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Mike Richards, Project Manager

In my management of the Egg motor termination I was grateful for your assistance in providing advice, and driving actions to close down / re-route the web links. You were clear in setting milestones, and gave a number of options in providing a fit for purpose solution for DLG and the partner. For the IT changes you produced a PowerPoint document that clearly highlighted the required changes and you followed them through to completion, keeping me informed at all times. Whilst meeting my expectations this also helped satisfy the requirements of Reg Risk, and the Partner.

Sue Turner, Project Manager 

This project has been an exceptionally challenging project for everyone involved. Sam has been stretched by the demands of a complex, and in many ways ground-breaking project, and the following should specifically be noted with regard to Sam's performance: 

Originally Sam's role was as support to her line manager, and even before her departure on maternity leave the complexity of dealing with the partner was clear.  Since her line manager's absence Sam has really stepped up to the mark to ensure the project's success. She has owned the deliverables that fall into Customer Experience's remit, and has gone beyond this in order to ensure the customer journey and experience is what is required by the partner. This includes working with other areas such as Digital Marketing and Marketing Services (checking of static page information and documents attached to the Q&B), and more significantly the herculean (and still ongoing) effort required working with IT, Business Testing & the partner to get the eCRM suite fit for purpose - a piece of work troubled by other areas and the partner missing deadlines and inadequate solution delivery.  None of the contributing factors to the issues we are now experiencing with eCRMs are down to Sam, yet she has continuously worked with the project team and partner to resolve the situation.

Julie Thornton,  Transition Manager-           

Hi Sam, following our Digital Change Board just now, I wanted to recognise how far you've moved this forward. Great job! It feels like you've established a good operating rhythm on this now with today's call being the best so far. Publishing the revised work request form next week, puts us firmly on track and looking for continuous improvement….

My observations are that you are a highly positive individual. Outgoing and supportive of the team. Keen to learn new things. Very systematic in your approach and highly organised. You are extremely organised and good at follow through. You rarely if ever leave loose ends. Great work on the stack and great approach to Change Board. You're not intimidated by senior stakeholders, which is great. 


I love to put my creative flair to use – decorating, painting and wood crafts are what I’ve been up to recently.

I also enjoy exercise; I’m a bit of a gym bunny, as well as boxercise, circuit training and swimming! I’ve also participated in running for charity.

I am interested in different cultures and exploring new places, recently I’ve visited Croatia and popped

to Venice whilst I was there – fascinating city! Amsterdam is also a great city to visit!

I'm also intrigued with the Digital World... I’d love the opportunity to broaden my horizons in this area. 

Work experience

May 2011Present

Online Customer Experience Consultant

Direct Line Group (Formerly RBS Insurance)

I’m an expert on the Direct Line, Churchill and other DIrect Line Group branded websites. My role involves the following;

  • Working on projects that affect the Direct Line Group branded websites (this covers all brands and products), ensuring the online customer experience is captured in the requirements
  • Good understanding of the technical approach to projects; reviewing functional specs, testing & approval of test output documents, working with off shore developers and feeding in UX requirements to the project team
  • Creating solutions to improve the online customer experience and managing the e2e process of delivering these initiatives. This involves being the business owner and representing the Digital Team across the business
  • Designing solutions in the absence of UX resource using Corel Paint Shop Pro x2 and utilising my usability and user experience skills
  • Creating detailed requirements documentation to support initiatives – interacting with UX designers and appropriate functions to deliver initiatives that support industry best practise
  • Collaborating with stakeholders, manage expectations and ensure that all approvals, relevant documentation and processes are in place
  • Keeping up to date with trading performance and use this to deliver initiatives
  • Ensuring any risks and issues related to our websites are identified and captured correctly – also includes owning and managing risks in accordance with company standards
  • Owning, managing, organising and prioritising a large portfolio of work across all brands and products and continuously improving the way it looks and evolving the process

Top achievements:

  • Delivering the Nationwide Home Insurance Quote and Buy sites in June 2012. I was required to ensure that the online customer experience was the best it could be, taking on board the requirements of the partner. I was required to walk the partner through the new screens and explain functionality in order for them to have a clear understanding, with this information they created process maps which I was required to approve, they also asked for my input on creating training guides for the call centre and branch staff – these were well received
  • Direct involvement with the creation of the process for making tactical changes to the Churchill and Direct Line Insurance Quote and Buy transactional pages
  • Initiating and delivering changes to the quote and buy pages – owning the end to end process
  • Learning how to use Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo x2 – without formal training and completing a full set of mock ups for various projects – subsequently attending a workshop to learn how to use it competently!
  • Acquiring strong stakeholder management skills – especially with those more superior to me
  • Setting up the Digital Work Stack from scratch and continuing to manage, organise and prioritise a large portfolio of work across all brands and products and continuously improve the way it looks and evolve the process – all without any previous experience in this field!
  • Learning to adapt quickly in a fast paced environment – technology is always changing and I have to be up to date with the latest developments
  • Setting up and owning an incident log to comply with Risk and Record Keeping policies when issues arise with the websites
Apr 2010May 2011

Team Leader

Direct Line Group

Before joining the Digital team; I was a Team Leader in Home Claims (2010-2011)

I managed a team of 13 mixed ability claims handlers to ensure they met and exceeded targets and operated within the required business rules.

