Iain O'Connor, Aegon UK

Iain O'Connor CX Leader of the Year Highly Commended 2021

Iain O'Connor

Senior Manager, Customer Experience & Insight

Aegon UK

United Kingdom

Iain has been voted one of five highly commened entrants to CX Leader of the Year 2021! He is also the recipient of the judges' select Insight Award.

While much has changed since Iain joined Aegon in 2014, his remit as CX leader has broadly remained the same - to support the company's purpose (helping their customers achieve a lifetime of financial security) through delivery of exceptional experiences and high employee engagement. And despite never having had a large team - with an average of 3-4 reportees over the seven years - Iain has delivered a hugely impressive list of CX projects. 

With so much of the CX programme based on a wealth of internal and external research, it is no surprise that several of these projects are research-based. These include an online research community/panel consisting of Aegon customers, consumers, staff & financial advisers, running polls, surveys, focus groups, A/B testing etc on a weekly basis. There is also an extensive NPS programme including a large scale touchpoint NPS (covering telephony, back office/journey and digital interactions) and relational NPS across Aegon's core customer groups, plus a closed loop feedback programme called 'Aegon Cares' where the company calls back NPS respondents to discuss their feedback and resurvey after that interaction.

Ensuring that important customer insight is in the hands of the right staff, recently Aegon launched the 'connecting with customers' programme, to help staff better understand the needs, wants, and expectations of core customer groups. This programme includes the likes of online learning modules, podcasts, and videos on customer needs, while guests are also invited to provide an internal/external view. Amongst these examples, was a session where The Samaritans visited the business to help train staff on dealing with vulnerable customers. Since April, Aegon has recorded thousands of hours of learning through the programme.

Elsewhere, Iain was behind the launch of a CX lab that provides a physical space for CX improvement and employee engagement, as well as the creation of the CX academy: a programme of events for staff, which has seen huge buy-in from employees. 

NPS has increased year on year with very impressive results within the business, but the biggest success has been the culture change within the organisation that has come as a result of these customer-centred initiatives. 

I'm always keen to share best practice and help others both internally and externally. Most importantly, I've managed to convince a first-class team to work with me at Aegon from a variety of different backgrounds and who are responsible for everything that I've covered in my entry as much as I am as a CX leader.

As a highly commended entrant to 2021’s CX Leader of the Year Iain's entry stood out among our judging panel:

“Iain truly understands that culture trumps strategy, in the way that he has used the NPS programme to drive change at Aegon. I applaud him for his tenacity and his approach to customer insight.”
- Mosun Shasore, CX Leader of the Year judge

Iain was also the 2021 recipient of the Insight award by the judging panel:

“Research and insights are at the very core of Iain’s work and Aegon has a rich and diverse stream of information thanks to a variety of insight programmes. These include its online research community/panel, its ‘Aegon Cares’ closed loop feedback programme, and knowledge transfer partnerships to better understand customers and their needs. But crucially Iain and his team are also working to ensure that these insights are not just numbers on a page.”

- CX Leader of the Year judges

Return to CX Leader of the Year 2021 finalists>>>

CX Leader of the Year Insight award