DWF is a global legal firm based in Manchester. We kicked off a new Key Account Programme with them last week. I’m delighted to be involved as it’s the first time Deep-Insight has helped a major international law firm establish a programme like this.
I’m really looking forward to working with Karen Lees and her team on this!
Project Coordinator, Deep-Insight
Deep-Insight and DWF partner on new Key Account Programme
Cork, 10 March 2020
Deep-Insight is delighted to partner with DWF on a new Key Account Programme. DWF is a global legal business headquartered in Manchester in the UK. It supplies services to the global legal market. It also provides complementary connected services to its clients. DWF’s purpose is to transform legal services through its people for its clients using three principal strategic objectives:
– understanding clients;
– engaging people;
– doing things differently.
Karen Lees is Head of Clients at DWF and has overall responsibility for success. “We are delighted to launch this new and improved client feedback programme. The new approach enables us to gather feedback from our clients globally. More important, it allows us to analyse the trends and act upon the findings. In line with best practice, we will be gathering both qualitative and quantitative data about our clients’ experience with us. Introducing an effective client feedback process ensures we have robust practices in place that allow for a measurable and scalable client-focused strategy.”
John O’Connor, CEO of Deep-Insight adds: “It’s an honour to be working with the UK’s largest listed law firm. DWF is also one of the most innovative legal firms, having been ranked 11th in Europe by the Financial Times. Today, DWF is more than just a UK law firm. It has already completed 15 acquisitions and has transformed itself into a global company operating across 14 different jurisdictions. This new Key Account Programme will help DWF understand how each client feels about its relationship with the firm.”
Deep-Insight is a leading European B2B Customer Experience (CX) company. It was founded in 2000 by a small team of ‘magicians’ with one goal: researching a way to read customers’ minds. Deep-Insight is headquartered in Cork, Ireland and has sales operation in the UK, Netherlands and Australia.
DWF is a global legal business providing Complex, Managed and Connected Services. It operates from 33 key locations with approximately 4,300 people. DWF became the first Main Market Premium Listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. DWF recorded revenues of £272 million in the year ended 30 April 2019. For more information, visit the website.
U P D A T E : I originally wrote “Who is Kim and where is she based?” in February 2020 just after Atos restructured itself into market-facing units. In June 2022, Atos announced that it was looking into an even more fundamental restructuring of the business. If the plan gets approval, a brand new company called Evidian will be spun out of Atos.
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Becoming more Customer-Centric
Don’t be confused by the title. This is actually a personal blog post about global organisational structures and why companies sometimes change them to serve the customer better. It’s about becoming more customer-centric. Honestly!
What triggered me to write this blog was today’s announcement of a new global organisation structure for Atos, a client of ours and a true leader in the IT and digital world. Atos is also a great case study in how leaders change their organisation to become more customer-centric.
Today, the new CEO of Atos Elie Girard announced a major global restructuring of its operations. You need to read between the lines to figure out how dramatic this change actually is. No longer will counties the UK, France, Germany and other countries be responsible for their own P&Ls. These will now be run by six global industry heads. The axis of power will shift and the shift is seismic.
Paris, 19 February 2020
Moving the Group to an Industry approach
As of 2020, the Group initiates a transformation, called “SPRING”, aiming at reshaping its portfolio of offerings, reinforcing its go-to-market approach, and setting-up an Industry led organisation. In this context, six Industries are created:
– Financial Services & Insurance
– Public Sector & Defense
– Telecom, Media & Technology
– Resources & Services
– Healthcare & Life Sciences
At the same time, the Company gathers Global Business Units into 5 Regional Business Units (RBU), each of them under a single leadership:
– North America
– Central Europe: former Germany, and Central & Eastern Europe excluding Italy
– Northern Europe: former United Kingdom & Ireland, and Benelux & The Nordics
– Southern Europe: former France, Iberia, and Italy
– Growing Markets: former Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa
It all sounds a bit complicated: GBUs, RBUs, Industries and so on. And yet Atos is moving to this new organisation structure in order to become more customer-centric. Here’s why.
Atos’ customers are typically large international organisations. To serve them better, Atos needs to move to a more global organisation structure, with deeper industry skills that can be deployed across international boundaries for the benefit of those clients. If your clients are global, you need to be global. This change is absolutely the right thing for Atos to do. That said, there will be challenges along the way. I’m only saying this because of personal experiences in a previous life.
Becoming more customer-centric requires four elements to be in place: Leadership, Strategy, Execution and Culture.
