The Best Customer “Data” Is Feedback
By listening to customers, American General Life Companies has increased sales and improved the customer experience in ways that matter most to customers.
For years American General Life Companies primarily relied on its insurance agents to relay what customers were saying about the life insurance company's products and services. That was a problem for Simon Leech, AGLC's senior vice president of insurance services. "Customer feedback was filtered," he recalls. "If an agent was sensitive to a particular issue, it would [affect] the conversation. As a result, feedback wasn't direct, it wasn't real-time, and it was mostly anecdotal."
Worse, AGLC's "heard it through the grapevine" approach to customer insight was preventing the company from truly understanding consumers' buying habits and preferences. "In the areas of [product and service] enhancement and improvement, customer intelligence is critical," Leech says. "Without that information, you're flying blind."
Eager to establish a reliable source of customer feedback, the company implemented an enterprise feedback management (EFM) solution with analytics capabilities that reveals customer motivations, satisfaction levels, and behavior patterns—information AGLC could use to help drive sales and boost market share. But while the company knew it was time to up the ante on its customer feedback collection, it didn't want to fall into a common trap: to aggressively collect customer data only to watch it waste away, untouched, in a remote repository.