With Salesforce, we can ensure we have the right conversation with the right customer at the right time. It helps us create more personalised journeys.”

- Darrell Sansom, Chief Marketing Officer at AXA UK
 

A flood. A burglary. A systems failure. Any of these incidents can have a catastrophic impact on a small business. AXA Business Insurance protects small to medium-sized companies, sole traders, and self-employed people against such events with a range of insurance products that safeguard their livelihoods.

Although business insurance has traditionally been dominated by brokers, the direct market is growing rapidly and AXA Business Insurance wants to be at the forefront of this evolution. The company is already a major player in the insurance industry, with 220 employees and a turnover of £125 million. “More people are choosing to go direct than ever before, and our ambition is to be the number one in the market by 2021,” said Darrell Sansom, Chief Marketing Officer at AXA UK.

To achieve this goal, the insurer needs to ensure its customer feedback ratings are impeccable. “Digital referrals will be key to future growth – people value the opinions of existing customers far more than any marketing materials we can produce,” explained Sansom. “To achieve a good rating, we need to deliver a personalised, omni-channel service. Small business owners are pushed for time; we need to make things as fast and easy for them as possible.” And that means making things as fast and easy as possible for customer-facing teams.

With four internal systems capturing information on different types of policies, AXA Business Insurance’s customer service advisors lacked a unified view of customers. “There was a gap in customer intimacy,” said Jacqueline Cowden, Head of Business Delivery at AXA. “People felt we didn’t always know and understand their business. We needed to stop having product-based conversations and start having more customer-focused conversations.”

Greater knowledge, better service

To support this shift in culture, AXA Business Insurance needed a single CRM system that could provide a 360-degree view of its customers. “Salesforce was ahead by miles,” said Cowden. “Not only is the platform extremely flexible, but it also maps to our customer-centric goals.”

Around 150 people in service and sales roles at AXA Business Insurance now use Service Cloud on a daily basis to provide a joined-up, personal experience to thousands of customers. By integrating Salesforce with the company’s communications systems and digital policy management platform, advisors can see at a glance who is calling, every policy they own, recent interactions, and feedback scores.

They can also see a customer’s online activity and help them complete any outstanding transactions without having to start the process from scratch. “The more you know about a customer, the easier it is to have a productive conversation,” explained Sansom. “Our customers no longer have to repeat themselves, and if they’ve had a negative experience in the past, advisors can understand that and try to change their perception.” If a team member is off sick or on holiday, a colleague can pick up the conversation where they left off, ensuring customers still receive a rapid and informed response.

A strong selling point

With a 360-degree view of the customer, advisors can not only provide a more prompt and personalised response to queries and policy updates, but also cross-sell and upsell more effectively. “We were spending a lot of time trying to win new business, yet there were opportunities going untapped with existing customers,” said Cowden. “The cost and effort involved in attracting a new customer is much higher than selling to an existing one.”

To simplify cross-selling, AXA Business Insurance has developed a ‘may need’ dashboard in Salesforce. This enables advisors to highlight any additional products that a customer might be interested in based on their business type and associated risks. This dashboard also helps shape the content of marketing campaigns. “Salesforce has addressed many of the issues that prevented advisors from hitting their sales targets; they think it’s brilliant,” said Cowden.

The right customer conversations at the right time

As well as improving sales and customer service quality, AXA Business Insurance has also increased efficiency by eliminating time-consuming manual tasks. For example, managers can now check performance against service level agreements through real-time reports. “We used to spend half a day each week filling out spreadsheets; it’s now all automatically reported in Salesforce,” said Cowden.

Processing no claims discounts for van insurance has also been massively simplified, freeing up four hours a day. Van insurance is one of AXA Business Insurance’s core offerings along with public liability, professional indemnity, and shop cover.

“With Salesforce, we can ensure we have the right conversation with the right customer at the right time,” said Sansom. “It helps us create more personalised journeys whether it involves sales, service, or marketing.”

This personalised approach is reflected in the company’s gold standard rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Feefo, an online review platform. “Customer feedback and referrals will be fundamental for growing our direct business. With Salesforce, we can help customers get the insurance they need when they need it,” said Sansom.

 
 
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