Direct Line CEO Paul Geddes on social, fickle customers and having a marketing background

Paul Geddes breaker

Social media

Customer expectations about certain things aren’t set by us – they’re set by other consumer industries. With social media, the speed that consumers expect you to react to stuff is quite instant. Once upon a time, people would write to you and expect a response in a week. On social media, people expect almost instant answers and therefore we have had to gear up our response [capabilities] to make sure that we are set up to deal with what are complex topics and claims.

Fickle customers

There are some customers who expect to change brands every year and would probably hope to not have many accidents in between times, so actually it is just a piece of paper they are buying and they don’t want to think too much about the claims experience. There are some customers with whom I don’t think we are set up to do business because they don’t value service or don’t value anything about quality – there will always be somebody probably charging a little bit less than us for those sorts of people.

Having a marketing background

The role of a CEO is marketing the business to its staff , stakeholders and investors. It is understanding people’s needs, what they want from the company and what propositions it needs to present. I spend a lot of time communicating to different audiences – that’s part of what a CEO’s job is. The other thing is that if your business is run by a marketing person, inherently they will run it for the customer.

READ MORE: Paul Geddes on turning Direct Line into a brand-driven business


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