Part II of Q&A with experience leader Ingrid Lindberg


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Last week I shared the first part of my Q&A with Ingrid Lindberg, CIGNA’s Customer Experience Officer.

Today I’m sharing the final half of our conversation.

How do you quantify the impact of customer experience projects and programs at CIGNA?
In 2009 we started tracking outcomes using internal and external metrics. We track outcomes, not the experience initiatives themselves.

Honestly, everything we do boils down to just two things: are we making health care understandable and easy to obtain. So we ask two questions on all our surveys: Was it helpful? Was it easy?

We have a strong financial infrastructure at CIGNA. I can say ‘hey finance guys can you help me work this backwards?’ and I rely on that.

For example, I can measure our goal of making things more understandable with a correlated code in our call centers. Another example: when we changed our enrollment guide we measured against satisfaction post-enrollment. We look at satisfaction and then drive that back to a decrease in call volumes and increase in service usage.

Outcomes are measured project by project. We know we can’t win by doing it all at once!

How is customer experience viewed within the C-suite at your organization?
David Cordani, our CEO, was very clear when I came to CIGNA in 2007: ‘We hired you to break everything, make change, to inspire change.’

The company had a long history in customer engagement, but when I came no one was sure what to call my role. We were just starting to think of individuals (vs. employer buyers) in health care.

Our leadership, our culture knows that customers will change how health care works. To be successful we need to bring millions of individuals in as constituents. David stood up at a senior leader meeting on my second day and said ‘Ingrid is going to tell us how to treat our customers and you’re going to listen to her!’

We set two goals:
1) Bring individual customers in as a constituent, treat them as people.
2) Create loyalty before they become a buyer.

Over time, leadership at CIGNA has evolved regarding the impact of customer experience. Many have had their own “holy moley!” moment when they’ve realized that this is part of the bigger picture, that it does indeed strengthen performance.

Some groups of consumers will require years — maybe a decade — of building trust before they’ll buy a large-scale health care service like ours. How can we NOT invest in their experience? Our top leaders get this completely.

If you were looking back on yourself at the beginning of your customer experience journey at CIGNA, what advice would you give you?
I was impatient. I thought I could do this in two or three years. It’s a three to five year plan in this industry.

I sprinted really hard. In health care there is no understanding of the role of the customer. . . it’s humbling how hard a lift that is. We’re just starting to learn who the customer is.

What customer experience resources (books, blogs, etc) do you turn to for insights/opinions?
I troll everything. Forrester, Gartner, Peppers & Rogers, Bruce Temkin, Steve LaVelle out of IBM’s practice, Morris Pentel’s Customer Experience work in Europe…YOU, of course. (editor’s note: can you hear me smiling, Ingrid?)

I think everyone should have five to ten voices that work for them, challenge them – and keep those voices as an inner circle. Find the people who are experts in the piece of the business you own. If, like me, you drive operations strategy, pick those experts. If your role is service, if your role is process improvement, pick those people.

What do you think will shape leadership decisions about customer experience in 2011?
I’m afraid that if the economy doesn’t materially improve, customer experience may move back to the background in some organizations. Not at CIGNA, but those organizations that have not achieved the transformation to “way of doing things” – may slide back in favor of other objectives.

Some CEOs will just get it. They see the impact of customer experience in other companies, and they want to win better performance themselves. Laggards can be influenced with boatloads of testimonials of impact – they’ll do “top 10 proven tactics” if they do anything at all.

I’d like to thank Ingrid for sharing her insights and ask you, readers, what do you think will shape leadership decisions about customer experience in 2011?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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