USAA Advantage – Using Technology to Increase Engagement & CX

August 23, 2016 By Chrissy Mazur

Over the past several weeks, CX Solutions and Voice Crafter have been sharing results of our 2016 Benchmark Study of Customer Engagement, where we have presented a business case for why customer engagement matters, and have shown that some companies excel at Customer Engagement as compared to other companies in their respective industry. Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airlines, for example, are companies that we highlighted in past blogs as having significantly higher engagement levels than their competitors. The primary reason, we believe, is the “culture of service” that these companies instill across their entire organization.

However, there is another company that we haven’t talked about yet:  USAA clearly rises above all other companies in their industry, and is ranked right after Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airlines with over half of their customers “highly engaged.” The next highest ranked insurance company was AAA, with 34.7% of their insurance customers “highly engaged”.

As a USAA member, it is clear to me why USAA has such a high level of Customer Engagement. In my many years as a member, I have always experienced great service and felt like a valued member. I am so engaged with USAA, that when a competitor offered an insurance rate significantly lower than what I am paying with USAA, I never even considered switching because I have 100% confidence that USAA will take care of me when I need them.  In fact, every time I get off the phone with a USAA representative, they end the call with “Thank you for trusting USAA.” Clearly I do.

As our survey results demonstrate, most members feel this way about USAA, with 92% indicating that they have recommended USAA to a family member, friend, or colleague, higher than all other companies we measured. Further, USAA members “trust” in USAA at a significant higher level than seen with other companies, as illustrated below.

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As with other CE leaders, USAA’s “culture of service” and the way their representatives interact with and engage with their members’ matter. However, there is another reason for USAA’s CE leadership: As I have experienced firsthand, they are also “easy to do business with.”

How does a company with no face to face interactions (no walk-in locations) and with services provided only via remote channels (telephone, internet, mobile, etc.), excel at being easy to do business with? The answer, in part, centers on how USAA uses technology.  USAA excels when it comes to the use of technology to interact with their members (see Figure below).

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USAA management clearly believes in the importance of technology, and is committed to using it to serve members.

“We have made it part of our commitment, part of our journey, to truly embrace the opportunities offered by new technologies and not just leave them on the floor.” – Kevin Bergner EVP and CAO

“Whatever devices the members have, we need to be there. It doesn’t matter it is’ only a small portion of our membership. We’re going to be there for them.” – Greg Schwartz

In August 2009, USAA led the industry in introducing Deposit@Mobile®, which I have used extensively, that enables members to take a picture of their check and immediately deposit it into their USAA account. Year after year, USAA provides industry leading technology to its members.

In fact, USAA uses and invests in technology ONLY if it demonstrates that it can be used to improve the member experience.  In essence, they embrace technology “not because the company is obsessed with technology, but because it is obsessed with customers.

Clearly, USAA is a customer-centric business, demonstrated by how they treat and serve customers, both in the 1:1 interactions that they have with their members as well as their use of technology to better serve members. USAA puts customers’ needs before all else (including company profits), and it has paid off.

We’ll be sharing more findings from our 2016 Benchmark Study of Customer Engagement next week.  So, please stay tuned!

Notes:

  1. Ross, Jeanne W. & Beath, Cynthia M. (2010).  “USAA: Organizing for Innovation and Superior Customer Service”.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Case Study. 
  2. Taylor, Bill (2010). “Brand is Culture, Culture is Brand.” Harvard Business Review.

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