Atos has shown leadership and determination in making such a significant restructuring of its business. That leadership has driven a new strategy for delivering more effectively to global clients. Profit & Loss will no longer reside in each country. It will reside in an Industry or Global Business Unit (GBU). Now Atos is in the Execution phase. This is where the new organisational structure must work for both clients and employees. If Atos gets this right – and I’m sure it will – the culture of the new company will be changed utterly. And that’s good for Atos’ clients. The trick in the Execution phase is to involve both customers and employees in transformation. In other words, don’t just think of Execution in terms of ‘hard’ activities such as processes, technology, targets and KPIs. The human side of the equation is arguably more important. We call this Investing in the “Soft Side”.
A Personal Experience
More than 20 years ago I used to work in Andersen Consulting (since rebranded as Accenture) at a point when it was moving from a country-based organisation structure to a global GBU structure just like Atos is now doing. It was a painful experience for a number of reasons but – no different to Atos – it was absolutely the right thing to do. Accenture’s clients were large global organisations and that required Accenture to become a truly global organisation as well.
More than 100,000 Atos staff are now going through the very same restructuring process as I did all those years ago. For most, the impact will be small; for many it will have a significant impact on their lives and careers. As for Atos itself, the impact will be transformational.
So here’s a small personal perspective on what it’s like to be a small cog in a large wheel going through a global organisation restructure. In the late 1990s I was working with Accenture in Dublin, having transferred from its London office a few years earlier. My boss in Dublin was a guy called Mark Ryan. We both worked in the Irish Financial Services practice – our clients were the local banks and insurance companies. When the new organisational structure was announced, Mark called me in to his office. He said: “John, you’re no longer working for me. We’re now part of a European group within Financial Services. Your new boss is Kim Zimmer.”
Who the Hell is Kim and Where is She Based?
I don’t remember my exact response but it was probably something like “Who the hell is Kim and where is she based?” Mark laughed. At the time, I didn’t really see what was so funny.
After a while, Mark stopped laughing and said “Kim’s actually a guy. And he’s based in Oslo.”
As it turned out that Kim Zimmer was a wonderful man. Kim and his fellow partners had built a great business for Accenture in Norway based on long-standing relationships with senior leaders in the local banking and insurance community. For me, it was a great opportunity to work in a more European role (and spend more time on a plane). The European aspect of the work was great but the time spent in airports and hotels eventually got to me. A few years later I resigned from Accenture after a wonderful 13 years in what was always a very international company. I ended up in Deep-Insight where I’m still travelling but on a more manageable basis.
I was going to name this blog “Who Do I Need to Buy Drinks For?” One of the most important aspects for anybody in a large multinational company is knowing who to talk to in order to help you develop your own career. Mentoring is important in any large organisation and organisational changes disrupt the linkages that people build up over time. It’s something that senior managers need to bear in mind when they suddenly find themselves with a brand new team of people reporting into them. Being customer-centric also means being employee-centric.
Similarly, for staff, it’s important to get facetime with new bosses. You don’t need to ply them with alcohol but it is important to engineer the opportunity to spend time with them to understand what their motivations are and how you fit into their plans.
Peter Whitelaw and I wrote a book last year called Customer at the Heart. It was a fun experience interviewing CEOs and sales directors from large B2B companies across Europe and Australia.
One of the consistent messages we heard in those interviews was the importance of investing in the ‘Soft Side’. In other words, focusing on people as much as on process.
This is a really important point: if you are responsible for running a customer experience (CX) programme in your organisation, don’t under-estimate the importance of investing in ‘Soft Side’ activities if you want to generate real long-lasting results.
This means spending significant amounts of time with both your leadership and client-facing teams planning for success.
1. LEADERSHIP. The most important quadrant. Good Customer Experience (CX) programmes are ALWAYS led from the top
2. STRATEGY. Good CX programmes link customer, product, operational and organisational strategy explicitly to customer needs
3. EXECUTION. Success requires properly resourced CX teams that are brilliant at executing the Strategy
4. CULTURE. Finally, Customer Excellence must become integral to the DNA of the organisation: “it’s how we do things around here”
All four quadrants are necessary for a successful CX programme. The ‘Hard Side’ quadrants of Strategy and Execution are all about metrics and processes. ‘Hard Side’ activities lend themselves to key performance indicators (KPIs) and while the activities in these two quadrants are important and easily measurable, the quadrants of Leadership and Culture are actually more critical.
