Dr. Oliver Kleine

CosmosDirekt, part of Generali

On the heels of our European expansion announcement, we invited one of our top European customers to provide perspective on their customer experience program. In this special blog post, Dr. Oliver Kleine, Manager “Organization” and Manager “Processes & Projects”, CosmosDirekt Insurance Group (Generali Germany), shares how CosmosDirekt is innovating their sales and service process by creating and winning through outstanding experiences for their customers and employees – and thus contributing significantly to the new overall group strategy in Germany.

CosmosDirekt is among the leading direct insurers in Germany. As part of Generali, the third largest insurance company in the world and one of the most significant players in the financial products market, we spend a lot of time focusing on how we can leverage customer experience to transform our corporate culture and grow our business.

In 2014, Generali as a whole realized that they needed to change from a “product factory” that relied on a distribution network, to a company with a cohesive customer centric focus. That realization led to the development of a global program focused around driving closed loop calls, engaging cross-functional teams to identify pain points, and empowering employees to take action to fix them.

At CosmosDirekt, we decided to take a step back and look at what our customers really wanted from us and how we could best give to them. Our customers today focus on value – they want a package with the maximum value at the best possible price. And these days they have almost full market transparency. We knew that in order to stay successful, we had to provide the smartest products and services with best-in-class customer service and operational excellence. These are the pillars of our group strategy – and CosmosDirekt has to deliver that in a direct business model.

This realization was the catalyst that caused us to completely rethink how we do our direct business – and to embed it into our group strategy. Since at the time there was no blueprint to lead our way, we had to create it on our own. So in 2017 we launched a pilot study to validate our future service model and principles of operation. The study focused on real customer interactions and provided us with an almost continuous NPS assessment of our interaction performance with the customer. Results showed that a potential uplift provided by the new operating model could be as high as 12 NPS point (meaning a boost of about 33% when compared to our current NPS performance).

Our “new” service/operating model focuses on a new type of customer interaction and workload management, as well as two leading organizational principles (“Selbststeuerung”, i.e. “autonomy” and “Kümmerer-Prinzip”, i.e. “look after principle”). In a nutshell, in day-to-day business each agent is now empowered to decide how best to serve the customer. Whenever there is direct interaction with a customer, our agents are required to fulfill the customer’s request, without passing them off to another operator or “level” for approval.

This new model is a huge change to the industry, where traditionally the structure of service operates in a way where customers are passed off to different tiers to have issues solved – creating organizational interfaces that are unnecessary at best, or, most of the time a nuisance to our customers. Now our customers will only speak to one person, who guides their entire experience and ensures that their needs are met – everything in the first “contact”.

Currently, we are preparing the actual roll-out of this “new” blue print – an endeavor that will start in June and will take almost two years until current structure with roughly 500 employees is completely transformed into the new model. This new sales and service model, coupled with an improved technological infrastructure and IT project management, will show our innovative power and ability to create outstanding experiences for our customers and employees – even in an environment with increased competition.