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“Negative connotations” affecting insurance sector experience

25th Sep 2015
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A survey of over 1,000 consumers conducted by consultants Engine found that the insurance sector ranked lowest for customer service among 14 UK sectors.

Only 11% of respondents said insurance was a sector with the best customer service.

Retail was ranked first with 38% of people having the best customer experience, followed by hotels/hospitality and food service/restaurants, with 37% and 35% of people citing them respectively.

The insurance sector was also behind banking, which is currently ranked sixth place with 23%, and utilities, a much-maligned sector in 2015 and the source of much media criticism throughout the year.

Oliver King, co-founder of Engine says the ranking highlights the growing issue insurance firms have trying to deliver a better experience to their customers, and that the issue boils down to the adverse perception consumers have of the industry as a whole:        

 “Insurance suffers from two key problems in terms of customer experience. It’s a product people are obliged to have rather than want. Plus, on the rare occasions they do interact with the provider, it normally has negative connotations – either going through the sometimes onerous claims process or receiving a renewal notice, often accompanied by an increase in premium.

“To compound the situation, customers are unaware of the complexity of current underwriting and claims processes, so their expectations of a simple and speedy settlement are high.”

Issues associated with speed of response were raised in a study by Eptica earlier in the year, finding that just 50% of routine questions asked via the web, email and Twitter are answered by insurance company customer service teams.

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.

Matt Keenan, group vice president for CRM products, at Aptean believes insurance companies are still too often tied to traditional methods of communication, and that channels such as social media are becoming will need to become more prevalent in order to match expectations:

“To ensure that happens, firms need to develop an omnichannel approach to handle this increase in complaints types, ensuring that everything from every channel is captured and dealt with seamlessly to ensure the best possible service is provided.

“There have been many tried and tested strategies to appease and ultimately satisfy [customers] in the general insurance industry. A revolutionary new strategy is not the answer to enhancing customer service teams’ effectiveness; it is about improving their existing communications to give the customer what they actually want – information, resolution and an acknowledgement of fault if required.”

Engine’s research found the following sectors and percentage of customers having best customer service:

1. Retail – 38%
2. Hotels/hospitality – 37%
3. Food service/restaurants – 35%
4. Technology – 24%
5. Leisure – 24%
6. Banking – 23%
7. Air travel – 20%
8. Public services – 18%
9. Broadband/media – 17%
10. Mobile – 15%
11. Public transport – 14%
12. Utilities – 12%
13. Automotive –12%
14. Insurance – 11%

Replies (2)

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By LinkedIn Group Member
04th Oct 2015 18:42

This is a wakeup call for insurers, some scary sats. There is evey reason to believe that insurance companies, just like any other, can deliver the right customer experience at the right time. There are challenges but it does not have to be like this. Sounds like we need a plan.

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By LinkedIn Group Member
04th Oct 2015 18:43

I'm afraid that too often the perception that most people have of insurance is that companies will do anything to get out of a claim. This may be untrue but everyone knows someone with a horror story. So really companies need to work harder to be human and transparent.

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