How a focus on employees has helped NRMA improve its CX scores

GM of customer strategy and experience design shares how the insurance and roadside assistance business has changed the way teams work in the name of CX

Customer experience transformation is not just about the customer, it’s about how your employees come together cross-functionality and with agility to solve customer problems, says NRMA’s Tina Morell.

The insurance and roadside assistance’s GM of customer strategy and experience design took to the stage at today’s Forrester CX APAC event in Sydney to detail how keeping the customer at the centre of an organisation is not just achieved by a focus on memorable experiences, but also through concerted efforts to change the way employees work.

For Morell, CX is driven by a healthy balance of three core elements: Meeting a customer’s needs, making it easy, and leaving them feeling good about the experience received. As an example, she highlighted NRMA’s mobile app offering enabling customers to purchase and have a car battery installed on their terms in three clicks.

But in achieving these ends, it’s critical to shift focus as an organisation to what’s going on with employees.

“It’s not just about customers, we also need to think about what is going on with employees and how they drive a good experience,” Morrell told attendees. “How a customer experiences our brand reflects how well our organisation is working. Do we have it together? Are we able to deliver that great experience? This is critical to getting it right – how we work as an organisation.”

NRMA boasts of a CX playbook, the first component of which is ‘we will walk in your shoes’. “We want all employees to walk in the shoes of our customer,” Morrell said. “That’s empathy. The most critical component for us was how to shift staff to be closer to the customer, listen to feedback and then collaborate and come together to solve problems.”

The route to solving customer problems

To do this, NRMA initially went to its voice of customer (VoC) tracking survey data and text analytics tools to understand how it could shift CX firmly up a gear by identifying positive and negative aspects of the experience. Three areas were identified: Renewals, digital and loyalty.

“If we could turn these drivers around, we could lift NPS further,” Morrell said. From there, NRMA introduced agile squads based on these areas. These cross-functional squads consisted of product owners, marketing, research and insights, technology, frontline or subject matter experts, data analytics, digital and CX design.

Morrell explained discovery as the first aspect of each sprint. In NRMA’s case, whole teams read customer feedback and delved into verbatims in order to ensure a consistent understanding of problems.

“This was the first step in getting closer to the customer as employees: Spending time to understand if the problem we are solving is the right one,” she said.  

The next sprints were about investigating possible solutions, followed by building solutions. Some sprints generated quick wins, such as missing a payment method on one of statements supplied to customers.

“That was very simple and we were able to solve that within the sprints,” Morell said. “Others highlighted areas requiring further investment, such as reimagining the login experience or improving credit card payments. That took longer, but the sprints determined what the solution was so we could get it into roadmap to solve for.”

Working in this agile way was transformational for employees in working differently. Morell said it stopped silos and got people to agree on what the problem is “because the customer is telling us what problem is”. The work has been undertaken as part of BAU.  

To get staff to buy-in, Morell stressed the importance of thinking about how to get people together and rallying teams. NRMA used town halls and all hands meetings, taking employees through an NPS deep dive to show what customers were telling the organisation.

“Some were mortified we hadn’t got it right… it’s also a new, fun way of working,” she said. “When people saw how they could deliver and make a difference, more people wanted to get involved. When you see that what you do make the difference, it transform how everyone is working.”

Agile squads have since extended their scope of impact into digital and product proof of concepts and prototypes. One of the recent examples Morrell pointed to was reimagining how NRMA members will use electric vehicles. This includes designing new packages if customers are broken down, as well as helping customers make buying decisions. As part of this process, NRMA has pushed a pretotype online to test if people are interested.

NRMA has also launched a live chat POC. “That again was a team coming together to solve for that as we needed another channel for people to communicate with us,” Morrell said. “We have had incredible results and we’re now looking to launch.”

A more substantial change which took almost a year to solve was transforming NRMA roadside packages. Again, squads highlighted customer pain points and how to solve for them. Off the back of this, Morrell cited a +2 lift in related NPS, which had been flat for some time.

“This demonstrated we have made a difference and gave teams something to celebrate,” she added.  

NRMA already had a bigger CX framework for larger pieces of work. What this new way of working has done is impact the day-to-day too. NRMA is now up to 12 squads, many of which have sprouted up organically.

“Squads see problem, surface it through VOC platform or social or complaints team and use this process to not only drive significant new change, but also work faster and iterate and drive great autonomy within staff,” Morrell said.  

“It’s united the teams and empowered them, and it’s engaged our people. People haven’t asked for permission, they’ve gone on and determined there is a problem and area where we can do better, formed a squad and generated a new way of working. This is critical.

“Our staff need to be able to create connections with each other, with the customer to drive change, have purpose and we also know.”

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