Ingrid Lindberg Interview

Ingrid Lindberg is the Chief CX Officer of Prime Therapeutics. At The Future Contact Center Summit, January 26-30 in Orlando, Ingrid will be sharing a keynote address on “Harnessing the Power of Customer Experiences to Drive Growth & Profitability.” In advance of the Summit, she was kind enough to share her thoughts on the growing role of customer experience at Prime.

Since taking your position at Prime, can you share a particular success story that you’re most proud of?

I’ve been with Prime for almost two and half years now, but one of the things that I’m most proud of is the work that our pharmacies have done around speed of processing. We learned pretty early on that Zappos and Amazon were having a pretty direct correlation to the expectations that our members had of Prime. We were right at industry standard for the pharmacy benefits industry – two days in-house to process a prescription. However, Zappos has changed what people expect from everyone. I challenged our pharmacies to cut our time to process in half. And they did. We’re currently, on average, under one day in-house for our prescriptions. This means that most of the time, we process and fill a prescription the same day that we receive it, AND we get it in the mail. Our loyalty numbers have increased significantly because of this one change. We knew that this was important to our members, and they are definitely rewarding us for making this change! We saw a 23 percent decrease in effort and an 8 percent increase in ease of use in just the first year!

What type of challenges did you face in dealing with the new health insurance legislation?

The best part and hardest part about the new legislation is that it introduced a product to millions of Americans who have never had health care. Think about the first time you purchased health insurance. You were most likely 22, just graduating college and at your first job. You went into your cafeteria at work, there were booths set up by each of the insurers and tons of human resources people milling around to answer your questions. You learned by making mistakes. The majority of the newly insured have never had those experiences. And there are no human resources professionals to help. It is incredibly frustrating for this population as they make decisions without fully understanding the implications – and there are limited resources to help them learn. We try to make this extremely complex business easier for people to understand, but with health literacy rates being as low as they are, and by insurance having a language of its own, it really is a tough problem to solve.

How does your role as Chief Customer Experience Officer also tie into marketing at Prime Therapeutics?

I am accountable for both customer experience and all consumer marketing at Prime. I have accountability for all of our business to consumer marketing efforts, all of our digital and social channels as well as our customer experience strategy and member insights. I’ve been in both situations as a CxO – I’ve owned marketing and I’ve had to influence marketing. It is much easier and faster to make an impact and get everyone aligned if you’re the singular accountable leader. Because of our organizational structure, we’ve been able to make massive change for the better in the communication channels that I have accountability for. We see the results and it just makes sense. Harvard Business Review released an article a few years back that addressed the fact that the CxO would be replacing the CMO at some point. Whether or not that happens, I do believe that we have reached a time and place where the consumer is in charge, and they don’t want to be marketed to. They do want to be able to control their experience. The traditional marketing tactics don’t drive loyalty. Customer experience efforts do.

What type of strategies do you employ to ensure that all Prime employees make customers a top priority?

There are two things that I’ve found that really help to ensure that all employees understand what we’re asking of them when I’m helping to drive a company to be customer-centric.

The first thing I do is to clearly state exactly what the future state that we’re driving towards looks like and to ask every employee to help us to get there. I use a variety of campaigns underneath this activity. From building customer experience rooms to producing customer videos to creating roadmaps. The second thing I do is tie compensation to the metrics that matter to customer experience. Loyalty metrics are key, and I ensure that every employee’s compensation is tied to those customer loyalty metrics. If you ask first and then measure and incent globally, it is much easier to ensure that employees make customers a top priority.

What does the future of customer service experience look like to you?

We’re just beginning. I was doing an interview with a firm a few weeks ago and they referred to me as a pioneer of customer experience. I was one of the first Customer Experience Officers back in 2005. When I think about how far we’ve come as a practice in the last 10 years, I can only dream of what will come in the next 10. I think that having a CxO at the table will become as important as having a CFO. I think that we’ll see many of these newly formed Cx consulting shops fold as they aren’t really practitioners. I think that firms will become much smarter at correlating their Cx efforts to revenue. I think at the end of the next decade, people will buy based on customer experience as readily as they buy based on price.

Ingrid Lindberg, Chief CX Officer of Prime Therapeutics. She will be speaking at The Future Contact Center Summit, January 26-30 in Orlando, Florida.