50% of questions are successfully answered via email, compared with 40% on the web and 30% on Twitter, the research states.
The rate of response is roughly 10% lower than the UK business average, according to previous Eptica data, with Twitter and email response rates considerably lower.
The research evaluated ten leading UK insurers against businesses in nine other sectors, including banking, utilities, telecoms, electronics manufacturers, travel and different types of retail.
It found a sector performing in the lower echelons of those assessed, with insurance in the bottom four industries when it came to answering questions via the web. Banks managed to answer 91% of questions asked online, in comparison to the 40% answered by insurance providers.
“The insurance industry has been transformed by the internet, with consumers increasingly choosing the convenience and speed of digital channels when researching and buying policies,” said Julian Sammells, sales director UK & Ireland, Eptica.
“However, despite this need to be digital-first, the [study] found that the overall performance of insurers is no better than 2014, with wider gaps developing between best and worst. Insurance companies need to target their online investment if they are to win and retain customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive market.”
The insurance industry is “in the midst of a major transformation” according to the study, with digital disruption and rising insurance policy costs predicting an imminent erosion of customer loyalty in the sector.
However, the Grass Roots Group’s Ian Horsham recently stated that customer communication and support was just one factor amongst many that was causing a decline in retention among insurance companies.
“Loyalty schemes can play a huge role in retention, with our recent research finding that more than half of consumers rate loyalty schemes as important to them in their decision to stay with a provider,” he said.
“Yet nine in ten people are unaware of whether their home and motor insurance providers offer such programmes. With the insurance landscape inevitably changing, this suggests insurance companies could be missing out on keeping hold of loyal customers and acquiring new ones, by not implementing targeted and effective retention and loyalty programme.”
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.