our work together, and our progressing. But back to your because this is really important. You already were very positive. Also, when you’re speaking about that you’re extremely passionate. And now you left the company, what are your future plans?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 5:55
Um, well, that’s your you’re right, I am I am passionate, I am optimistic, but I am also realistic, you know, and I, I can see that we are our entire the world, our society, is in a difficult situation to the challenges placed by the pandemic, I believe that we are probably only at the beginning of what might be some challenging months, if not years. On the same token, I can see that governments are really keen on supporting companies to continue in business. So you know, we will see a situation, my point of view, in which get into is going to be relatively easy and cheap, if you want. But actually, finding, keeping and growing your customer base is going to be extremely important, indeed crucial to sustainability. And you know, just to existence. So I see people like yourself, like myself, you know, being of pivotal, really, to the success of companies. And I think the more we learn, you know, I said, I’ve had the pleasure to have the opportunity to implement this program across 34 countries. And, you know, we had over 100 broad programs, because we have different businesses. So I learn a lot. And I would really like to be able to share that knowledge that I gained with other companies and help them to either devise their strategy or review their current situation, I think a lot of people embark on customer strategies, without really thinking through, you know, they come a lot of time from the operational side. And what we have learned is that customer, customer experience is not just about service, you know, it’s really about understanding your customer and building a relationship with with them. So yeah, it’s, I look forward to sharing with a broader number of companies, and people

Gregorio Uglioni 8:00
hope this makes really interesting words, and what you are saying, also looking forwards to get insight, and to get also to share the new owl. With you, I think you are really speaking about the customer from from the arts. And it’s something that I really like, you were speaking I am I learned during this video, that I’m using the wrong word, but I stated again, you implemented measurement framework, customer experience measurement framework, and it’s clear, it’s much more than only a framework, but what was the initial intention? Why did you start measuring such KPIs?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 8:41
You know, we So, I mean, the KPI for us is just the cherry on top of the cake, if you will. Because, you know, if, you know, let’s assume you know that your customers are not satisfied with any part of your, you know, of the relationship. Unless, you know, what is what they exactly won, you know, you won’t be you will be suffering in the dark, you will be probably, you know, potentially investing money and time in areas that are not relevant to the customer. So for us, you know, though we did want to have a baseline in terms of score, the most important thing was really to understand what was driving that score, you know, what is what was really in the heart of our customer. So, we departed from the theory that you know, that there will be three main drivers to any customer relationship with us and they would be, you know, their perception of our brand, our value proposition and obviously, that comes products and prices and the relationship between those two. And finally, the service piece and within the service space, we also, you know, distinguish our people And people would be having the right people having the people properly trained, but also processes and, you know, our tools. So it was, it was a very comprehensive framework, if you will. And we carefully coded all their feedback. So we had open ended questions. And we carefully coded their feedback and linked it to their scores, which allowed us to then, you know, target investments, target activities, and, you know, quickly, really, really quickly move the needle. So, I think that that’s the most important thing to listen, what is behind the score, and then build a relationship?

Gregorio Uglioni 10:48
Okay, I think this is really something extremely important, what you are saying, it’s not about the numbers increasing if the NPS is increasing it on the customer effort score is getting better, but it’s what’s beyond of that, and you will have really big, big experience with with this measurement with this under customer understanding, perhaps, could you please elaborate a bit more why it’s so important to perform this measurement, and why to invest in measuring, let’s say customer experience, or customer experience related KPIs, like NPS and so on,

Ana Maria Zumsteg 11:32
you know, I guess it is like, like defining your roadmap, it just helps you to know if you if you know, where you want to go, you know, if you want to increase your number of customers, you want to increase, you know, customer loyalty, you will increase product density, you know, you have certain targets, but you don’t really know where you are on that road, and you don’t know what might be the fastest, the fastest way to get there. So I see NPS in our case, you know, or any, any, any audit methodology that includes drivers and naming drivers is probably a little bit of a technical term, because what we are doing really is to ask the customers, what’s important to them to Gosh, these these responses, you know, it just allows you to be faster to be, as I said, Before, it avoids you to waste time, it allows you to waste money. And it really, you know, in many cases, we found that the changes that we needed to make require zero investment, you know, the investment that was without require was really changing a process, targeting our message speaking in a different manner, you know, speaking to the needs of the customer speaking to what’s important to the customer. So that’s what I think measuring is so important, because it just sheds light on your past to your goal.

