min read

Standard Life's Contact Centre Transformation

Standard Life have been helping customers with their life savings for nearly 200 years. Today, they support over 4.5m customers, helping them to manage their pensions so that they and their families can enjoy a better future.

Standard Life wanted to continue to improve the service they offer their customers over the phone, and in doing so increase value for their customers, employees, and the business.

Standard Life realised that, too often, companies fail to consider the ways in which the human brain works, and so they partnered with Cowry to optimise their call-centre scripts.

Behavioural audit



Transform customer experiences

Cowry conducted a behavioural audit to identify the psychological ‘friction points’ in customer conversations.

They discovered that conversations about pensions can be confusing, fraught and lead to fractured communication.

Customers are bombarded with information leading them to be cognitively overloaded and unsure on what to do next.

Behavioural design

Cowry’s team of behavioural scientists took the findings from the audit, and used them to write and design an optimised playbook with over 65 separate behavioural nudges, for example:

Ambiguity aversion

Reduced Ambiguity
They introduced 3 simple steps: Collect, Check and Complete, which encouraged customers to bring their pension pots together.

Social norms

Introduce Social Norms
They highlighted the benefits that many other customers receive by using an online platform in order to create momentum and drive usage.

Authority bias

Embedded Authority
They established prestige by renaming the team from ‘Priority Support’ to ‘Priority Plus’, and the call-centre agents were given the title of ‘Priority Plus Consultants’.

Behavioural intervention

Standard Life Results  Copy-1


  • Increased value for customers. Customer satisfaction increased from +4.6 to +4.8.
  • Increased value for the business, increasing business leads by 54.5%. This meant that the customers were significantly more engaged with the products that Standard Life provides, such as the online platform.
  • Increased value for Standard Life’s employees, who with their new call guides felt they were able to perform better in their roles. Rebecca Breheny, Priority Plus Consultant says "It has helped me to structure my calls and take control".

With the amazing results from this project, Standard Life have started to embed behavioural principles in other areas of the business.


We believe in believe in partnering with the experts and Cowry has a proven methodology using cognitive and behavioural psychology that really works. Through our pilots we have already seen significant benefits across a number of areas of the business in terms of how we’re supporting customers and making it easier for them to engage and make good decisions about their financial futures.”

Michael Reed-Smith, Retail Director, Standard Life

Want to find out more?

We’d love to chat to you about how to start applying behavioural science - book a slot below to catch up with Jez and find out more.