Ed Ackerman on making an exceptional customer experience the 'chief' objective
In a nutshell
- Qover has appointed Ed Ackerman as its first Chief Customer Officer.
- Over the past year, Ed has launched several initiatives focused on serving Qover’s business partners as Vice President of Customer Success.
- In his new role as CCO, Ed will also be in charge of Qover’s end user experience, driving ‘a sense of excellence around what we do with customers’.
Ed Ackerman, formerly Qover’s VP on Customer Success, is up for the challenge. He’s been tapped as our first Chief Customer Officer in order to further enhance the end-to-end customer experience.
While this means tackling multiple parts of our embedded insurance orchestration platform, like helping business clients achieve their goals and making the claims process more enjoyable for end users, Ed is looking beyond that.
‘If we can shift what the insurance industry does as a norm in the process – even a tiny little bit – that will be a fantastic outcome,’ he says. ‘And I think insurtechs can dare to dream.’
We sat down with Ed to talk more about what he plans to tackle first in his new role, what success looks like and his unofficial new title at Qover.
When you joined Qover last year as our VP of Customer Success, you said that what you’d like to see us do more is ‘show our customers – with our actions rather than our words – that we’re able to do even more for them on their journey and exceed their expectations’. With an increased focus on customer success over the past year, do you think we’ve been able to achieve that?
My first year at Qover has been very focused on learning more about how our customers interact, how they operate and what they’re looking to achieve, and then trying to address some of those needs.
We now survey our business partners twice per year to really understand what they're looking for from us, what's working well and what's not.
Another thing we’ve focused on is understanding the reasons we’re rejecting claims from end customers. Can we optimise that so less people are declined and more people are happier with their outcomes?
The last example I'll give of an action we've taken is more of an internal one, which was organising our Customer Experience Workshop. This was a cross-functional workshop we ran last summer to truly understand our customer journey, where we're doing things well and where we can make improvements.
It’s a particularly fond memory from my time at Qover so far. We took people from all different teams in the company off site, and it was the first time we really got everyone around the table talking about the customer experience.
These three things are just the start of the journey really – there's a lot more to do.
You were Qover’s first VP of Customer Success and now you’re our first Chief Customer Officer. What a pioneer! But in all seriousness, could you explain a bit more about how this position came to be and how it reflects Qover’s continued evolution?
The Chief Customer Officer is a relatively recent role globally. I think it reflects the gap in meeting customer outcomes as companies scale and grow, particularly in tech.
At Qover, we're a relatively small organisation, but the management team decided that we needed to remain very focused on our customers and become more than the sum of our parts.
If you're a customer, you're not buying a finance interaction or a brilliant sales pitch or that individual claim. You're buying all of those things and more for a continued period of time.
And that's really what this role is all about: making sure that those outcomes and expectations you have as a business customer or end user are very much catered for the longer term and that we grow and evolve with you.
On the inside of the organisation, that means doing a lot of work cross-functionally to insert the voice of the customer across the business.
At Qover, we essentially have two types of customers: our business partners and their end users. How does your new role encompass both of these stakeholders?
As the VP of Customer Success, I looked after our business customers. As Chief Customer Officer, I'll also be looking after our end users, which are currently managed under the customer care and claims teams.
From a customer care perspective, that means meeting those users’ expectations when they contact us to find out more about their insurance policy or ask questions around how we service them.
When making a claim, users will get in touch with us and our claim officers will assist them through that process to closure.
READ MORE: The benefits of insourcing claims & customer care →
As part of the customer success piece, we retain our interactions with business clients in terms of their experience distributing insurance policies and how we can make sure their objectives are met.
How will you use customer feedback to shape the company's strategy and offerings?
We use a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess the quality of our claims and transactional satisfaction scores around our user interactions.
As I mentioned before, we introduced an NPS survey for our business partners, which means we now have three sources of survey feedback from all of our customers.
My goal in unifying our customer success, care and claims teams is to also unify that feedback so that we have a clearer picture of what both our business customers and end users want from us. That way we can start to track trends and build insights from the data: what’s common between these stakeholders, where there are deviations and how we can maximise outcomes for both segments.
We asked you this question about your previous role, so we’d be remiss not to ask again: As Qover’s first Chief Customer Officer, what are your main priorities in the first 90 days? And to add to that, are there any challenges you foresee along the way?
My first priority is to make sure that the group has a clear vision and mission that align with the company's goals, but are also unique to this customer group. And that will involve making sure that I get to know the team much better than I do today.
Relationships really matter to me, so getting to know the extended group that I’m taking on – their hobbies, passions and sharing mine – will make sure that we can get to that vision piece sooner.
And then lastly, we're going to grade ourselves on where we want to be and where we are today, and what changes, fixes and shifts we need to undertake to get there.
I think the main challenge is doing all of this change work while keeping the lights on – so making sure we still deliver great outcomes for our customers even as we start this new process.
What does success look like and how will you know when you've achieved it?
Success for me in this role and for this function is that we have a sense of excellence around what we do with customers.
We don’t need to be the best at everything, but I would love to pick out some key moments that matter to our customers and really make that the Qover difference.
I think specific platitudes are always better than generic ones! In insurance, people don’t necessarily want to make a claim.
They might feel like making a claim will ruin their future premium price or that it’s just too painful to even get started. Wouldn't it be amazing if people actually enjoyed making a claim and felt that that was an enriching experience?
On the business side, we always speak to our partners about their business goals and their north star metrics. It would be nice to take that one step further and make sure that they actually feel the impact we're making together on their company goals, even outside of their insurance program.
Beyond that, if we can shift what the insurance industry does as a norm in the process – even a tiny little bit – that will be a fantastic outcome. And I think insurtechs can dare to dream.
If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower and how would you use it to help Qover's customers?
If I were a superhero, I would love to be able to fly. But I don't know how useful it is – just lording it up, flying over customers and impressing them. I think that would probably frustrate them if anything.
So bringing it back to what we do here, I think 20/20 foresight – a clear vision of the future – would be amazing in the insurance sector.
It would help us get to premiums that are the right size for end individuals because we'd have a really clear sense of their risk profile. It would make the experience better.
Do you plan to upgrade your office to a throne and demand that all Qover employees address you as ‘Your Majesty’?
As a Brit I must correct you there, it's actually ‘Your Royal Highness’.