Sophie Miller, Customer Line

Our customer service team is widely regarded as being one of the best in the business. With customer satisfaction scores at 88, compared to an industry average of 79, and 90% of customer queries completely answered without the need to move callers on to anyone else in the business (based on 3000 survey respondents), we are extremely proud of our customer service offering.

This success stems directly from a conscientious decision in 2012 to improve our customer relationship experience, which resulted in the formation of the customer line team.

And one person who has been there from the start is senior account advisor, Sophie Miller, who puts the secret of the team’s success down to the diligent work done at the set-up stage.

“When the team was set up in 2012, we met with all the different teams – risk, collections, claims, policy admin, and so on,” she explains. “We were able to look in detail at what they do for clients, which helped us obtain the knowledge we need to add value and help clients when they call into the business.

“More often than not, the customer line team is the very first point of contact for a customer. So we want to make their first experience a positive one, to ensure they want to work with Allianz Trade again. But the real focus is on resolving their issues quickly and appropriately, so they can get back to focusing on running their businesses.

“This, of course, requires a unique set of skills and all of the customer line team have to possess an in-depth knowledge of a huge range of subjects.” However, a wide-ranging understanding of the nuances of our policies and procedures is only part of the job for members of the team. There is also a focus on soft skills, specifically being able to match communication styles to that of the caller.”

“As you can imagine, the team deals with small to medium-sized enterprises and, at the other end of the scale, with huge multinational companies and brokers,” Sophie, who joined Allianz Trade in 2011, explains. “It is crucial for team members to be able to adapt how they speak to people according to their needs.”

“The team deals with hundreds of calls and email enquiries from customers every day and every single enquiry is different to the rest. The goal is to deliver an effortless experience for the people who contact us.” And that focus on the customer, which Sophie says “underpins everything the team does”, means she and her colleagues are relentless in their exacting and on going quality control process.

“The customer line team currently deals with around 50% of the incoming contact to the business and the service is regularly monitored for quality control,” Sophie says. “Over the past four years I have surveyed at least 3,000 customer line users myself and the results have been really good.”

“To be honest, the proof is in the feedback from customers: my team makes it easy for them – we make it effortless – and that is really important.

For Sophie, the journey of the team’s rise from formation to the success of today mirrors her own time with the company.

She joined Allianz Trade after a three-year spell with Paymex Group working in the field of consumer debt. However, it was when she joined the embryonic customer line team a year later that her career took off and she now has responsibility for a team of five customer line account advisors and oversees the training of new recruits. And that training element is something that is very close to her heart.

“When the customer line team was launched in 2012, we analysed what customers needed from us and created the dedicated training programme based on that,” she says. “It’s completely bespoke, based on the years of experience we’ve had servicing clients, and I deliver that training to new colleagues.”

“The training encompasses information about credit insurance, of course, but also the systems we use and how to match your communication skills with the different types of callers we have. “It’s incredibly thorough and I strongly believe it is one of the main reasons we are able to maintain such strong relationships with our customers.”