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Insurance provider Vitality builds a continuous relationship with its clients using Salesforce

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez September 21, 2022
Vitality is an insurance provider that takes a different approach to the service it delivers - where it uses Salesforce Service Cloud to keep its members healthy and engaged.

People carryng speech bubble icons sitting in a row, CRM conversation concept © - Shutterstock
(© - Shutterstock)

Vitality is a leading health and life insurance provider that operates under what it calls a ‘shared value model’ - where the driving principle is ‘what is good for our members, us and society’.

What this means is that Vitality incentivizes its members to remain healthy, in return for benefits, with the view that this will lead to better outcomes for them as individuals and for Vitality. 

For anyone that has taken out any form of insurance, you will know that the typical process involves getting a quote, agreeing to the terms, paying a premium and then hoping you never have to claim. Interactions with the insurance provider typically only happen if something goes wrong and you need access to funds via a claim, or when it comes to renewal time. 

However, because Vitality aims to engage with its members regularly, this requires a different approach to service - one that doesn’t just rely on one of sales.  Mike Williams, CRM Director, explains that this operating modern impacts the company’s technology decisions: 

The whole point of Vitality is that we want to be more than just an insurance provider. Our core purpose is to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives. Every decision we make from a technology perspective is about how it is actually going to help members enhance and protect their lives. 

The way we do that is to incentivise behaviour, which means we have a unique product within the market.

Vitality has been using Salesforce Sales Cloud for 15 years, but it adopted Salesforce Service Cloud approximately four years ago. The Service Cloud has been implemented to support Vitality’s retention team, says Williams:

Retention doesn’t sit in sales or service, it kind of sits in this gap in the middle. You’re servicing customers, but you’re almost in a way reselling to them. At Vitality we don’t really see it like that, we’re looking at the benefit utilization - understanding how much they’re getting out of Vitality. 

There’s hundreds of pounds that you as a user are benefiting from by being a member. We chose Salesforce because we needed a central place to manage all those things, that one central customer record is where it all started. 

A single view of the customer, but for the right user

Williams and his retention team are taking a different approach to the idea of a ‘single view of the customer’ using Salesforce, where it is focused on delivering the right data for the right user, rather than trying to facilitate a master record for the whole of the organization: 

A lot of people talk about a ‘single view of a customer’ - but I don’t think that actually exists. I think the single view of a customer is specific to the business area that wants to look at that customer. So for me when it comes to Salesforce, it’s about how we pull that information together about that customer, and then surface it in a way that for that business area they are getting that single view. 

They’re getting the right information at the right time, to service them in the best possible way. At that moment in time, the customer needs to feel like they’re in the middle of Vitality’s world. Therefore we need to make sure that our system is doing the same thing, we need to make sure that our internal systems are showing our agents everything about that person. 

Williams says that adopting this approach, alongside the features and functionality that Salesforce provides out of the box, such as analytics, reports, dashboards, and queuing systems, means that agents and users aren’t having to go away and use other systems to control what’s happening with members. 

Vitality now has 2,000 users on Salesforce across the organization. The company has adopted an 80/20 rule when it comes to using the platform, where 80% is configuration and 20% is code-based customisation. But Vitality is very intentional about trying to adapt its business and processes to fit the system, rather than the other way around. This is because, according to Williams, by using the system out of the box you get to take advantage of much more of the functionality. 

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges. Data in particular - as is often the case with these use cases - is not always easy to get right. Williams and his team are focused on ensuring that data works both for Vitality’s users and its members: 

Data is a big challenge. I think it's about understanding where your data is needed and who needs to use it. Does this need to be shared really widely across the organization? Or actually, is it a much smaller sort of subset, or cohort that needs to be viewing it?  I think that helps with data design and the data structure you're trying to create. I think the other thing is, when it comes to data, it's quite a simple one - take a step back. 

I say forget about what data we have now. Think about: what is this data actually trying to do? What are we trying to do with it? Don't go like for like, I suppose. Just because we've got these 17 tables with all of our data today doesn’t mean you have to have 17 objects in Salesforce. You could combine some of this. 

I think the last point for me on data is: don't forget the user. Businesses think about getting the data structure right, but it's also got to look good, feel good, flow in a nice way for the user. 


Throughout its journey, Vitality has learned a lot about how to get the best out of Salesforce for its users and its members. Williams admits that in its early days using the platform, the organization made some mistakes - but this was largely due to it not having enough internal Salesforce knowledge. This is not longer the case: 

There’s lots of ways of doing the same thing with Salesforce, which means that sometimes it’s not quite the right way of doing it. You can do it one way, then six months down the line you get a little bit stuck. So we’ve gone through a bit of that pain.

But I would say that at that time the Salesforce knowledge within Vitality wasn’t where it needed to be, so the onus was on us. Where we are at now is that we’re in the next generation sort of user base - we know how to build Salesforce.

Williams adds that the two main priorities for Vitality, from a user perspective, are technology and structure. From a technology perspective, it’s about time to market, being able to move quickly - which Salesforce provides the company. When it comes to structure, the setup, Vitality is seeking continuous user feedback, says Williams:

Social media on the platform is a really good example of something where we haven't just put them on Salesforce and gone, ‘right the project's done, goodbye’. There's continuous feedback, continuous optimization to help them. They see the platform's moving and that they know they're not only helping Salesforce in shaping some of that product, and the future releases, but they're saying, ‘Oh great, these guys do want this to work and they are making the changes based on our feedback’. 

I always say to them, it's their system, not mine. It's not our system. It's the end user’s system.

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