Tag Archives: customer loyalty

Cigna on customer-centricity & experience

Have we reached the end of the call center? Not according to Mindy Lamb at Cigna. That being said, personalization is key to keeping clients and it doesn’t happen overnight. In this interview, I sit down with Mindy Lamb at Cigna to chat about how personalization, customer-centricity and experience can lead to customer retention, thereby leading to long and fruitful relationships.

Mindy Lamb is Head of Operating Effectiveness – Customer Experiences at Cigna.
Mindy Lamb is Head of Operating Effectiveness – Customer Experiences at Cigna.

Most of us are well aware that retaining customers is more fruitful than forging new relationships. Will you tell us about the customer lifetime value at Cigna? How has developing long-term relationships provided better value for customer and company alike?

Customer lifetime value is an ongoing concept that Cigna and many other companies are starting to use. It’s not the only metric we use, but it’s developing and ongoing as we figure out how to leverage it better. If you think about customer lifetime value only, it really is a predictor of an individual customer’s profitability over time. So when you combine the power of that information with personal segmentation of your customers around what they need and what they value and then you understand those customers that have higher profitability projection for your company over the course of their lifetime it allows you to prioritize bringing those capabilities, products and services that individual segments of customers value the most. You’ll see higher retention where you prioritize and spend your money and investment dollars to drive that retention. Of course we benefit because their with us and they benefit because the longer they’re with us the deeper our insights grow into what they need and value so we can continue to deliver on it.

Customer centricity has been redefined in today’s new digital paradigm from a B2B and B2C perspective. Are you now more enabled to use metrics to determine the value of your relationship with your customers?

It’s been around for a long time. For a long time we’ve heard web to call, what’s the call rate, etc., and that’s real. If they’re going to the web to try to achieve their services and they can’t and they have to call, then we’re aware that their satisfaction scores go down. That’s one way you can look at it. But beyond that in this digital age of social media and multitudes of apps; we at Cigna try to meet the customers where they are in order to determine if they have a particular need or a interest. From there we can personalize that information within the digital space and watch to see if they react to that digital channel. We can measure what they find interesting, what they don’t and how to reach them in the way they want to be reached.

There will always be a need for a contact center, but more and more in the Internet age, people like the advantage of going to digital technology to find solutions to what they’re looking for.

How have you aimed to ‘retrain the brains’ of agents to find new means of customer acquisition?

It starts first with technology. Once you understand your individual customer segments, what they value and what they need, then you start to understand the additional acquisition opportunities in the product that you have for that customer to find value in. The technology enables the agent to then take a client in an inbound channel and then segue into a conversation that centers around them. They can say, “I know this about you, and based on that we also have X, Y or Z, would you be interested in hearing more?” It’s really about placing the information in the agent’s hands so they know what to pass along to the customer to continue the conversations.

Not all businesses have robust budgets. How can these agents create a customer experience that is five-star without all the trimmings?

Particularly as it relates to the agents and what they can deliver – if you don’t have the budget and technology is a challenge for all of us – it’s important to remember that at the root of it is people serving people. The best thing you can do in that regard is focus on your hiring and retention of your employees and hire for the right capabilities. You can train individuals to be computer saavy, but what you can’t train so much, and what you’re really born with, is what I call the “servant’s heart.” You either have it or you don’t. You can hone people’s skills around being personal or empathetic, but that person’s never going to be successful at really getting to the heart of customer-centricity and helping customers if they don’t have that baseline nature.

The best thing to focus on when you don’t have the five-star budget and all the wizardry that comes with it is to first start with the right people and then make sure that you incent and reward them right. Give them the power to satisfy the customer within the constraints of whatever the product or service is that you’re delivering. What you may consider as a small ability to make things right or give something back to the customer is in reality the opportunity to create both a great branding image and empowerment for our employees to know that they’re making differences every day. So hire right for the personal touch, for empathy, for people who can proactively think of creative solutions for customers and then empower them to do so.

Do You Know Your Customers As Well As You Think You Do?

Anthony Perez is the Vice President of Business Strategy with the Orlando Magic. He and his team are credited with building a predictive analytics ticketing model that can help the Orlando Magic tailor their fan experience to increase customer satisfaction. In this interview, Anthony shares how he uses data to gain understanding of his customers and to establish a loyalty connection.

hrh media: Would you mind telling us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in data analytics?

