Customer Centricity

anandAnand Pejawar
SBI Life Insurance

The heart of a business success lies in its marketing. How have you been crafting such marketing objectives for your company that your customers find credible and aligned with their values?
SBI Life is a subsidiary of State Bank of India. Apart from the name and the logo of State Bank we also carry their values and as such have a higher responsibility to ensure that the brand and its values are not impacted in any manner due to either our sales process, products or service that we give to our customers. Large portion of our customers are the customers of the Bank first and their faith and trust cannot be impacted in any manner. Even those who might not be banking with State bank group are our customers through our Retail Agency channel and they also buy our products due to the brand of SBI. Hence the marketing team of SBI Life carry a much higher degree of responsibility to ensure that this trust is not shaken / broken in any manner.
As such, in SBI Life Insurance the marketing strategies are designed around our core values of Trustworthiness, Ambition, Innovation, Dynamism & Excellence. These values are also a reflection of the expectations of our customers. Marketing of our products and top class service delivery in the most transparent and customer friendly manner has always been the focus. In fact “Customer Centricity” is the “mool mantra” of all our activities probably which has led us to be the Most Trusted Life Insurance Brand year after year for 5 consecutive years. (As per the Economic Times, Brand Equity and Neilson survey)
“The Perfect Brand image” – what do you perceive from it and what all goes behind its creation?
The “Perfect brand image” – is the one which is perceived by the customer through the actual experience they enjoy from a brand. Brand is something that has a magnetic effect on all its stakeholders. A Brand is built over years of hard work and tireless dedication of all concerned and flourishes when all its stakeholders see value in it. Brand is something which occupies the top of mind recall value to the customer. This happens only when there is flawless synergy among all the processes leading to superlative product offerings and service quality leading to customer delight.

What is your prime focus for retaining customers?
“Customer Centricity” and thereby maintaining quality in our product and service offerings by attending to the smallest of the customers’ queries / demands helps us to build a strong & lasting association with our customers.

“Money coming in says I’ve made the right marketing decision” – till what regard do you observe this quote?
Money coming in is a right marketing decision only when it serves & meets the “Needs” of all the stake holders in the deal. It has to be a win – win situation for all concerned.

In an industry so dynamic, how do you comply with respect to changing trends, behavioral patterns and expectations of society?
Life insurance industry has seen dynamic turn of events post liberalization. With reforms introduced by the Regulator from time to time to streamline the industry, the marketing strategies and the products offerings have seen a sea change. Also with the advent of technology and increase in the disposable income of individuals, knowledge of various modes of investment now available, the investment behavior of people has evolved. At SBI Life, we have ensured that we completely fulfill all the needs of our stake holders through our agility, speed and aligning ourselves to meet the every growing demands of our customers through state of art technology. That is precisely the reason we have a robust presence in the traditional brick and mortar model as well as the digital marketing space. Our suite of products are designed to meet the varied needs of the customers from all sections of the society starting from the below poverty line products like the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) to the Affluent & Ultra rich – Unit Linked Plans and Corporate plans like the Keyman / Employer – Employee Insurance policies.

How do you think marketing has changed over time?
Marketing has evolved hugely over the years. Thanks to globalization and the digitalization which has completely changed the face of marketing in India. Technology has penetrated all the aspects of marketing. The traditional method has given way to mobile / hand held devices and online platforms. Today’s customer is overwhelmed (sometimes mislead) with information and choices. Along with the traditional ways of marketing products, print and digital media (Online, social media etc.) have acquired prominence to capture share of both the mind and the wallet of the final consumer. Special focus is now Gen ‘Y’ consumer which is a big buyer of both products & services. SBI Life has fully understood this need and as such is the first company in the entire BFSI industry in India to have created a Web site which can be fully translated into 9 regional languages with a “click of the mouse”. Introduced the most innovative – sms SOLVE – first of its kind customer service initiative in Indian insurance industry, which won international award.

Awards are tricky; you don’t really aim to win, till you win. How has winning changed your approach to trophies and titles? From an accidental byproduct of good work to something you actively need to defend year on year, perhaps? Is there pressure to keep winning?
A trophy or a title is always special as it acknowledges and recognizes the hard work, dedication that one put in. It also motivates one to do still better. However, I have always believed that – Failure doesn’t come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up. Win or lose is never the question. Giving your 100% each day till you get the desired outcomes should be the focus. Winning is important but only when it is achieved without compromising ethics. In fact, with every recognition bestowed, either on an individual or organisation, the responsibility increases and one has to ensure that newer standards are set for others to emulate.

Does data play a larger role in media planning (pre campaign) or in gauging the efficiency of a media plan (post campaign)
In an evolving market scenario past data cannot be the only indicator for present decisions and future projections. Data, when processed, analysed (using analytics models) and presented can lead to meaningful information that can be put to use for designing and quantifying the outcome of a media campaign.

Be your own fortune teller and tell us where do you see yourself in next 5 years?
I have cherished more than three decades of professional experience in the financial services industry. All these years have helped me understand the dynamics of the industry. These 3 decades have given me all that one can ask & expect in a professional career, including rewards & recognitions.
In the next 5 years, I would like to see myself as a ‘change agent’ making positive contribution to the role /profile/ task I am a part of. Also contribute back to the society in some way that will make this world a better place to live in.

What things fascinate you the most when you travel?
Beautiful nature, which still after so many years have 1000’s of things to uncover, Meeting people, mostly strangers and understanding their life styles and behaviors and last but the least being a great foodie – the local food.

What are your hobbies?
Music (Hindustani – Classical, instrumental & light) has always been a passion. Collecting timeless musical recordings has been a hobby that I have preserved all these years. Reading biographies & Autobiographies is of special interest. Travelling and exploring new places.

Best and worst thing about your job
The best and the worst thing in my job is managing human resources. Maintaining a fine balance between the IQ and the EQ (emotional quotient) is the key to managing people and motivating them for sustainable growth. To see your people grow to newer heights, both in personal and professional arena, is the best thing one can have in life.

What is a Sunday to you?
Sunday is the time to be with family & friends and spare time for the most important person in your life – yourself. Also to catch up on the precious moments those are missed due to the official commitments during weekdays.

A Message from you Gautam Buddha said “The Mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
What you wish to accomplish in life, should first be conceptualized clearly in your mind. Whatever the mind conceives – it achieves. The thought should be so strong, that it unsettles you to the core, so that you work relentlessly to achieve it.

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