The UK insurance customer experience – struggling to deliver?
Insurers in the UK are under unprecedented pressure. Margins have been slashed by the rise of the internet and price comparison sites, competition is growing, customer loyalty is at an all-time low and claim costs and regulation are both increasing.
Against this backdrop,the balance of power is shifting overwhelmingly in favour of consumers. They expect more, for less – and want answers faster and through the channels they choose. Adding to consumer pressures is a growth in regulation - insurers now have to be able to provide a full audit trail of all their interactions with customers and prove that they are obeying not just the spirit but the letter of the law.
To see how some the sector is coping with these challenges, the Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study evaluated ten leading UK insurers. It looked at their ability to provide answers to routine questions via the web as well as their speed, accuracy and consistency when responding to email, Twitter and web chat. The study formed part of a larger, multi-sector study of 100 major UK brands, and builds on research carried out over the past two years.
So, how did the insurance sector perform across each channel?
- On the web: Over half (57%) of questions were answered online (up from 48% in the previous year), this lagged behind other sectors, notably fashion retailers, who answered 79% of questions asked via the web. There was a widening gulf between best and worst - one company successfully answered 8 questions online, while another provided a relevant response to just 3.
- Twitter: Half of companies were on Twitter, although just three responded successfully to tweeted questions, putting insurance in the bottom half of the sector league table. The average response time was 37 minutes.
- Email: While 90% of insurers offered the ability for non-customers to email them, only 70% actually responded to a message. And then just 30% answered the question satisfactorily. There were great differences between insurers. One responded within 1 hour and 6 minutes – yet the slowest took over five days.
- Web chat: At the time of the study none of the insurers surveyed offered web chat, although one has since introduced the service. Insurers could be missing out as the study overall found that with other sectors web chat scored highly for accuracy and speed, with 93.5% of interactions receiving satisfactory answers in an average time of 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
All in all, the study found inconsistencies in terms of channel availability, response times and the answers delivered between different insurers. Based on our experience, Eptica recommends five areas to focus on in order to resolve these challenges:
- Increase efficiency
- Make it easy for customers
- Learn from the best
- Integrate with the business
The full findings of how the insurance sector performed within the Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study, along with recommendations for areas to focus on, are available in the Eptica Insurance Guide, which can be downloaded from http://www.eptica.com/insurance-multichannel-study-2014.