Gregorio Uglioni 13:05
From my point of view, what you’re saying is one of the best explanation, that customer experience is a growth strategy. As you said, it’s about getting this information. And it’s not about investing a lot of money. But it’s the idea behind customer experiences to as you said, increase acquisition, improve retention, increase share of wallet, in the case, what you said, what needs, what are the customer needs, perhaps they need something additional if they really need and also to get more efficient, because if people are customers don’t need something, then you can change that. Or as you said, changing is more process. I think this these are four key topics to understand that customer experience is not something fluffy or speaking about general FPNs. But it’s really a growth strategy. And this is extremely important. But I think what what what you are saying what you explained to us, it was not as easy as you are now explaining that. What were the main challenges that you face during this long time of periods of measurement and this transformation process? Share?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 14:15
I guess we had two main challenges. The first one, you know, coming from a very large cloud company, we had a lot of initiatives. So we were competing, in a way with many of them global initiatives. On the one hand, we had we were superseding previous initiative. So there was some skepticism, you know, that was like, oh, no, not another, not another initiative. So you know, we had to really overcome that and really gain the minds and the hearts of people. And I think that’s one of the beauties of of MPs in our case. Because when you start to speak you know when you start to actually bring the voice of the guests Customer, the comments of the customer back home, you know, it’s not what we are telling them is what the customer what their customer they are the local unit level, is saying. So, you know, we we really had to make a point to disseminate, you know, and do feedback not with our words, but with the words of the customers. And on the second area was also the perception that this could be the controlling tool. And this is not a controlling tool, you know, we see that as an enable enable an enabler and not a controlling tool. And I always highlighted that, and indeed, for me, was very, as important as highlighting the negative comments was to highlight the positive comments, because we had a lot of positive comments. And I think, you know, a lot of people were not aware that we had so many customers that were so thankful that we were there for them when they needed us. So, you know, for me was a double double goal, you know, or we wanted to build up our our employees and really show them what they did well, and then you know, so but the things we could do better, or the things the customer would like to have different. So yeah, I guess those were the two, two challenges, you know, convincing them and clarifying the measurement as well. So I think, understanding NPS understanding the weaknesses of the measurement, per se, and understanding what is behind the measurement is really crucial. So that’s probably those were the two things.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:41
Thank you very much. I think these are three great insights, and perhaps other people can can use them leverage on them. And as you said, it’s not the target. It’s not the measurement, but understanding what’s what’s behind it. What I also really liked about our discussion was about this international rollout. Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, and I’m not speaking about soccer was playing against, though, but the rollouts that you did and the difference that that are amongst these different countries? Can you please elaborate a bit about that?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 17:15
Sure. Sure, yeah, that was one of our biggest realizations. And I guess that comes together with understanding the metric. Because you know, the way people rates a transaction or rates, your products or rates, your company, is highly driven by the cultural background. So for example, we learned that in schools in Chile, you know, they, they raised the kids from one to seven, so for them seven is like a really good mark, and that, you know, anything above that it just doesn’t make sense to them. We also learned that Americans tend to give things very easy, because they’re very familiar, and they think they might, you know, be bad, it might be bad for the employee who serve them to give them a lower rating. We also learned and that was a big lesson that we translated the NPS question literally to Japanese. And apparently, you know, in Japanese, when you do a literal translation, the question translates into a request to actually recommend your company. So Japanese, you know, I did, they didn’t really like that. And, you know, and then the following year, we, we were made aware of this, and we actually had to have a control group, and, you know, have a group that we asked the question in the same manner as the previous year, and then modified to say, in the hypothetical case that you would have, that you were to recommend the company, would you recommend this, and then we saw that the score just stood out, you know, so we realized that it was just totally cultural as well. So, you know, we have seen in our market studies that Austrians tend to read all companies the same, so you know, sea of sameness, because you’re just very kind to everybody. So that’s why, you know, our baselines were country base, and not global base. Or if we, you know, if we put together a global number, we always look into the country detail, taking a baseline from the previous year. So yeah, it was interesting.

Gregorio Uglioni 19:36
And from your point of view, your personal point of view, why there are such big differences in in this country, it’s about culture or what’s what’s about.

