New incentives for staff: Bupa to prioritise conversations and meeting customer need

Health insurer Bupa announced today that incentives for customer-facing employees will principally focus on value-add conversations and meeting customer needs. This is a shift further away from the traditional sales only framework. 

The move comes as customers across the industry are reviewing their coverage at record levels as part of the annual price increase and changes driven by Government reforms.

Justin James, Director of Customer Growth, said Bupa started moving to a more customer focussed framework in 2014. However, findings from the Royal Commission into Banking Misconduct reinforced Bupa’s commitment to do what is right for customers and to ensure staff remuneration drives appropriate behaviours.

There was a lot for banks and financial advisors to learn through the Royal Commission. Although we’d already started this change, those lessons gave us the assurance that we had made the right decision and our practices were in line to community expectations,” Mr James said.

“Our work in this space has been underway for almost five years. We’ve had external advice from PriceWaterhouseCoopers to shape our thinking, which, paired with the insights form the Royal Commission, is a major reason we feel we are ahead of the curve.

“We have moved away from a framework solely recognising and rewarding our people based on sales and our customer focused reporting now aligns with our Fair Customer Practices and Value Conversations approach."

There will be further improvements, but we believe we’re demonstrating change from a sales reward culture to one that helps ensure that the customer's needs and choices are the only things that matter, regardless of financial value,” Mr James said.

Performance indicators are now set on customer conversations and the quality of that conversation regardless of whether there is a sale outcome. These are largely driven through Net Promoter Score results, a widely accepted measure of customer satisfaction. 

“Our thinking is, if we reward customer-led behaviour, then we will grow an organic customer-led culture and that’s exactly what we have seen over the past few years,” Mr James said.

We’re also evolving the way we recruit so that we appoint people with the right profile and motivations to reflect our culture, while also overhauling our training to help our people deliver valued conversations every time.”

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