Industry Voice: Cultural shift drives visible improvement

Customer retention focus

Sarka Halas
clock • 3 min read
Industry Voice: Cultural shift drives visible improvement

Emma Vaughan from SimplyBiz shares how cultural change and a focus on customer retention led to a significant improvement in retention.

The protection industry is undergoing a shift, with brokers placing a greater emphasis on both regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction. This trend is exemplified by SimplyBiz, which has increased its attention on Distribution Quality Management (DQM) in a strategic move that comes in response to the Financial Conduct Authority's growing regulatory oversight and the introduction of the Consumer Duty.

Emma Vaughan, Head of Protection and Health Solutions at SimplyBiz, speaking at Legal and General's 2024 Business Quality Awards (BQAs), says that cultural changes within the business was a large part of getting individuals to understand sales quality and how to implement that with advisors and customers.

She says for SimplyBiz, which picked up the ‘Outstanding Service Provider Performance' award at the BQAs, education had the biggest impact.

"Engaging with the membership through scheduled activity, whether that be face-to-face appointments, digital activity online, and through our flagship roadshows allowed us to talk about what DQM actually means. We were also able to really understand what providers were looking for," she says.

The turning point

Vaughan joined the team in 2021 and since then, DQM has become even more important for SimplyBiz with the revamping of their quality review process and moving distribution quality to sit within Emma's team. Emma further delivered heightened focus on DQM with the appointment in 2023 of Kelly Phillips as Business Development Quality Manager, who helped to augment processes with the firm.

"That was a big turning point and that has been the biggest shift when it came to our advisors. The number of customers that we were retaining changed dramatically. At the beginning of 2022, we were retaining around 68% of our policies, we are now retaining 83%. That is a massive jump in the space of 12 months," says Vaughan.

"Once the business started to see what changes were being made, and how it was impacting the bottom line, everybody got on board with what we needed to do. Everybody rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in," she says.

A focus on engagement delivers results

The firm has been increasing engagement to ensure that more firms put quality at the centre of what they do more often. SimplyBiz run a series of protection events every year.  As part of these, they have a compliance session which focuses on retention as a benefit, and the firm is running a sales quality series.

"We work with different providers to look at sales quality and what that means to them, and what the call to actions are for our members. But how do we build on that and how do we decide what are areas we need to focus on?" says Vaughan.

"We follow that through by creating business plans and working together closely to make sure everybody is on board with the journey. Once we all agree with the business plan, then we can drive that forward and make an impact," she adds.

Legal & General's 2024 Business Quality Awards, hosted at London's Chartered Accountants Hall on 21 May, celebrated the protection industry's advisers and businesses who have gone above and beyond to help their clients, delivering exceptional levels of customer service and retention of business.

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