Customers as the compass - Li Choo Kwek-Perroy, Manulife Singapore

| 06 Sep 2019

Exclusive interview with Li Choo Kwek-Perroy, Manulife Singapore’s Chief Customer Officer and Chief Transformation Officer. (edited by Sharon Zhong)

Li Choo Kwek-Perroy is Manulife Singapore's Chief Customer Officer and Chief Transformation Officer. Her portfolio of responsibilities includes overseeing analytics, customer communications, brand, digital marketing, customer experience design, as well as strategy and transformation.

She sat down for an exclusive interview with Asia Advisers Network to shed light on the multiple hats that she wears, and her view on the strategic importance of advisers in the future, based on her two decades of industry experience.

At the heart of it all is the customer

“It’s a natural portfolio of responsibilities. At the heart of it all is the customer,” she said.

As Chief Customer Officer, she has a team of experts who gather customer insights and understand the importance of communicating to the right customers using the right platform. Using analytics, her team also ensures the rest of the organisation are fed with the right data to provide solutions to the issues on the ground. 

And as Chief Transformation officer, she drives the continuous evolution and transformation of the business to always do better for the customer. “Our business is a people business. So whatever insights that we gather on the customer, the entire corporate strategy must be centred on the customer.”

Wearing multiple hats isn’t easy, but Li Choo makes it look like a breeze. She follows a simple rule: take customers as the compass.

The results speak for themselves. “Manulife Singapore has been changing and growing over the last three to four years,” said Li Choo. “We’ve been putting a lot of focus on renewing our products, serving multi-channels and internally, culturally, we are putting a lot of emphasis on making sure that we put the customer at the centre of whatever we do.”

“Zero moment of truth”

On the importance of companies transforming to keep up with the times, she said technology has resulted in a world where speed matters.

In this day and age, businesses have to take on an agile approach. She said, “When we think something may work, we try it, we test it, we see how customers react to it and we continuously improve from there.”

With consumers having access to information at their fingertips, and with an increasing number of platforms that encourage cross comparisons and open discussions, insurers must ensure that their products and services are top notch. She quoted Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, which refers to the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product or service, often before the seller even knows that they exist.

“People do their research before they even come to us. As insurers, we must be prepared that people are finding out what to buy, what’s suitable for them, and who they want to transact with,” she said.  


Importance of financial advisers

Despite changing consumer behaviour, Li Choo – with over 20 years of industry experience and expertise in strategy formation involving data analytics – said customers are still reliant on financial advisers.

While it is true that customers can try searching for information online, the volume of content and number of products available in the market can be overwhelming. At the end of the day, they still expect their financial advisers to summarise, and provide advice to simplify their decision-making process.

With that in mind, Manulife Singapore launched the Digital Stars programme, to give Manulife advisers an edge and stand out in the market.

This platform provides every Manulife financial consultant a personalised and verified website, and allows customers to discover and connect with their preferred consultant via the digital platform.

The Digital Stars programme helps promote transparency, and gives customers the freedom of curating their own agents and forming their own decisions.

This process reflects the value of “Zero moment of truth” – where people are able to do prior research and comparisons. This platform is expected to help boost their advisers’ presence and credibility, especially since the information put out is like a library for all to review.

What do consumers look for in an adviser?

As to what consumers look for in an adviser, Li Choo shared that customers tend to like advisers of the same age group. They want a connection with the agent or adviser they are dealing with; one who thinks and talks like them.

“It’s not one size fits all. Different customers look for different things.” – Li Choo

“Different customers look for different things. There's a place for everyone and every adviser must find his place in the new world”, she said. While this holds true, Li Choo observed that some key traits for success that have withstood the test of time remain to be hard work and determination.

Before the interview concluded, Li Choo shared, “Use customers as a compass and do things right by them. Treat people fairly and kindly, and their loyalty will show. Make sure you give 100% in everything you do.”


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