Season 2 - Episode 5 of our Podcast series has arrived and we were thrilled to have Senior Life Insurance Executive, Patrick Moore as our special guest. Patrick has over 15 year’s experience in managing business to business partnerships in the financial services industry. Patrick spent 14 years with St Andrew’s Life Insurance, heading up their business to business partnerships and product teams and more recently has commenced a senior product management contract with AIA Life Insurance.
In this episode Patrick shares his experience with creating stronger longer lasting B2B relationships using MirrorWave. Tune in today. The full interview transcript is also available.
Hi Ray Poynter here and welcome to another Potentiate Powering Human Experience podcast. Today I'm delighted to welcome Patrick Moore, a senior Life Insurance executive who specializes in leading, improving, and deepening business to business relationships within the life insurance industry.
Patrick spent 14 years at St. Andrew’s Life Insurance, and was an integral part of the executive management team. He recently joined AIA Life Insurance in a senior management role.
Patrick is passionate about ensuring he and his teams deliver outstanding customer experience to business partners. He believes the key to delivering this experience is to continually and consistently listen, respond, and deliver tangible actions and improvements that lead to business relationships being transformed from transactional into a true business partnership, where he and his teams are considered trusted advisors.
Today, we're going to be talking about how Patrick has used MirrorWave to enhance business processes. Hi Patrick! Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about the context for the examples you get to talk about.
We started working with MirrorWave about six and a half years ago. As a life insurer, we were focused on B2B relationships. And we've long understood the importance of obtaining feedback from our partners. We could measure the sentiment about what they thought about our relationships, which is important. Having your finger on the pulse, especially in a B2B environment, is what I think is critical to building long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.
Prior to partnering with MirrorWave, we used to ask our partners a lot of questions in an annual survey. Whilst it was okay, it provided us with a sentiment score about what they thought about us, but it didn't really provide us with anything meaningful about what we were doing well, and not so well. We had a range of Account Managers as well, that looked after the clients, and it didn't really provide that richness of data for individual Account Managers. So it was really very difficult to understand what was driving the changes in sentiment, simply because we had an enormous amount of data, that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We couldn't pick out themes, and it was really difficult to piece together. What were the consistent issues, troubling our partners? We also didn't have a feedback loop to go back to the partners and address any concerns that they raised.
We were really like many other organizations that survey their customers, we really didn't do much with the data, including demonstrating to them that we were listening to their feedback and making meaningful changes to the way we delivered our products and services. My vision was to shift our business from being seen as a service provider, to a valued business partner. If you can achieve that, you really do provide for long-lasting, deep relationships. So MirrorWave has helped us to achieve that.
Great, I love that point about providing feedback to people who give us feedback. Can you outline the way that partnership program with MirrorWave involves people from provider and client, and follows them longitudinally over time?
Firstly, MirrorWave really helped us identify the relevant stakeholders we wanted to gain feedback from. MirrorWave obviously has a great platform, but they have a great team behind that platform, who work with you to develop that program. And one of the key things that we did at the start was to study and track feedback and sentiment from our external stakeholders.
Then it morphed into a program where we recognized that we needed to obtain feedback from our internal stakeholders as well, about how they felt about the partnership. So they helped us to identify those stakeholders. All of those stakeholders, both internal and external, twice a year, we would ‘pulse’ those stakeholders and we would ask them three simple questions. (1) What were we doing well; (2) What could we improve on; (3) And a sort of Net Promoter Score - what would you rate us out of 10 in terms of a recommendation.
But I'll take a step back. Prior to the pulses commencing, especially in the initial phases, we developed some really good bespoke communication pieces, where we really tried to educate and tell people why we were using MirrorWave, and how it was different from previous surveys that they may have completed.
In our Account Management team, we had a few sessions with them, and really got them to understand that process. So when they went out and explained to their partners what we're doing and why we're doing it, they were just as passionate about it as I was. And that really made a difference in terms of the initial uptake rate of the program. We had 80 to 90% uptake rate in terms of people answering these questions. And it's because we had spent the time telling people why this was so different. Once we complete the pulse, the platform that MirrorWave runs enables us to categorize its feedback really efficiently and quickly. Prior to this program starting, we made a commitment to every stakeholder that provided feedback, both internal and external, they would receive a follow up conversation from their Account Manager. And that happened within days. Some of the time it wasn't about them saying constructive things about us or negative things, it was thanking them for the feedback and recognizing what they had said to us. And people were blown away by that, not only they'd gone and taken the time to fill in a survey, but we had gotten back to them within days of them doing so. They were blown away by that instant recognition of their feedback.
