Pat Quenan, Senior Vice President of Global Customer Service at Aon Hewitt and upcoming speaker at Argyle’s 2014 Customer Care Chicago Forum, discusses meeting complex customer expectations within the HR industry and driving value for the organization.
[Tyler Lettich]: Can you start by telling us a little bit about your role as Senior Vice President, Global Customer Service for Aon Hewitt?
[Pat Quenan]: Aon Hewitt’s customer services group focuses on two main areas: the customer service agents serving our clients and their employees; and the practice or thought leadership group that designs, builds and deploys key strategies around our people, process and tools. I lead both of these functions with responsibilities that include direct client interactions, people and strategy leadership and overall operations performance.
I took on these responsibilities in 2013 as we integrated our service center operations to help drive an exceptional customer experience for our clients’ employees.
How are you and your team working to deliver quality service in the HR space?
New laws, expanding technologies, and increasing customer expectations create a more complex environment for the HR industry. To deliver exceptional quality to our clients and their employees, we are laser-focused on both accuracy of content and customer satisfaction. To reach these end goals, Aon Hewitt focuses on three drivers of quality: our people; our processes; and our tools. We continue to make investments in all three areas.
We are focused on attracting and retaining the right people, which includes being in the right locations where we can find the best HR and customer service expertise. We are committed to ensuring that our people are properly trained by investing more than ever in our training processes. Our most significant investment as a firm is in the customer relationship management capabilities necessary to drive ever-increasing quality in the multi-channel, customer-focused business in which we operate.
“To deliver exceptional quality to our clients and their employees, we are laser-focused on both accuracy of content and customer satisfaction.”
How has social media and the ability to reach customers across various channels changed the way you view customer service?
As we work with clients to reach current and former employees in new ways, social media has become more of a focus for us. We often use social media to monitor customer experiences, which allows us to quickly and easily direct participants to the right place to ensure we answer their questions and help ensure positive outcomes. However, because of the highly personalized nature of the information being shared, communicating in an open forum is not always possible or advised.
How have technological advancements impacted the way you reach customers? Furthermore, how have these advancements also impacted product development at Aon Hewitt to ensure that customers can be reached across all channels?
There are more options than ever-before when it comes to reaching customers and those channels continue to grow. We want our clients to have access to all channels so that they can be reached in a way that is most effective for them. We believe this increased ‘channel of choice’ can help drive lower customer effort which in turn will drive higher loyalty and satisfaction. And while technology investments are the single largest investment we make as a firm, they enable us to drive what is most important — people making confident, informed decisions about their lives using their personal information presented in a simple, but integrated way.
“We are focused on attracting and retaining the right people, which includes being in the right locations where we can find the best HR and customer service expertise.”
You have been with Aon Hewitt since 1990. How have you witnessed the company evolve over the past few decades? What is Aon Hewitt’s main focus for the next step in customer service?
Our business has evolved tremendously as more organizations look for partners to help drive strong HR results through well-designed and administered programs that help them hold the line on costs, while delivering positive outcomes. However, employer-sponsored benefits, particularly core benefits are changing very rapidly driving organizations to engage with their employees in more of a direct-to-consumer model. We’re focused on continuing to evolve to help our clients meet these challenges head-on.
As call centers continue to evolve, how are you and your team working to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that Aon Hewitt meets the needs of customers in the modern era?
We see the customer experience space evolving to where the vast majority (95%+) of HR interactions will be conducted through self-service and subscription-based interactions; effectively using all channels and technologies available. Connecting with people in the channel they want will drive lower customer effort and very specific HR program outcomes, only one of which is cost. At the same time, the 5% of HR interactions that require a high-touch approach will continue to exist, will become more complicated, and most importantly, will be ‘moments that matter’ in someone’s life. Our service centers will need to continue to be highly effective in working with participants in those types of situations.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for sponsoring this forum and for bringing to light a very critical set of discussions.
As the customer service operations and practice leader for Aon Hewitt, Pat spends equal time focused on the people, processes, and tools that Aon Hewitt uses to deliver a high customer satisfaction score to our clients’ employees. The high touch channel that is customer service and the ability to counsel participants through challenging decisions is what Pat enjoys the most about his job.
‘The traditional call center operations have evolved just as quickly as our leading edge technology solutions. As more and more of our business is managed through self service channels, the role of the call center needs to evolve: the questions are more complicated, the choices are more numerous and HR programs are not something that our clients’ people spend time learning every day. We need to be the experts, anticipating the un-asked question and building confidence with every caller.’
As part of Pat’s role, he leads the strategy and solutions for the next generation of call center services. Solutions that support our representatives and enable them to help provide an industry-leading customer experience. Also, he spends time working with the core product development team to ensure that the participant experience is consistent across all of Aon Hewitt’s channels: calls, chats, web sites, mobile sites,
e-mail, text, voice technologies and print statements.
Pat started with Aon Hewitt in 1990 as a benefits analyst and has served in a variety of management and leadership roles, including the Defined Benefit Administration Practice Leader. He has a finance degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Visit Argyle Executive Forum's CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LEADERSHIP FORUM - San Francisco in San Francisco, CA on Feb 27, 2020