In our experience, Leadership is the most important quadrant while Culture is the most challenging. And yet, here’s the strange thing: in most CX programmes the ‘Soft Side’ is often overlooked and almost always under-resourced.
We have a different approach at Deep-Insight. We spend a lot more time with leadership teams and sales or account teams BEFORE we think about asking our customer’s clients for their views. If you want to run a customer survey in a hurry – “I need to get the results back by the end of the month…” – we’re probably not the organisation for you.
At Deep-Insight, the first 14-16 weeks of our process are critical and must be done properly. If you don’t invest the time up-front, your CX programme will not deliver the results that Management and the Board expect from it. More than likely, it will end in failure. It’s as simple as that.
Planning & Onboarding
The first phase in our approach is ‘Onboarding’ the organisation; The very first step is to secure the buy-in from the senior leadership team to the journey that they are about to embark on. And it is a journey because cultural change takes time. The second step is to onboard the rest of the organisation, primarily the sales and account teams. They own the customer relationships and if they don’t embrace the programme with gusto, the entire programme is at risk of being seen as a box-ticking exercise.
We typically work with dispersed sales and service teams in online workshops, and always with senior leadership support and involvement. These onboarding workshops are critical to driving up response rates and completion rates, as well as delivering action and improvements.
Insights to Action
The final phase is where the rubber hits the road. The online survey is complete. We have gathered some key insights from the feedback. Now it’s time to assemble the sales and account teams again. This time the focus is on their role in ‘Closing the Loop’ with the client. This is arguably the most critical part of the entire process. The account manager – sometimes with a member of the senior leadership team – must meet the client to discuss the feedback from all individuals in that client’s organisation.
The key outcome of these ‘Close the Loop’ meetings is agreement on the appropriate actions that are needed to improve and deepen the relationship. This gets built into the Account Planning process for that client.
Investing in the ‘Soft Side’
If your CX programme isn’t working the way you hoped it would, it’s probably because you’ve under-invested in the Leadership and Culture quadrants. The symptoms will be clear: disengaged account teams; limited insights; complete absence of action.
It’s a story about Leadership, first and foremost. But it’s also a story about Strategy, Execution and Culture – the key themes in a new book about how B2B leaders build customer-centric organisations.
Shay Walsh is the Managing Director of BT Ireland and was our guest speaker at a recent breakfast seminar at the Irish Management Institute. His topic was ‘Customer at the Heart’ and Shay told the story of how BT transformed itself into one of Ireland’s leading customer-centric companies. It wasn’t an overnight transformation but BT was lucky enough to have a series of MDs, all of whom shared the passion for putting the customer at the heart.
BT’s Irish operations are purely business-to-business (B2B) unlike its British Telecom parent which sells to both consumers and businesses.
Back in 2008, BT Ireland knew that it had poor or deteriorating relationships with some corporate and government customers but didn’t have an accurate assessment of the quality of these relationships. Chris Clark is the first leader in Shay’s story. He was the MD who first engaged Deep-Insight to find out.
The initial customer feedback was poor. Very poor. BT was in the ‘Danger Zone’ but Chris Clark now had a baseline from which to start rebuilding the business.
Shay Walsh was part of Chris’ leadership team and ran the Irish wholesale business. Chris and Shay had no easy fixes – there was no silver bullet. Just a lot of poor processes, unhappy customers and a leadership team determined to get to the bottom of the issues and do the right thing for their customers.
FROM BAD TO GOOD
Chris, Shay and the rest of the BT leadership team all believed passionately that the journey to financial success had to be built around a clear focus on the customer. They set about fixing what was broken and repairing the damaged client relationships. When Chris got promoted within BT, Graham Sutherland took over as MD. Progress was slow at first but Shay and other members of Graham’s leadership team finally got to grips with the underlying problems. One by one, they fixed them. They called the overall transformation programme ‘Customer First’. By 2011, BT had not only exited the ‘Danger Zone’ but had managed to get into the ‘Performing Zone’.
BUILDING AN EXECUTION CAPABILITY
Colm O’Neill accelerated BT’s ‘Customer First’ programme when he became MD of BT Ireland in 2011. He appointed a Customer Experience director called Mairead McSweeney who drove the programme with ruthless precision. Mairead initially assessed how customers felt about BT every six months before moving to an annual cycle. She put governance rules in place to ensure that the right individuals in the right clients were contacted. She made sure that the ‘Customer First’ programme could not be ‘gamed’.
