“Negative connotations” affecting insurance sector experience
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%
You might also be interested in
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.