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3 Secrets to USAA’s Success

Posted on June 29, 2012 , by Steve Bernstein
CATEGORIES: Case Examples

Neff Hudson, AVP Emerging Channels at USAA shared some of their secrets to success in their customer (“member”) experience strategy at last week’s CXPA event.    “Doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do” is a core part of USAA’s strategy.  Therefore, conversations generally don’t start with internal measures or processes:  decision making at USAA starts with customer evidence.
Like the rest of the Financial Services industry, USAA is going through a major change.  Mobile will become its largest channel by next year.  The challenge is that for every live customer call – where there is an obvious opportunity to build loyalty – there are 20 visits to their digital sites.  The Financial services industry is highly competitive, so they need to reserve the humans for the touchpoints that matter most.  Everything else must be delivered exceptionally well through cross-channel customer experiences.
To accomplish this, USAA operates with these 3 pillars:

  1. Know our members: The ability to create personalized solutions starts with products “pushing” information, and then often move to segmentation strategies that are more about” pulling” information and driving conversations.  Ultimately, USAA strives to be member centric, where they can anticipate needs.
    As an example, Neff talked about a change of address procedure.  Instead of just changing the address, they can provide a tailored package that deals with this important life event more holistically.
  2. Organize around members:  Instead of being “product” focused, provide solutions to members that meet their needs now, and in the future, from a single point of contact.
    As an example, when a member called to add a car to their call insurance it was thought to be a good opportunity to talk about the loan.  But this is too late in the cycle – USAA wants to be more proactive. So now they provide auto-buying advice that covers all the aspects of the car buying experience.  In one case, a customer inquired about loans for a used car and USAA was able to get the same car brand new and delivered to the member’s home.
  3. Make it about a bigger mission:  Know what the member’s needs really are.  As an example, a recent tornado leveled a neighborhood.  Instead of just sending a claims adjuster to work with their members, they provided advance payment on same day it was reported to enable customers to get into hotels and feel some confidence.  Claims are settled completely within 7 days.  And now, dealing with cross-channel experience, 12% of initial loss reports are completed online.

Looking to the future, Neff believes digital channels will certainly have the opportunity to be more empathetic and provide an emotional connection with customers.  For evidence, just think about IBM’s Watson winning at Jeopardy, a game that has many linguistic nuances and even humor injected into questions.  For now, solid customer-centric design based on anticipating customer needs is certainly effective.