Insurers advised not to forget traditional channels when communicating with millennials

25th May 2015

It’s widely accepted that the UK insurance sector is in a state of flux, thanks to changes in consumer behaviour, the advancement of price comparison websites and the resulting difficulty providers are having differentiating themselves from the competition.

Many insurance companies believe shifting their focus to improving digital, multichannel communications will help them reconnect with customers and halt increasing churn rates – especially in the case of millennials, who are deemed hardest to keep loyal.

However, a new study by one of the UK’s top generational sociologists, Dr Paul Redmond contradicts this industry thesis, stating that most UK residents between the ages of 18 and 34 would still prefer to interact with insurers via traditional channels.

Conducted on behalf of Pegasystems, Redmond’s study canvassed opinion of 1,000 UK millennials to find that 42% rank “the ability to speak to somebody either in person or on the telephone” as the number one priority when dealing with insurers, while conversely, just 8% attach the same preference to using social media.           

And having the ability to access all their insurance information online was ranked highly by 35% of participants, suggesting that although millennials are reluctant to use social channels, they are still heavily reliant on online services.

“While maybe surprising to insurers, these results confirm much of what we’re discovering about millennials and the way that they behave,” Dr. Redmond states.

“They don’t see themselves as digitally savvy because for them digital and social tools are a given, and it’s clear that a strong bias exists for wanting to deal with actual people. No doubt this explains why millennials are unconvinced about interacting with insurance providers via social media.

“Use of social media, even amongst the young, is still used primarily for social transactions. Crucially, however, when it comes to making critical financial decisions, social media is still viewed with some suspicion by the very people for whom it has been developed, and insurers will need to bear this in mind.”

Despite this, a recent study from Eptica showed the condemnation insurers have to deal with via digital channels, when they fail to get things right.

The 2015 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study found just 40% of routine questions asked via the web, email and Twitter are answered by insurance company customer service teams, questioning why the rate of response is roughly 10% lower than the UK business average when insurers were so intent on focusing their attention on customer experience.

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