The last piece of the puzzle was using that data that we’d gathered and providing a feedback loop to the more senior stakeholders about what we discovered, what was the good and the bad. And by sitting down with them, it wasn't just us proposing actions, but sitting down together looking at that data and developing an action plan, that we would both agree on and we would both walk away with some actions to achieve over the next six months. Then six months later, we would measure it again. And we would do the same thing. And so I think the true power of MirrorWave was when we'd done two or three of these pulses, and we were able to see that change in sentiment. It was great to look back on and say, ‘Yes’, we had completed 12 of the 15 actions that we had committed to, and look at the difference that has made in terms of results and, and sentiment especially.
So just picking up on that point about sentiment and what you were saying about internal versus external. How does the program enable the diagnosis of internal versus external gaps in sentiment?
When we set up the program, with MirrorWave, we sat down, and we were able to identify each different type of stakeholder, whether they be internal or external stakeholders. And the platform enables you to categorize them. And so when we gathered feedback from our stakeholders, we were able to separate the data between external stakeholders versus internal stakeholders. And we were able to compare and contrast the different responses from external stakeholders about what they thought about our partnership, versus what our internal stakeholders thought about the partnership.
It was fascinating to see the differences in sentiment. And typically, what we found at the start was the internal stakeholders view the partnership much more negatively than what the external partners did. And when we provided that 360 feedback loop to our internal stakeholders, they were quite surprised at how positively the contribution that they had made towards the partnership was being viewed by the external partner.
As a result, we were able to segment the internal data and develop a set of internal actions for our internal people, to help them understand and realize the contribution that it made to that partnership. Because these were people that were dealing with various stakeholders in the business to business relationship. And so they were a key part in terms of growing sentiment and deepening that relationship.
The platform really enabled us to segment that stuff out, really focus in on it and track it over a period of time, to see how it seemed to grow, and how us as a management team could deliver back to those internal stakeholders.
Great. And can you outline how the program meshes with other Account Management processes?
The platform is there to track feedback and sentiment, not only at the corporate level, but an individual Account Management team, or person. So we had teams in different places around Australia, as well as the individual Account Managers within those teams. So all of the external stakeholders that provided a response were assigned an individual Account Manager. At the end of each pulse, the Account Manager was able to immediately access all of their stakeholder feedback. And then each Account Manager was then tasked to create a follow up action, to firstly recognize that feedback that their stakeholder had provided. And then, if appropriate, develop tailored actions based on the feedback.
Importantly, at a management level, we were able to monitor and track for each of those Account Managers, the type of feedback they'd got, what sort of action plans were put into place, and how quickly they had executed those actions. That's probably one of the most critical parts of this program is that you not only listen, but you deliver tangible actions to improve the partnership. And because we were able to use that platform to individually monitor that and jump on areas quickly, that perhaps weren't being actioned as quickly as they should, we were able to really demonstrate to the partner that, all of our account management team were involved in this process and delivering great results.
It went extremely well. We had some fantastic feedback, and as time goes on, there are multiple pulses, our account managers are able to tell a pretty good story to their individual stakeholders about what feedback had been given in the past and what they've done with it, and also to track how their individual sentiment has changed over the course of their relationship. And all that can plug into Salesforce, which is the CRM tool that we used at the time.
It provided us with a really rich history of the relationship and the story, not only to a partnership level, but to an individual relationship, between us as the life insurance company, and an individual stakeholder within that partnership that we're working with.
Now, thinking about really senior participants, are there any variations that proved useful in communicating with them?
Yes, there was! We spent time thinking about how it would be best to get the richness of feedback that we were wanting from these senior participants. So we decided not to email these participants, typically, we gather feedback via emails, and they fill it in online. Typically, these senior participants are really time poor. They've often done surveys and they don't really see a lot of it come back. So what we did in consultation with MirrorWave, we engaged a MirrorWave consultant, who had good knowledge and experience in the life insurance industry. And they would interview the senior participant using the same questions. Now, prior to this interview, their Account Manager from our business would explain to the senior participant what we were trying to achieve, and why again, MirrorWave was different from the normal Voice of Customer surveys (VOC). And that was a key part to it. They were the ones to arrange the interview. So that interview was done. And there was another MirrorWave colleague on the call, who would take the notes. And at the end of the call, they were provided with the transcript, if you want to put it that way. And the senior participant was able to review that, then that feedback was put into the MirrorWave platform.