Ana Maria Zumsteg 19:49
culture plays a big role. Definitely, you know, but obviously, in our case, we carry for different markets. I mean, you know, in the US we are primarily commercial businesses separately. For farmers, we primarily target large commercial businesses. In Brazil, we have a mixture between commercial and private lines, Japan’s nearly 100% Private private lines. So, you see a you know, a whole array of different customer customer needs, decision makers, you know, makes a big difference. So, I guess so the socio economical situation of, of a country, and our brand positioning also plays a role, you know, you see, in emerging societies, if you are a premium brand, people will be very happy to, you know, to be related to a premium brand. And just the fact of being related is the same as if you own a Lamborghini. You know, if you bought a Lamborghini, I mean, you’re gonna obviously, say your Lamborghini is great. So he goes, that’s what you want it to have any similarity with, you know, with brands and countries, appreciation of your brand.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:03
Thank you, Anna Maria, this was also really interesting to understand the international differences. And but now it’s the moment also to learn a bit more about you. And perhaps which book are you reading now? Or which book is your preferred book? What would you like to suggest to the audience?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 21:22
Oh, God, I love reading. So you know, you pick up a bad question. I read a lot of reading. I do, like, however, biographies. And I really like learning, I really like to try and understand what all people before us, or how the people before us appreciated the world. So the world. And so latest books I’ve been reading were the biography of Albert Einstein, which is really fascinating book. And through this book, I learned that when he was asked whether he believed in God, you know, he said, he believed in the God of Spinoza. So I mean, curious. And so so who is Spinoza? And I discover Baruch Spinoza, a Portuguese philosopher from the 17th century, 16th century, he was a disciple of the discatis and, you know, one of the pioneers of the Enlightenment time, so I started to read now his book, which is called ethics. And at the beginning, First Chapter, I said, Oh, God, what is this, but it’s actually happens to be a fascinating What’s he a biography, because it really goes through the way, you know, he saw the world, at the beginning, how he, you know, goes in solitude to try to interpret reality, and you know, to, again, evolve into real freedom, and he calls freedom, the ability, not the ability to do what you want, but the ability to see the world as it is, and accept it as it is. And, you know, I thought, this is absolutely fascinating. Because in a way, this is what we do. With customer centricity, we stop imposing our customers, you know, to lie what we want, but, you know, we evolve into that awareness of what is important to them, and we accept what is important to them, and we, you know, work towards providing them when they want to meet Yeah.

Gregorio Uglioni 23:45
It’s really thank you very much for the explanation. And I like also what you’re saying, to try to go in depth and to understand more why why somebody said something, then you find out a new book, and then you can leave that in, in this book, and link to the last sentence, what’s important to them? Perhaps what, what’s important to you because we spoke quite a lot about business and we are doing again, pandemic the numbers are increasing and we are also sorry, that that is start increasing again, but we need to react. My question is how can you ensure to maintain a satisfactory work life balance or assume saying or perhaps I’m trying also to push live work balance because life it’s also a bit more important than than working? What are you doing?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 24:39
Really good questions today. Yeah, well, your workplace really good questions, to be honest. I guess one of the things that I see as tremely important is, again, you know, going back to what Spinoza said, to gain awareness of Who we are, and the roles because it’s not one, you know, it’s many roles that we choose to take in life, you know, and I think it’s super important to say we choose, and we should really take the time to consciously choose who we want to be. And, you know, and within that, how we are gonna go into perform within that. So for me, I am really aware that I am not just, you know, the customer experience specialist, which I love to be, but I am also you know, a mom and I am a friend, you know, and I am a human being, who would like to, to make the best out of this life. So, I guess, you know, keeping in mind that you have not just one responsibility is crucial. And, and then being who you are, across all these roles, I think it’s what gives you balance, because if you pretend to be who you are not, which I see many times, we do force to different situations, or we think we have to, it brings this balance. So I guess that is my, that will be my, my formula awareness. Clear stand in life, and then go for it. And, you know, I said reality, in front of every challenge, you know, we have two choices. Either we say a challenge, let’s see what we do, or you sit there and cry, the challenge ain’t gonna change. So you better United a positive stance. So that’s my name.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:37
I fully agree. I always like challenges. Therefore, my answer, it’s already there. But I think this is something really interesting. And also what you said, perhaps somebody from the audience is interest to speak with you to have additional discussion, what’s the best way to get in contact with you?

Ana Maria Zumsteg 26:56
At the moment, I would say to LinkedIn, you know, my profile is open to anyone. I, I endeavor to answer every message that I get, I’m very keen on sharing my experience, I’m very keen on connecting and learning from others, you know, I mean, obviously, I find extremely enriching and the conversations we have had before I find them extremely enriching, you know, you come from a different industry, we do have the same type of views about the world, but basically, you know, our experiences enhance each other. And so with many other professionals, they happy to be connected.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:36
Thank you. I think it’s, it’s always, for everybody a bit enrichment. If we can exchange learn from other people, even if it’s a virtual or digital setup, it’s really interesting to have such discussions, such interaction. But let’s ask the last where last question. Do you want to leave us the audience with your last thought, insights, piece of experience? Please, please share that with us.

Ana Maria Zumsteg 28:12
Okay, um, let me think what, what can I can I say? Probably, if one thing is what I just said before, you know, decide who you are, live by your values. Treat your customers, your employees, everybody around you by those values. And, you know, and then you will, when you look at yourself in the mirror, you will feel at peace, and you will, you will be happy. I guess that’s, that’s my best piece of advice. And in terms of NPS. Remember that whatever you do, whatever framework and metric you use, it is a tool, you know, but the real, the real essence of customer strategy is building or building relationships. And you build relationships with integrity, and you build relationships, listening, and accepting what you what you listening to and adapting.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:17
Thank you very much. Ana Maria and also to the audience, ladies and gentlemen, it was again a great discussion with Ana Maria. I hope you enjoy, enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed that. Thank you very much Ana Maria. Arrivederci, grazie mille.

Ana Maria Zumsteg 29:32
Yes. Bye bye, Gregorio. Bye

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