Nicki Osborne, M&G plc

Nicki Osborne CX Leader of the Year Highly Commended 2021

Nicki Osborne

Customer Experience Programme Lead

M&G plc

United Kingdom

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

With a heritage dating back more than 170 years, M&G plc has a long history of innovation in savings and investments. But the pandemic created a unique set of challenges for the organisation. 

As a customer experience professional, Nicki has always viewed ‘vulnerable customers’ as a large and important segment of M&G's base - with research estimating that at any time, up to 50% of adults could be categorised as 'vulnerable'. However, in the autumn of 2020, M&G's executive team identified that vulnerable customers were not being sufficiently and consistently supported across the entire organisation - and this of course at a time of global disruption, when support for this community was more important than ever. From December 2020, Nicki was given the opportunity to lead a new vulnerable customer programme. 

With the aim to align and improve the service for vulnerable customers across all five different businesses that sit under the M&G umbrella, Nicki rapidly established an executive level management group and brought together colleagues from across the organisation into a working group to drive support and delivery. To establish clear goals, she undertook extensive research: scrutinising the regulatory guidance, reviewing international standards while also looking outside in, and exploring what best-in-class examples could be used to shape the plan.

This enabled the creation of a strategy and a 'maturity matrix', which split all initiatives into clearly defined workstreams and into five evolving stages of development - from nothing, to compliant, to pioneering. This matrix would enable the company to track and measure progress. Key milestones have included the creation of new policies; colleague training on how to support the vulnerable; the updating of the proposition process to give colleagues the tools & knowledge needed to embed vulnerability thinking into their ways of working; and collaboration with the internal culture programme to build vulnerability and customer-centricity into wider culture improvements.

From the offset with the customer vulnerability programme, I have founded our activities in a customer-centred approach. Focussing on purpose, and rebranding the programme to focus on how we can tangibly change the customer experience. I have shared this way of thinking with my fellow colleagues in our working group and with the senior leaders in our executive management group. I have brought the customer into the room through sharing both real-life examples but also hypotheticals to help challenge our ways of thinking. In doing so, I have been able to elicit change at a fast pace in a complex organisation.

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

“It’s clear Nicki’s role is full of strategic thinking.  The initial goal of her project at M&G was relatively undefined yet she’s created something from a base or ‘zero’ level.  And the way her research around dealing with vulnerable customers has been conducted and then translated into a maturity matrix is impressive.”
- Daniel Ord, CX Leader of the Year judge

Nicki was also the 2021 recipient of the Compassion award by the judging panel:

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought everyone perspective and has shone a spotlight on the brands that show empathy and compassion towards customers - especially vulnerable customers. Nicki’s work with M&G towards improving service for their vulnerable customers has been extensive and deserves great recognition.”

- CX Leader of the Year judges

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

CX Leader of the Year compassion award