I started in finance so I think it was a natural transition into analytics. When I first started with the Orlando Magic I was really focused on the financials of the new arena. From there I went into investment banking for a little while, but ultimately came back to the Magic and my focus, again, started out on the financial metrics side of things. But my position ultimately became the much broader role around analytics that it is today.

hrh media: The Orlando Magic is both one of the most technologically advanced arenas in North America so it’s no wonder that you have a wealth of data at your fingertips. Would you share a key business driver behind the Magic’s decision to use analytics to establish a loyalty connection with fans?

Sure, for us it just really made sense going into the Amway Center with the technology that we have, all the data that we’d be collecting, all of the capabilities that we had in terms of leveraging the technology and the building, we really wanted to make sure that we were doing the best job that we could to drive the customer experience. So, analytics was an opportunity for us to expand the things that we were doing in a much more systematic way to make sure every fan felt like there was a customized experience for them and that we are really marketing to them and what they were looking for. For our season ticket holders in particular, we wanted to make sure that when they came to games and interacted with their service representative or anyone else from the team, that they felt like the experience really spoke to them and their preferences and the like. So that was the main driver behind taking a bigger step into the realm of analytics.

hrh media: How have you and your team been able to turn the data that you’ve collected from the scanned and tracked tickets into a tailored fan experience? Can you provide me with an example?

That’s something that we’re continuing to develop. A great example, in particular for season ticket holders, but really for anyone in the building, we run a program where if you purchase something at a concession stand or at one of our retail stores you can scan your ticket during the checkout process and get entered in for a chance to win courtside seats. What this allows us to do is capture the ticket barcode information and ultimately match that back to the account. So we can see what account purchased the various items for that transaction. We start to see trends around what people are buying and when they’re buying.

The season ticket holders are folks that are coming to the majority of our games, so we can get a feel for when they typically purchase merchandise throughout the season and what their preferences are in terms of concession stands. A great example we like to point to is if a family of season ticket holders is taking frequent trips to Cold Stone at halftime on the terrace level, if we see that they have a preference for Cold Stone, that’s something our service rep can use the next time they want to visit that season ticket holder in their seats. Maybe they’re surprising them with Cold Stone, bringing it to them just as a gesture to say that we really appreciate them being a season ticket holder and everything they do for us. I think that’s the small example but that’s the type of thing that we continue to do.

Right now we’re working through taking all that information that we’re collecting from scanned tickets, putting it into a format that’s actionable for our sales team and service team and ultimately delivering that.

hrh media: Retaining season ticket holders year after year can be pretty tricky for sports franchises. Have you been able to solve this riddle with somewhat of a success rate using data analytics?

I don’t know that anyone will ever solve the riddle completely, but I think for us, we’ve done a good job of being as smart as we can about how we target season ticket holders and how we focus on retention. We’ve done a lot in that area in terms of predictive modeling and trying to understand the biggest drivers behind the renewal decision for a season ticket holder and ultimately boiling that down to things that are actionable and then working with our service team to act upon those things.

A great example is ticket utilization, which I think for everybody is pretty intuitive, but we’ve really focused on that and what we found is that season ticket holders that aren’t really utilizing their tickets to a certain level are ultimately ones that are at risk not to renew. We’ve built an entire campaign throughout the season about touching those season ticket holders that aren’t utilizing their tickets and doing it in a way that we can be preemptive so we’re not finding out that they felt like the value wasn’t there for them because they didn’t use their ticket throughout the season.

Instead we’re trying to jump on that if they’ve missed one or two games, and if we escalate the actions we take as they go further into the season and not utilizing their tickets. I think for us it varies from team to team in terms of how the structure is set up for a service representative and the amount of accounts they deal with. For us, one of our service representatives could have anywhere between 400 to 500 accounts, so it’s really difficult to build a personal relationship with each one of those people, so what can we do to help our service representatives cut through all of their accounts to really get the biggest impact and focus on those people who need or want the additional action—that’s where we try to use predictive analytics to help us do that.


hrh media: Are these actions that you’re taking being noticed and appreciated by the ticket holders?

