#CXPA13 Day One Live Blog: Mary Lee, AAA Northern California, Nevada, and Utah.


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The Customer Experience Professionals Association annual Member Insight Exchange kicks off this morning in San Diego, CA, at the Hotel del Coronado.

The final session that I’ll be blogging about today is by Mary Lee, Director of Member Experience at AAA Northern California, Nevada, and Utah. She’ll be sharing lessons learned around building a new VOC framework.

AAA is a federation of separate AAA clubs. AAA NorCal started in 1900 and has 4.2 million members.

The AAA Member Experience Journey

Services with membership: travel, emergency roadside service, homeowners insurance, auto insurance. AAA used to be the only place where you could get these services.

The AAA Brand: people helping people.

Competitors: Allstate, USAA, Geico, State Farm, Farmers, Progressive, General Insurance. AAA market share is about 20%.

With great brand power comes great responsibility.”

Member Promises:

  • We will keep you safe and secure. (auto insurance)
  • We will offer you the right product at the right time. (long-term, loyal members)
  • We will reward your loyalty. (aspirational; example is birthday card that Southwest sends)
  • We will provide helpful and knowledgeable service. (roadside service)

Most important to remember: one member, one AAA. All that the customer cares about is that they deal with AAA, not with NorCal or SoCal clubs. It’s all one club. Customers must see that employees represent all of AAA, which is often difficult to do. The club is separate from the insurance company, but that’s all seamless to a member.

For their employees, they encourage them to think about the experience as if they were the member. Does that make sense for you?

Why focus on customer loyalty?

  • Satisfaction alone is not enough.
  • Increases in NPS proven to tie to financial results.

Used to have a very silo’d approach to listening to members. They have since transformed to a single listening system, a single source of truth. From there, they then look at results by type of transaction and by geography with the same type of feedback but with a clear window into the customer experience from start to end of lifecycle.

There are 96 offices in the AAA NorCal footprint. They did a Member Experience Roadshow to enable all employees to know: how they’re doing, what NPS is and why it matters, and what the employee’s role is in delivering that experience. They also use it to gather feedback and build connections.

Where is AAA NorCal on their journey?

  • Well on their way
  • Incentives and annual goals tied to the relationship survey (result: people are more interested, for better or worse)
  • Impact on member experience is part of many, though not all, conversations
  • Recognition that such an evolution doesn’t happen overnight (they started July 2010)


  • Software issues
  • Obsessive interest in the score
  • Scores led to “data chasing”
  • Building muscle memory

Lessons learned:

  • Change management is critical element to include in the effort.
  • Constant and consistent leadership support is essential.
  • It takes a village.

If you focus on the customer, it changes the tenor of the conversation that you have with people.”

Thanks, Mary! Great job. Good luck with your continued journey.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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