The third-party channel for many financial service providers is their main source of sales and customer experience. By understanding the broker experience from both the customer and broker perspective, we helped our client to grow their business and their improve customer’s experience.

Unlike direct to customer channels, third party channel-based product and service delivery means a business has two customers: The end consumer and the third party provider.  For our client, the third-party channel was critical to their business success.  It gave them distribution and leveraged their client relationships and skills to sell a complicated financial product.  It was through the broker channel most our client’s customers became aware of their products, where their products were customised, where the customer relationship was established, and a major source of complaints.  Although critical to success, the third party channel was in decline.  Brokers were recommending our client less often and customers were less likely to engage with third-party providers.

To re-build their sales, reduce channel costs from errors and complaints, and to improve customer experience meant our research approach needed address both the third-party providers and customers.  We started by running one-on-one interviews with the third-party providers, customers and also with internal channel support staff, followed by group discussions among customers.  This approach gave us an opportunity to explore emerging issues then develop and quickly test solution prototypes.

To provide a mechanism for evaluating changes, providing an opportunity for brokers to give feedback and to create a source of insight for developing future improvements, we then implemented a service experience tracking among both third-party providers that focussed on their most recent experience with our client.

As a result of the changes from the initial research and from the on-going tracking, our client turned around a declining channel by improving both their channel partners and the end-customer’s service experience.