Focus On

Bringing an ecosystem of benefits to customers

By Elizabeth Akass, Editor, Engage Business Media

Bought By Many is working to revolutionise pet insurance through a customer-centric model that explores innovative ways to prioritise ease, accessibility, value, experience, and quality of product for their users.

Over 45% of the UK population currently own at least one pet, and this statistic is rising. In a nation devoted to welcoming animals into their homes, pet insurance has never been more important to help owners protect and prolong their pets’ lives and wellbeing.

Bought By Many has been serving customers in the insurance market since 2012, and has quickly become a consumer favourite since launching its own pet insurance in 2017. It was recently awarded MoneyWise’s most trusted pet insurance provider of 2019, as voted for by customers, and boasts a net promoter score of 78, and 85 for claims. This means 90% of claiming customers rate them as a nine or 10 out of 10 on the likelihood of recommendation to friends.

Sophia Pilkington-Miksa, Head of Customer Experience at Bought By Many, says: “It’s an exciting company and an exciting time for us.” She explains that Bought By Many was designed to address the user needs that other pet insurance companies were failing to meet. “Insurance is really about helping people protect the things they care most about in the whole world. It feels a little like the industry has lost sight of that along the way and has become very transactional, seeing things from the inside out rather than the customer’s view.”

She continues: “Bought By Many was set up to provide better insurance for everyone. This means better product, better value, and better experience. We have an inherently customer-led model, using anonymised search data which helps us identify pockets of people with shared needs and frustrations that the industry hasn’t served or met, and then we co-create with those people to make fundamentally more valuable products and experiences for them.”

Pilkington-Miksa describes the traditional touch points Bought By Many worked to address and improve. “Purchase is traditionally a very complicated, difficult step for customers.” She says that Bought By Many made purchase easily understandable and accessible to get an immediate quote. “All of our policy wording has the reading age of an 11 year old, so it’s really easy to digest.” Customers can also make a claim on their phone “in seconds”, and the company is strict in making its renewal prices as fair as possible.

“At renewal, we change various practices that we see happening in the industry that we don’t think are fair or right. Often existing customers will get charged more than new customers; companies will hike up renewal prices assuming their customers won’t move because it’s a hassle to switch, giving cheaper prices to new customers. We just don’t think that’s fair for existing customers, so we never do that. Nor do we charge customers who have claimed more, because we don’t think you should penalise people for using your product.”

In addition to the traditional foundation of services a pet insurance company would offer, Bought By Many work to go a step further and provide a wider array of benefits to their users. “We aim to offer an ecosystem of broader benefits. This is the exciting moment for us because now we’ve got the traditional touch points established we can start working on that added value.”

Pilkington-Miksa says that Bought By Many’s customers already receive several added benefits, such as “useful content they can’t get elsewhere”, “VIP access to pet-related events”, and a personal card if a pet passes away. The company has also trialled benefits such as enabling customers to be rewarded for their pets’ activity levels, and sending birthday presents to pets, including ‘Woofins’, muffins for dogs, and ‘Pawsecco’, prosecco for cats. “This broader ecosystem is the real focus point for us,” she says. “We want our customers to feel part of something.”

Innovation has been a key element in creating these broader benefits; in August, Bought By Many launched a 24/7 365 digital vet consultation service with First Vet for its existing customers. “The customer experience isn’t just the moment of claiming; the worry starts earlier and may continue afterwards. Now our customers can have a video conversation with a vet and be reassured whether something is wrong and they want to get an early view, or following a claim if they want some advice on their pet’s recovery, or even a second opinion.”

Another technologically innovative benefit offered to customers is ‘Snap Claims’. “As the name suggests, this is all about ease – it’s a snap to claim with us!” Pilkington-Miksa explains this further: “We thought about all the traditional pain points of claiming. It tends to be quite time consuming, and despite the fact that customers have paid premium, all of the effort with claiming sits with the customer; they have to fill in really antiquated claim forms which they have to print and take to their vet. There’s a feeling that you have to prove yourself to your insurance company, like there’s an assumption of dishonesty, and once you’ve submitted your claim there’s this feeling of uncertainty over what’s going to happen.”

“We’ve been focused on trying to fix these. With ‘Snap Claims’, you can phone if you prefer, but you can also submit online in seconds on your mobile phone, and the UX is designed to feel more like you’re speaking to a human. It’s really simple, and you don’t need to submit any proof as we can converse directly with your vet and make that effort for you – that’s part of the service.”

She continues: “We’re also working on claims statuses, so customers will be able to see exactly what’s happening with their claim and feel in complete control. There’s so much more we’re planning to do after that to make it even easier for customers, and crucially also vets, too!”

These benefits are carefully designed and brought to fruition as a result of thorough research and consistent communication with customers. “In terms of the amount of data available and the research solutions that have been produced, there’s arguably never been a better time for customer-led innovation in terms of the insights and feedback tools available, and we really do seize this opportunity.”

“We engage with customers on social media to help define what our products and experiences should be, but there’s also a host of tools we use to see the drop offs in our user experience. We can set up online surveys in minutes and get results within the hour; there are online focus group tools that we use, and we even have tools that helps us pull out themes from all the back commentary. These tools are incredibly helpful for us.”

“Using feedback for positive effect is very much part of our culture. This isn’t a one-off for us; everyone in the company gets an alert when we get a three-star, or less, review. We have a dedicated team that’s focused on themes and root causes, and that feeds into our weekly prioritisation. It’s an ongoing conversation between the business and the customers, and that’s key.”

However, Pilkington-Miksa highlights that, although this technology is hugely useful, it is no substitution for having real customers in the office and meeting the people you are innovating for. “They tell you things that you didn’t know to ask in the first place.”

She finishes by emphasising that their goal is not to digitise the customer experience, but to create a better one. “For insurance, especially claims, a large part of this is always going to need a human element for reassurance and empathy. We don’t have any scripts in our customer service, nor do we have any call wrap times. If the customer wants to speak to our team, that’s what they’re going to get. They have the digital option as well, but when reassurance matters, we want to be there for them. It’s so important to invest in the human elements of innovation.”

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