Some info about today’s interview, Seth Hall, COO and Head of CX at LIO Insurance.
Before joining LIO, Seth was a Senior Vice President at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY), where he was responsible for setting the strategic direction of the 600+ person Customer Service Operation. Seth developed and led the award-winning Voice of the Customer Program that helped PHLY move their Net Promoter Score from 44.7 up to a high of 67.1.
Prior to PHLY, Seth worked as the Global Service Operations Leader for CIGNA International, managing a global team of 1,100+ service professionals. In his role on the Executive leadership team, he was also responsible for managing the Business Transformation team that served the entire division.
Seth has also worked at Accenture as a management consultant specifically aligned within the service operations vertical.
Seth holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and completed Wharton’s Business Essentials Program focusing on corporate finance.
Seth is currently the Greater Philadelphia Market Board Chair for the March of Dimes.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about customer retention and customer loyalty?
Quite simply, it is about doing what you say you are going to do. Nothing frustrates customers and erodes trust quicker than not following up on a commitment. If you say you are going to call them back within 24 hours, it is absolutely imperative that it is followed up on and action is taken. I have learned about so many different ways to help improve the overall customer experience and customer retention. From Artificial intelligence to chatbots to sophisticated IVRs – with all that said, the greatest lesson I have learned is that you need to execute on the fundamentals and the blocking and tackling – meaning follow up on all commitments, large and small.
What are some of the common misunderstandings related to customer experience?
That driving internal efficiencies (as perceived by the company) will ultimately improve the customer experience. Most decisions tend to be made inside-out – meaning companies think about how implementing a new process, or a new system will help them generate more revenue or improve a set of processes. Very few changes start with the customer in mind first – a truly outside-in perspective. A second misunderstanding is that the mundane things don’t really matter – this couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe very strongly that those mundane things can ultimately drive the perception a customer has of your brand. Making sure your invoices are accurate and that you answer the phone timely. All of these things matter, even in today’s world.
Do you believe focus groups are still relevant in the era of eCommerce? Why?
I haven’t seen these work effectively as traditional focus groups. What I have seen companies utilize nicely are message boards and online communities. There is a risk with starting them as well as they tend to be hard to maintain and keep fresh; however, they can generate terrific and unsolicited feedback that can help any organization truly understand what’s working and where there may lay opportunities for improvement.
What do you think online reviews can play a role in minimizing the CX Gap?
Online reviews can be critical – particularly in the direct-to-consumer space. Important for prospective customers clearly as more and more buyers are making key purchasing decisions off of these reviews. Secondarily, it can be important for companies to continuously review to understand how customers react to and/or perceive a particular product, process, etc.…
What are some common mistakes companies do when they create CSAT and NPS surveys?
Most companies out of the gates are trying to do too much with their surveys. Almost 90% of all surveys have at least 10 questions which are too many questions. Given general survey fatigue, questions need to be limited to the 5-7 key questions that are most relevant to the company. Additionally, the vast majority of companies don’t do anything with the data once it is retrieved. Most companies feel as though the act of generating the survey is the important part. Ironically the most important part is what you do with the data and how you react to it – are you responding to your customers, are you following up with them, and closing the loop. This is by far the most common mistake companies make regarding both CSAT and NPS surveys.
Do you think there is a connection between CX (customer experience) and EX (employee experience)?
1,000%! The more valued, appreciated, and respected an employee feels, the more apt they are to provide top-tier service to that companies employees. The converse is almost always true – that is, if you have a demoralized employee, there is very little proof that they will be providing the level of service you’d like your customers to experience.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Very interested to see how chat plays into our overall experience. It is such a huge part of everyone’s lives but yet hasn’t made it into corporate America quite yet. Very interested to see how this technology can help customers and help better connect customers with companies.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Effort score. It says so much to me when I learn how much “effort” our customers put into getting an answer. It should be effortless, and everyone understands that; however, most customers end up feeling like they are putting in a lot of effort just to get an answer. That can’t be the way it is going forward, and thus tracking effort score is a very important metric.