Other projects and tasks whilst leading a team kept me very busy… I learnt a lot and became very good at multi-tasking and organising my workload, here’s a snippet of what I was up to:

Customer Satisfaction rep – I learnt what satisfies customers!

  • The team of reps was split across the country – therefore it was imperative that we worked well virtually
  • The purpose was to drive improvements in how we dealt with Claims to improve the customer experience
  • I introduced a visual board in the department to make everyone aware of what the Customer Satisfaction index was, and how this compared to the previous months (it was usually higher which was a real motivator!)
  • I worked independently to embed ideas into my own department but also collaborated with other site reps to initiate ideas and change
  • I had a duty to communicate the ideas to my peer group for cascade to advisor level
  • Strong communication skills was the key to ensuring that the correct message was being delivered and influenced in the department with the view of improving the customer experience

Quality Assurance Audits (AKA auditing closed complaints, an FCA regulation - formerly FSA)

  • Managed and allocated resource across the department to ensure that we had done everything required to satisfy the FCA
  • Completed 2nd line audits and monitored results for the department
  • When we were under performing I implemented actions to drive improvement in the results
  • I was responsible for the monthly action plan which was created to drive improvement in our department results and the customer experience. I presented the actions to the Team Leader group for them to manage
  • I introduced a performance tracker on Excel to ensure that actions in the department were being followed through

What I did well:

  • Communicated and delivered proposals to mixed level audiences
  • Collaborating with other sites to achieve success within the customer experience
  • Motivated an entire department to improve the way we dealt with our customers, and saw the Satisfaction index increase as a result of this!
  • Under-performers on my team achieved their targets and reached their next level
Jan 2008Apr 2010

Assistant Team Leader

Direct Line Group

Before managing a team; I was an Assistant Team Leader

I had to build a good knowledge of Household Insurance quickly as my role on the team involved:

  • Answering complex queries
  • Auditing advisor calls – using Replay software and internal forms on Excel
  • Authorising payments in order to control costs
  • Coaching less experienced members of the team
  • Handling claims on the front line - this built on my customer experiences and ability to make quick decisions in regards to policy cover and settlement decisions
  • I handled all the possible voidance cases for my team which involved gathering information about the customer and their claims history and liaising with the underwriting teams to make a decision regarding the validity of the policy

I was chosen to head several academy training teams whilst I was in this role enabling me to develop my communication skills and management ability further. I was then seconded to a Team Leader role where I had the opportunity to prove that I had the ability to develop and manage people.

What I needed to do to be good at my job:

  • Gather information and find solutions with regards to claim settlement and policy validity
  • Develop people – transferring my skills to better those less experienced
  • Finding solutions to simplify processes
  • Competent in using the following software;

-UIS (system where claims are recorded)

-CMS (Monitor incoming calls, call hold times and advisor behaviour)

-Replay (Software which records and replays calls)

Feb 2006Jan 2008

Claims Handler

Direct Line Group

How it all started… I joined RBS Insurance in 2006 as a Claims Advisor in Motor Insurance

I dealt with customers on the front line, solved problems that occurred and dealt with both written and verbal complaints. As I progressed in this role, I dealt with vehicles that had been declared Total Losses – ensuring that I followed the correct procedures in line with the DVLA and liaised with the engineers and customers to negotiate settlement figures.

What I learnt in this role:

  • Influencing skills for customers who are not claims experts
  • Finding solutions for problems that occur during the customer experience
  • Understanding issues that my cause a threat to the customer experience and the
  • Business
  • Fully trained to understand industry standards and best practises
  • The art of negotiation
  • Became competent in using the HPI look up and MIAFTR software supported by Experian – both are vehicle look up mechanisms


Sep 2003Jul 2005

Orpington College

AS Levels: Art & Design, Psychology, Media Studies, Spanish

A Levels: Art, Media Studies

Sep 1997Jul 2003

Bullers Wood school

GCSE's: 10 A-C grades, including an 'A' in Art & Design


Portfolio Management
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo x2
Digital Change
Project work
Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
Jira (project management tool)
  This online tool is useful for creating work sprints, especially good for working in an Agile environments. Swim lanes within sprints also allow for dropping items from Development' into 'Testing' in seconds Visual conference call tool - excellent for sharing slides and sharing mock ups whilst on projects