Quick 6 With Karyn Furstman, Safeco Insurance

In this feature on the Customer Experience Matters blog, we ask 6 questions of different customer experience leaders.

  • Name: Karyn Furstman
  • Title: VP, Customer Experience
  • Company: Safeco Insurance, member of Liberty Mutual Group
  • Length of time on the job: 8 months
  • Previous position: SVP, Customer Experience, Washington Mutual

1. What do you most like about your role?

Building and creating the Customer Experience discipline in the organization as the first Customer Experience Officer for Safeco

2. What are you most proud of accomplishing?

In six months, creating a vision, strategy and role/engagement model for Customer Experience within the organization. Also building some foundational components of the strategy such as touchpoint mapping and implementing closed loop feedback pilots in multiple business lines.

3. What has been the most surprising challenge?

Changing the perception that Customer Experience is everyone in the organization’s responsibility and helping people understand what their role in this work is, whether front or back office employees.

4. How would you describe where your company is on its customer experience journey?

In the beginning of the journey and always reinforcing this is not about a program but rather a ‘way of life’ we are embarking on.

5. What initiatives are you currently most excited about?

Three areas of focus: experience design through prioritized moments of truth defined by customers; listening and fixing through closed loop feedback; and internal experience acculturation that supports our brand through consistent service behaviors across the organization and service recognition program.

6. What advice do you have for someone who is about to take on a similar role?

Define a vision and multi-year roadmap with early quick wins and showing value to the organization. Find executive leaders that can be your passionate advocates and help tell about their successes in Customer Experience wins.

Extra credit question: What would people be surprised to find out about you?

I really like spending time listening to customer calls and even complaints since I think you can gain great insight into what they are looking for to help turn them into being a promoter of your company in the long term.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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