MELBOURNE: Medibank, Australia's beleaguered health insurer, is betting on a digital transformation to change direction and rebuild brand loyalty.

In 2016, Medibank single-handedly generated the greatest number of complaints to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman in any quarter of the regulator's 20-year history. More than 40,000 customers left the company in the 2015-2016 financial year.

Medibank's antiquated computer interface – think green text on a black screen – had been at the root of many customer frustrations.

"We got started in 1976 and up until last year we were still using the same system," revealed David Koczkar, Medibank's chief customer officer at the Customer Experience Innovation and Techfest event in Melbourne recently. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: Medibank goes digital for brand transformation in Australia.)

According to Koczkar, almost 1,000 policies would get "broken" every month, while the entirely separate CRM system only allowed customers to pay direct debits on one particular day each month.

The new system, he said, has removed "about 150 customer pain points" but there is still work to do when it comes to improving the customer experience.

NPS is being measured in a more joined up manner – the work being underpinned by six customer journeys, with digital transformation at the core.

"To actually understand the thoughts, feelings, and the emotions, pre and post these touch points, and also when people are not connected to your brand, has been incredibly important," Koczkar said.

"But that's the big data side. Also what's important for our leaders is to get emotionally connected, because we are human. In addition to the measurement we actually, now, speak to our customers," he added; senior executives are expected to spend at least 30 hours a year listening to and talking to them.

While progress is being made, Koczkar is keenly aware that Medibank's service is not just being compared to competitors in the insurance category, but to improvements in services across multiple sectors.

"Recognising what we've done in the past is a really important part of the change process," he said. "We certainly have spent a lot of time being more transparent with our customers and saying, 'You know what? We can do better'."

Data sourced from WARC