Normandale Partner Western National Insurance Receives 2015 Customer Experience Innovation Award

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Western National Insurance Group's public-private sector customer experience training partnership recently received a CX Innovation Award from the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), the premier global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing and cultivating the Customer Experience profession.

The winning innovation from Western National was an ongoing partnership with Normandale Community College. Together they received a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to provide CX training to Western National's Minnesota employees.

"We have really enjoyed a quality partnership with Western National, and are excited to see them received this deserving honor," said Jeff Hudson, Program Director, Continuing Education. "When we started this partnership, we felt it was a great fit because we already had customer experience on our radar due to a growing interest in the field that complemented a number of our programs. This partnership with Western National made a great deal of sense and it has been very successful."

The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) grant started on March 4, 2014 and runs through October 31, 2016. It was set up to train 320 Western National employees in areas that include customer service, claims, underwriting, IT, human resources and finance. The training includes entry level, re-training and advanced skills.

"Both Normandale and Western National have shown a great deal of commitment to make sure this training was a success," said Paul Moe, Director of the MJSP Program at DEED. "This partnership has also opened up a variety of opportunities for Normandale to deliver this type of training to other businesses within Minnesota with similar needs. Normandale has been a leader in customized training, and has been awarded numerous Minnesota Job Skills grants over the years. These grants are usually highly competitive, so this is an indication of the quality work Normandale Customized Training staff are doing."

The curriculum consists of CX foundation courses and skill development courses on journey mapping, user-based design, measuring the customer experience, and managing for employee engagement. An advisory board of Minnesota CX community members provides insights. The CX curriculum and course materials are designed to be reused by organizations in many different industries, to ensure that a program based on CX best practices is available to any Minnesota company.

The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) is the premier global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and cultivation of the Customer Experience profession. The CXPA has more than 70 Corporate Members and more than 3,000 customer experience professionals in its community.

"The Normandale partnership and customer experience training has helped Western National accelerate our customer experience program," said Mara Bain, Western National's Chief Experience Officer. "The grant has provided Western National with a portfolio of quality resources that would otherwise not have been accessible."

Western National Insurance Group, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of seven active property-and-casualty insurance companies. The Group insures personal and business coverage plus surety in 19 states across the Midwestern, Northwestern, and Southwestern U.S.; and surety-only in another seven states. The Group distributes its products exclusively through Independent Insurance agents.