Shay Walsh was now MD of Business Sales and he and the entire organisation (not just the sales team) were incentivised on the quality of the relationships they had with BT Ireland. Sales teams had targets set either at an individual level or at a team level. The senior leadership team had an overall BT Ireland target to hit for Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) before incentives were paid out.
FROM GOOD TO GREAT
Shay, Colm and Mairead now embarked on the second half of the BT customer journey – going from Good to Great. A different set of skills and capabilities was required because you can’t fix your way to greatness. Now it was down to the sales and service teams, working together, to identify where they could bring added value to clients. Then they made sure that the BT organisation could deliver on those promised value-adding improvements. In 2014, BT reached the ‘Unique Zone” – essentially the top 10% of Deep-Insight’s database.
THE ENEMY: COMPLACENCY
When you’re on top, the only way is down. The enemy is complacency. What was refreshing about Shay’s talk was his honesty about the fact that not everything is perfect in BT. They still get things wrong some of the time. The majority of customers may be extremely happy but Shay and his team are not resting on their laurels.
Shay Walsh became MD of BT Ireland in 2015. Since then, he has been pushing an agenda of continuous improvement in the company. There is no room for complacency in Shay’s organisation as the pressure in the telecommunications industry for better, cheaper services is relentless.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Absolutely, says Shay Walsh. BT Ireland is still in the ‘Unique Zone’ but more importantly, the company is in a profitable and extremely stable position. Shay’s final slide sums up the BT Ireland story and the benefits of putting the customer at the heart:
Long-lasting relationships with clients
Increasing revenues from those relationships
80% of next year’s target revenues already contracted
Extremely happy customers – 57% are Ambassador clients for Shay and his team
This is a summary of the BT Ireland story. To hear Shay Walsh tell the story in full, listen to the full podcast on the Irish Management Institute website.
If you want to find out more about the BT Ireland story or how to put the customer at the heart of your company, contact us today or click on the link below to read about how business leaders in BT and several other organisations have transformed their companies to become truly customer-centric:
HOW TO MAXIMISE THE ‘SHARE OF WALLET’ YOU RECEIVE FROM YOUR BROKERS
It’s all about ‘Share of Wallet’
Would you like to increase your broker revenues by up to 37%? If you’re in the insurance business, of course you would!
It’s all about Share of Wallet and the reason is simple. In the world of insurance, brokers and Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) have the power. They can choose to promote your insurance offering or they can recommend a product from another provider. Product managers and distribution directors in insurance companies have to fight for share of wallet. Anything that can help them increase their share of wallet is valuable.
If you would like to increase your broker revenues by up to 37%, our 5-year research programme will point you in the right direction. If your company sells through a distribution channel, the lessons are equally valuable.
5-year Research Programme
Some years ago, Deep-Insight conducted its own research into the quality of relationships that brokers have with their insurance providers. The results reveal a significant opportunity for insurance companies to increase the overall share of wallet from their brokers. Taking advantage of this opportunity could result in increasing broker revenues by up to 37%.
Our analysis is based on working with six broker divisions of our insurance clients over a 5-year period. These insurers span the general, life and health markets in the UK, Australia and Ireland.
The objective of the analysis was to determine what factors caused brokers to place more, or less, business with a particular insurance company. It also aimed to discover what those insurance firms needed to do to increase the share of wallet they enjoyed from particular broker groups. Until now, nobody has been able to quantify the impact of a good, or unique, relationship on the amount of business a broker is prepared to place with an insurer.
We gathered the views of more than 10,000 brokers as part of this 5-year research programme.
The findings were stark, but they reflect a major opportunity for insurance companies:
While most brokers had a good relationship with our insurance clients, fewer than 1 in 5 brokers viewed the relationship as ‘Unique’
In fact, 1 in 4 brokers had a very poor perception of their relationship with the insurance company, viewing it as ‘Anything But Unique’
Brokers typically split their business between four or five insurance companies, but not all insurance companies were treated equally
Where the brokers felt the insurance company was ‘Unique’ the share of wallet was 37 percent greater than average
Where the brokers felt the insurance company was ‘Anything But Unique’ the share of wallet was 29 percent below average
Three Common Issues
Three major themes emerged from our analysis. Insurance companies need to address these common issues if they are to win over their broker communities and gain a larger Share Of Wallet from brokers.
Click below to download the full Executive Briefing to understand these three major themes.
If you want to increase your broker revenues by up to 37%, contact us.