An interview with Tim Tez


Metlife’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer speaks to FST Media about how MetLife will enhance its multi-channel capabilities to deliver an optimised customer journey.

FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Tez: The life insurance industry is under heavy regulatory scrutiny and there is a lot of change that is coming over the horizon for our industry. Despite that, we need to do a better job of engaging with our customers and delivering differentiated value to them – really getting them engaged in the category and valuing their insurance offers. 

FST Media: How significant is customer experience to MetLife’s overall business and digital marketing strategy?

Tez: Digital and customer experience are interchangeable nowadays, so it is critical to us. We are a service provider and an insurance provider. Insurance is something that people do not often think too deeply about and often only when they really need it. Delivering a relationship with a customer or being able to have a relationship with the customer that is more than just transactional is critical. The customer experience we deliver has to be outstanding to keep customers coming back. In terms of digital marketing, that is obviously going to play a critical role, whether it is mobile, gamification, or other engagement and customer strategies, and it is going be critical to our business moving forward.

FST Media: What is the holy grail that is yet to be delivered in financial services?

Tez: Customers increasingly expect and will continue to expect services, interactions and an overall customer experience in line with all their other purchases – whether that be through services like Amazon or Webjet or others. Financial services is a very old industry but a very important industry. It plays a critical role in our economy and in safeguarding peoples’ futures, but it is not an industry that has been set up to deal with rapid change and big data, all the information we now have at our fingertips. The holy grail for us is to deliver modern customer experiences without diminishing the value of what we offer.

FST Media: How will MetLife enhance its multi-channel capabilities to deliver an optimised customer journey?

Tez: There is no doubt we need to be omni-channel. We have a disconnect in life insurance where typically the industry talks about channels as group insurance through superannuation funds, direct insurance – whether it be through your own brand or through a partner’s brand (where it’s direct marketed) – and retail life insurance, which is predominantly an advised face-to-face channel. Our customers, when we talk about channels, are talking about something completely different, whether it be face-to-face, online, digital, mobile, and so forth. We have a language issue we need to overcome first and foremost. We need to have a digital enablement strategy that actually allows people to opt in and out of those distribution channels in a seamless way and deliver a great customer experience while they are doing it. It depends on which channel those customers come through. At the moment, they get different customer experiences and what we need to do is have a baseline that is a tremendous customer experience irrespective of which channel customers actually use.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Tez: I think failure is important and I think you have to fail fast. We are backed by the global MetLife business which is an enormous company and one of the world’s largest life insurers, but we are quick and nimble enough locally to try different things. We are a great size and innovative enough to do different things, so that’s attractive to people, but we do need to give them the space to try things and fail fast because that is the only way to learn, and the more nimble and agile we can be in responding to our customers the better in a modern age our results will be.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, Tim Tez, what is yours?

Tez: I don’t think you can separate the person you are from the leader you are, so I think we are guardians and trustees of everything we do. As a leader, I would like to think that I helped people to get the best out of them and helped them achieve their goals and the organisation’s goals, and that I was a custodian of their futures.