I think so. For us, with ticket utilization, it’s really making sure that season ticket holders feel like they’re getting the value for their tickets in whatever way that means. It may mean selling their tickets for games they can’t attend or it could just mean giving them away to a client, colleague or friend, but we’re just trying to make sure that we’re proactively driving those actions and making sure that it’s not something that the season ticket holder looks back when it’s up for renewal; and in retrospect says, well if I’d done things differently maybe I would have gotten the value, but I didn’t.

I do think they appreciate it and I think they’ll see that as we continue to go deeper and deeper into how we’re leveraging our data I think they’ll continue to see a better experience game after game.

hrh media: What does the future look like for customer data analysis within your franchise?

I think the future is really exciting for us. We do a lot of really interesting things now and I think we’re a team that’s really trying to push the envelope and be more advanced in terms of how we’re applying analytics. Even from our standpoint I think there are so many things that we can continue to do, there’s a lot of unstructured data that we’re really not leveraging as well as we could, and social media is a whole frontier of opportunity for us in utilizing data. Even just outside of social media when we talk about unstructured data, a lot of communications with our season ticket holders are happening through email correspondence, text messaging and those types of things. So how do we really leverage those kinds of conversations because right now without any type of text mining application, we’re really not able to maximize the insights we can draw. We do a lot of research here and even with surveys we see the open-ended responses and we try to leverage that as best as we can. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there in terms of text mining and just utilizing unstructured data better, whether it’s in our predicted models or just driving key insights for our management.

How United Airlines’ Metrics Helped Form A Collaborative Employee Culture

In this interview, Brendan Neuman, Human Capital Metrics Analyst at United Airlines, shares how United Airlines redefined itself as a workforce, and ultimately as an airline, after its merger with Continental Airlines. The corporation was faced with blending two different subsidiaries into a balanced company with a healthy culture and a collaborative work environment.

hrh media: How has the use of human resources metrics changed or shaped United Airlines hiring process?

We relied on metrics extensively throughout the process of merging United and Continental Airlines. We paid especially close attention to ensure that the newly merged company looked like its two subsidiaries in terms of gender and ethnicity demographics. We developed weekly dashboards to provide status updates for each of our operating and corporate divisions.

hrh media: In an industry that has weathered a fair share of setbacks in recent years, would you say United has prospered thanks to its employee-centric culture? If so, how has this culture been achieved and maintained?

We have invested significant effort in forming the culture of the new company. This has been accomplished through a variety of engagement and culture surveys conducted throughout the business. I think our focus on getting the culture right and emphasizing a safe and collaborative work environment will provide us with a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace.

We track the evolving culture with a measurement model that involves looking not only at how favorably people evaluate tenets of the culture, but how consistently groups of individuals share their perceptions of the culture. We plan to continue this approach of measuring the strength and consistency of perceptions over time.

hrh media: Often when employee feedback is aggregated into groups, the measurement can become skewed. How does United Airlines wade through the data to determine the perception of any one employee toward the company or their job?

We are most interested in exploring how groups of individuals perceive the company or their jobs. We have tested a variety of group agreement statistics which allow us to understand how representative a group mean is for the majority of its members. In general, if we determine that members of one group responded very differently from each other, we have less confidence in the average of their responses.

hrh media: Would you mind briefly explaining United’s group agreement indices and how it has been applied throughout the organization?

We have done comparative analyses using a few of the most common indices for group agreement including “rwg” and the standard deviation. What we have settled on, and what I will be presenting at the Summit is a statistic called “awg”. This statistic allows us to compare the variance observed within a group relative to the maximum possible variance, given the group size and group mean.

What that means from a practical perspective is that we can provide our internal customers and HR partners with some context to the data we’re reporting. Prior to using this approach, our customers often wondered if the data were skewed by the effect of one or two extreme scores. Now we can objectively tell them if that is the case.

hrh media: Looking forward, how do you feel the use of human resources metrics will impact your staffing processes as well as those implemented industry wide?

We are currently designing measurement solutions to gather feedback on all individuals who apply to work for United. We are interested not only in the efficacy of our recruiting and selection processes, but also want to develop a benchmark for United’s brand as both an employer and an airline.