An interview with Egmont Philips, Marketing Director at DAS. Recorded by Marc Westeneng, partner at flowresulting
Marc: What do you see as important themes in your field?
Egmont: The legal world will change radically under the influence of data. Data becomes the basis for distinctive customer experience and the development of new propositions. Data lays the foundation for proactivity which is one of the ways of achieving an ultimate customer experience. Face to face it is relatively easy to understand how to surprise the customer, but for proactivity in a largely digital customer relationship you need data. After all, your next best action is based on that. Data driven proactivity is still in the early stages and is extremely challenging.
An example. On average, an insured person has a legal dispute every seven years. Only then is there intensive contact with the client and is the added value of his legal assistance insurance immediately recognized.In the years in between there is little interaction. That makes it harder to be proactive. So as DAS we think about services with which we can further develop the relationship with the customer. Prevention is an important route for doing so in our domain. By that I mean that customers can protect themselves against legal hassle. Our data shows that many conflicts between employers and employees and between customers and suppliers could have been prevented if the contracts and conditions were in order. And if they had been aware of the impact of contracts they have signed. Lack of knowledge or not having contracts in order can result in enormous costs and additionally to sleepless nights.
Egmont Philips, Marketing Director, Digital Transformation, Customer Experience
DAS as a contractor for insurers
Marc: DAS provides legal assistance on behalf of many insurers. What is the difference in your role as an insurer and as a contractor?
Egmont: An important part of our work ends up with us through the legal assistance insurance policy that has been taken out with an intermediary. If a legal question arises, DAS is involved. That is our “moment of truth”. Customers give our experts high marks for their advice, solution-oriented approach and empathy. I see enormous potential to strengthen each other, together with those insurers, proxies and intermediaries. Imagine that we are handling a case and could say to the customer “nice that we could resolve this for you on behalf of your insurance company XYZ” That then gives a nice interpretation to the partnership. Or imagine that an insurer can use our content to send relevant information at the right moments in the customer’s life. For example, relocating when you enter into contracts with a contractor or kitchen supplier for large sums. Or that access to DAS content is integrated into the insurer’s app … then we make the customer journey shorter for the customer. If you not only think from your own shop, but take a look at the customer journey from a broader perspective, then you come up with so many ideas how things can be improved.
If you not only think from your own shop, but take a look at the customer journey from a broader perspective, then you come up with so many ideas how things can be improved.
Shift in channels
Marc: What is your take on the shift in channels?
Egmont: Like many other companies, we of course see major shifts in channels. But if you have a legal dispute, you still want to talk to someone. Yet we see a shift in customer contact from telephone to digital, from mail to email, from email to chat. People feel it’s fine to do simple things like address changes online, because they see it for themselves and with that the change will be error-free.
Customers who call us have substantive questions and emotions play a part. People search on Google for information about their legal question or conflict. During the day, mobile and on desktop, but also at night because it keeps them awake. DAS has put its knowledge on our website, so that you can already gain more insight into your problem and the possible solutions. This information is up-to-date, reliable and accessible to everyone. With which we fulfill our aim of making legal aid accessible to everyone. The website was redesigned last year based on search behavior. Many companies hide their telephone number on the website. So we don’t do that. We are there when you need us. And we have consciously given a prominent place to a number of lawyers on the website. They represent all of our colleagues with whom your case is in good hands. With the new website we show that we are close to the people. You truly see our colleagues, not models.
Marc: Is DAS already using the chatbot?
Egmont: We do experiments with chatbots. We want to use these for common, simple legal questions with a limited interest. If you have such a question, it is nice that you can find something quickly. I see a chatbot as an engagement tool. Instead of static texts there is interaction and that contributes to a positive experience of our brand. With the technology itself we are actually still copying people. Question-answer feels more human and less bureaucratic than a form, people appreciate that. We have done experiments and learned that most people have no trouble sharing all and everything with a bot. That provides for opportunities. Especially when speech technology takes off.
Customer contact strategy
Marc: Can you tell something about your customer contact strategy?
Egmont: We have asked flowresulting to help us. Flowresulting brought us a successful process approach. They assisted us with outside inspiration, practical formats and robust dialogues in a pleasant atmosphere. Expertise with the consultant is crucial to get to the essence quickly.
It seems like an open door, but we started with the question: “What do we want customers to think and feel when they have been in contact with DAS?” In situations when they have a legal issue, but also when there is ”no hassle”. Based on what customers want and wish, we have subsequently established 8 principles, which we have developed into concrete things that we do and do not do in our contact with customers. This also formed the basis for a number of fundamental changes to our customer contact strategy.
An example. We said: “DAS is always within reach.” We made that concrete by working out what you, as a customer, can do on your phone and where you can find the first legal information. As such, the customer can prepare well for a meeting with our experts or – if he wants – first act himself. To fulfill our promise “DAS is always within reach”, we are working on further expanding functionalities in the My DAS environment, where customers have access to their entire file. The business case and roadmap are in place, now we need to continue with the implementation.
Identify your shining stars and allow your feelings to speak. Which elements in your services make the difference for the customer? Cherish those and make them big.
Marc: Do you have a tip for companies that are working on their customer contact strategy?
Egmont: Identify your shining stars and allow your feelings to speak. Which elements in your services make the difference for the customer? Cherish those and make them big. We went big on personal and expertise when designing the new website. And about emotion: by listening to what a customer ’emotionally’ needs, you come to a different interpretation of this contact compared to the first impression based on only the legal content.