Providing a customer-centric service
A Zurich case study

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Page 5: Implementation of a customer-centred strategy

Market research showed that customers want one thing more than anything else 'help'. To deliver help Zurich has developed the solution, HelpPoint. HelpPoint is the name Zurich uses to describe the many ways in which Zurich delivers what customers need when they need it.

Zurich refocused and adapted its existing HelpPoint service to provide an all-embracing help service. HelpPoint was originally set up in 1997 as a resource to support motor insurance claims, including, in some countries, a dedicated recovery service and nationwide repair centres. In 2001 it was extended to become a free telephone service for all types of claims, not just for motor.

Today Zurich HelpPoint provides advice and service across all dealings with customers not just claims. Through working helpfully with customers on every aspect of insurance, Zurich is able to provide innovative solutions to customer problems and a first-class level of service. HelpPoint goes further than providing a range of solutions for customers. It represents an attitude and way of working with customers.

Relaunching HelpPoint

Development took place in three stages:

  1. Upgrading and re-launching existing services that were already customer-centric under the HelpPoint name.
  2. Expanding HelpPoint into new divisions of Zurich. This included working with insurance brokers and other partners.
  3. Developing and launching innovative new customer-focused services.

The strapline that Zurich uses to promote HelpPoint is 'delivering when it matters'.  This means that each country and business unit within Zurich identifies the best ways in which they help their customers. For example, these might include providing financial planning or risk management services. They also included special product features such as providing a courtesy car within 60 minutes if a customer”s car is damaged in an accident or replacement locks if a customer”s keys were lost.

Other features included helpful online tools and calculators to help customers understand how much insurance cover they need. Each of these 'help' ideas were then shared across the whole of Zurich. Teams began to design new ways to help customers based on ideas from Zurich's people around the globe. A new generation of products has now been developed. To date (2010), over 170 new HelpPoints have been created to give Zurich customers better service.

Measuring effectiveness

Zurich believes that these changes will lead to:

  • customer loyalty and retention
  • increased value of the Zurich brand
  • market leadership (i.e. being the Number 1 supplier of insurance)
  • financial returns (e.g. higher profits)
  • energised employees (who suggest new ideas and enjoy their work).

Zurich has also set in place measures to track and evaluate the effectiveness of the HelpPoint programme. These include customer satisfaction surveys and measuring the volume of repeat business by existing customers. These are further methods of market research.

Gaining employee commitment

In order to make the strategy a success it has been essential to get managers and employees to 'buy into' the change. This has involved training sessions, leadership meetings and web conferences for all managers.

Other employees have been included through awareness raising workshops, online training courses, features on the company intranet, emails and posters.  A number of employees are designated as champions for the 'HelpPoint' strategy. They are provided with extra training and responsibility to share ideas about being customer-centred.

Zurich | Providing a customer-centric service