PetSure: an approach to customer service that’s bound to get tails wagging
If you’re one of the 69% of Australian households that own a pet, you probably know PetSure. Pete Iannetta is Head of Customer Service and he explains how PetSure is helping its pet parent customers at a time of immense upheaval.
How have the recent floods in NSW & QLD affected your customers and the service you provide to them?
We have many customers in the impacted areas and as we have done previously, PetSure has been quick to contact almost 200,000 customers in these affected areas and let them know of additional support and services we can provide to them and their pets during these challenging times. For instance, providing support to cover emergency boarding for pets that have been displaced even if your policy doesn’t include that cover, fast-tracking claims and more support for vulnerable customers facing financial hardship.
Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. Have you seen this increase further during Covid? How have you adapted your capacity?
Prior to COVID we were already seeing pet ownership rates increase and yes, COVID has accelerated that trend as more people are finding themselves at home more and able to care for and spend time with a pet, particularly in those early days, weeks and months to ensure a successful transition into the home. So it’s been incredibly exciting for us to see so many more cats and dogs finding good homes during this time. For PetSure, it’s also meant we’ve needed to accelerate our growth to support more pet parents. We’ve been in a constant recruitment mode for the past 1-2 years to stay ahead of customer demand as well as amped up our engagement focus to make sure we live up to being the workplace of choice for pet lovers.
You operate customer service across 2 countries. What has been your experience of offshore?
The question I constantly ask myself and my team, no matter where they are, is what is the customer experience we’re giving and how can we make it better.
And I can genuinely say our offshore teams have played a key role in our success.
I’ve spent a lot of effort, as have our leaders over the last 1-2 years, ensuring there’s an aligned focus and operating rhythm between my teams here in Australia and my offshore teams. We have daily huddles with my leaders in both countries talking about the same challenges, same opportunities, sharing insights and ideas and it’s paying dividends. Our customer feedback channels have never been so consistently positive with very specific comments from our customers about the service they have received across my whole team and particularly those overseas, whether it be the empathy of our frontline team members in difficult times for our customers through to the clarity in explaining how our policies work or the decision we made about their claim. And it’s even more amazing to think we’re achieving these outcomes given the local challenges our offshore teams have faced during COVID, constantly changing lockdowns and social conditions, home schooling for almost all of that time – I have great respect and pride for their resilience and dogged focus on helping me to keep moving the business forward. So as we continue to evolve and improve our service experience, I’m excited to do it in partnership with our offshore teams.
How do you leverage technology to provide a great CX?
I’m a big believer in technology as an enabler and fortunate to be working for a company that has that same belief. In addition to the core technologies we need to run the contact centre, we’ve also been investing in technologies such as speech analytics to help us understand the true underlying experience our customers are receiving and to help us to manage risk from employee well-being and compliance perspectives. We’re also actively looking at automation of certain processes so our people can be reserved for greater moments of need for our customers, as well as applying the same technologies to simplify and speed-up frontline processes for our people. It’s a big focus for PetSure and we will always be looking for those technologies that add value to the employee and customer experiences.
Which metric(s) matter most to PetSure’s customer service leadership team?
Firstly, my part of the business is all about people, so at the top of the list for my team and I is employee engagement – creating and maintaining an environment that our people want to be a part of. My Team Leaders have small enough spans and layers to ensure that they have the time to hold their huddles and team meetings, conduct regular coaching and development sessions and add that layer of fun that you just have to have, especially in a contact centre! Next to engagement is what we call “Right First Time”. This is our take on customer effort, and helps concentrate my team’s focus, effort and capability to really understanding what each customer wants and needs and simply making those things happen. And it’s not just for the frontline teams, my quality team, my process team, everyone rallies around this metric so that we’re all questioning if we’ve got it right for our customer experience.
We don’t fixate on the traditional productivity metrics and they aren’t on the frontline scorecards, I’d much rather we spend more time on a call or email getting it right so the customer doesn’t have to call us back or be drawn into a lengthy or convoluted process.
And of course we focus on NPS. We get a lot of insight from our NPS program to help us identify customer hotspots and ensure that we’re giving our customers the service they expect and hopefully even better than that!