What worked well was that the MirrorWave consultant had a really good knowledge of the sector, and they were able to create a really good rapport with the participants. The consultants are able to reflect back on previous conversations that they'd had and ask why the sentiment had improved or sometimes not improved. And as the program went on, many senior participants actually really looked forward to talking with the consultant and developed a really good relationship. And again, that also strengthened the process, when we really got really rich, meaningful feedback. I think if we just used the email for those participants, we would have no way to achieve the richness of feedback and therefore develop some really great actions out of that feedback.
Thanks, Patrick. Now, let's take the sort of the window much wider, and thinking about other people. So what would your advice be for anybody looking to use this sort of program in their business?
I think there were a few key points that people need to think about. Firstly, spend the time and effort explaining to your participants why this Voice of the Customer feedback is different. MirrorWave helped us develop some great internal and external communications. That was effective at giving the messaging that this is not just another survey participants take that never really amounts to anything. So if you can sell the concept to them prior to that, prior to them engaging in it, it really does help people complete the survey or agree to the interview.
Secondly, react quickly to the feedback provided, even if it's just acknowledging or thanking the person for the feedback. Participants, in my experience are just blown away that you've provided a response within days of giving feedback.
Thirdly, develop an action plan based on the feedback and present that back to the client to get their own feedback and their own input, so that it's a joint plan.
Most importantly to me, is to always deliver on your promises. Having the MirrorWave platform there in the background really helps you to track and monitor what you've promised to the client, and to see how you've delivered on that. In turn, how that’s delivered on your return on investment in terms of the MirrorWave program.
And lastly, something outside of the platform itself is really, I found it really useful to utilize the collective brainpower and knowledge of the team at MirrorWave. They have vast experience in setting up these customer programs across many different industries. So they were able to bring a different viewpoint to the traditional way that life insurers operate and ask questions that we hadn't really ever thought of before. So they helped us develop presentations, there was a lot more than just providing that platform to you to utilize to gather their feedback, they became, in a way, our own trusted business partners to improve our customer satisfaction.
Great. Patrick, thank you so much for your time today. I think our listeners are going to find this really interesting and useful.
Thanks, Ray. It's been a pleasure.
More about Patrick Moore, Senior Life Insurance Executive
Patrick Moore, has 15 + year’s experience in managing business tobusiness partnerships in the financial services industry. Patrick’s excels indeveloping, deepening and transforming mutually beneficial business to businessrelationships. Patrick spent 14 years with St Andrew’s Life Insurance, headingup their business to business partnerships and product teams. Patrick hasrecently commenced a senior product management contract with AIA LifeInsurance.
Patrick believes that complex ‘traditional service provider’relationships can be transformed into a ‘trusted business partnership’ bytaking a 360 approach to voice of customer sentiment. Patrick and histeam not only respond and deliver improvements based on partner sentiment butapply that same approach to internal stakeholder’s who are actively involvedwith the partner. Delivering timely feedback and executing on action plans forboth groups has in Patrick’s experience lead to transformation in thesepartnerships and resulted in long lasting and mutually beneficial outcomes forall parties.
Patrick is also well known and regarded for his experience in productdevelopment and management, business development, contract management andthought leadership within the financial service industry.
More about MirrorWave
MirrorWave feedback software drives profitable outcomes for businesses who are serious about deep, enduring customer relationships - with individual customers, strategic accounts or two-way partnerships. The MirrorWave platform makes it easy to get into a rhythm of listening and responding to feedback. MirrorWave uses a world-first longitudinal approach to follow individuals over time, creating relationship stories to show what’s changed and why, what you need to do and if those actions worked. MIrrorWave focuses on listening and responding at an individual level, over time, generates insights, identifies opportunities and unlocks the potential in key business relationships. Potentiate is partner of MirrorWave, contact us today for more info.
*Please note, Platform One was formerly known as Potentiate