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40 years in insurance and 20 years specialising in conduct and customer service. Find out more about me.
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Do you ever wonder why good conduct matters? It's not just about regulation. It's something I look at in my elearning courses and so I thought it was worth sharing my thoughts.
So much is shared on the internet. If people are unhappy, they talk about it on Twitter and post bad reviews. In some cases they set up websites. We have seen this happening to some of the insurers who have rejected business interruption claims during the pandemic. We have seen plenty of other examples of companies that have gone down in our estimation because of the way they treated their staff and/or customers, during the pandemic. There are a few companies I won't be doing business with.
I particularly like this example of someone taking to the internet to share their frustrations about an airline’s baggage handling.
Some firms have not had good publicity about their behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know times are difficult and jobs will be lost. However, the Unite union has described British Airways fire and rehire policy as aggressive. There are reports of many losing their jobs and those that stay being retained on inferior pay and conditions.
The Unite union has said that British Airways is "behaving like an abusive Victorian mill owner".
Knowing who and what your company is, is a big part of a great culture. Many firms set out their aims and it forms part of the company's DNA. It keeps everyone on the same path, all working to the same objective.
Whether you are the CEO or sit on reception, you need to understand what you are all working towards. Every person plays a role.
A good culture takes care of it's existing customers, putting their needs at the heart of business decisions. Products and services are designed to meet their needs. This matters because it costs more to get new customers than it does to keep your existing customers happy, here's an interesting piece of research from Struto.
Of all the things that matter to a business I would say the most important thing is the people. Good people, who know their job and care about doing it right are essential to any business that wants to do well. A good culture is more likely to attract and retain good staff.
Don't forget your need to listen to and nurture your staff - they need to feel valued and respected.
A good culture welcome feedback from staff and customers. Listening to what may not be working and how to refine what's offered to better meet those needs. Essentially, this is about keeping your ear close to the ground.
It's great that just doing the right thing helps a business to create products and services that delight customers and are bound to attract more business.
A good culture where you understand your customer needs, have great staff and give them the right tools to do the job, means you are more likely to get it right first time. This avoids duplication of effort and rectification costs.
For example, if a customer is frustrated with one method of communication, they may try and make contact using a number of channels which can cause confusion and lead to duplication of handling. This is a waste of time for the customer and staff.
So you can now see how a good culture can make all the difference to the success of your company, now and long into the future.
Author: Sally Pearce (Conduct Matters Ltd)
Sally Pearce started Conduct Matters in 2014 after 35 years working in the insurance industry. She was originally an underwriter, but since 2000 has worked in dispute resolution and helping Insurance firms understand how to treat their customers fairly. Her experience includes working for the Financial Ombudsman, in the Lloyd’s market and dealing with regulators. Sally is ACII, a qualified mediator and yoga teacher. She is also available for public speaking.