• The client, a large insurance provider, had received a record fine from the FCA for historical sales problems in the UK.
  • They needed to undertake a comprehensive review of all their sales and service policies, processes and procedures to develop an approach that would ‘put customers at the heart of the business’.
  • Significant changes had already been made: changes to the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs), a new set of customer promises and the introduction of independent customer-focused compliance committees.
  • The board wanted to understand how these procedural changes could be ‘made real’, and lived by everyone in the business irrespective of where they worked or what they did.


  • We were invited to an away day with the firm’s board that focused on creating a customer-focused culture.
  • In the board meeting we shared:
    • Examples of best practice from organisations we’d recently worked with
    • Our knowledge on how organisations have attempted to change their culture to benefit their customers
    • The commercial impact of culture change; how to put customers at the heart of the business and still return sustainable profits
    • Our Culture Characteristic Model©. This model helped to reach a common definition of culture, and showed how culture changes can be tracked and measured
    • Examples of common issues that companies we worked with have experienced: ‘tone from the top’, management style, sales incentives, and lack of belief in company values
  • Following our presentation, the board discussed what they had heard, and how it reflected on their organisation.
  • Individuals were asked to consider what changes they would make when they returned to the workplace; in terms of what they’d do and say.


  • During the session, we captured the team’s outputs and reproduced them in a report that we sent back to the group.
  • Actions from the session included:
    • Non-executive directors would take responsibility with executive teams to embed customer culture
    • Ensuring a budget would be allocated for attaining a true customer focus and the executives committed to financially sponsoring the customer agenda
    • Ensuring correct and relevant customer information and measures would be captured and shared
    • Stepping back from the business model to ensure the firm’s product suite would be fit for all customer segments
  • We were also asked to help the senior team review its employee incentive scheme to move it from a programme based on sales volume to one that solely recognises customer experience.