Communication and engagement: The key to customer trust

Communication and engagement: The key to customer trust | Insurance Business

Communication and engagement: The key to customer trust
Ernst & Young has released a survey which reveals that only 53% of the Australian public trust their insurance provider – compared with 78% for supermarkets and 71% for banks.

The company has released its Global Consumer Insurance Survey and it makes for unhappy reading for the Australian insurance industry. The nation was ranked second-bottom globally for consumer trust alongside Great Britain and Germany.

Walter Poetscher, EY’s Insurance Stretegy and Customer Advisory Lead, warned insurers that they risk losing their customer base to more trusted brands as “some of the newer, less-traditional market participants come from sectors like supermarkets and banking which score much higher levels of trust among consumers.”

The survey also highlights other startling findings about the Australian insurance industry such as the significant gap between the engagement a customer would like from their insurer and what they actually receive in terms of correspondence.

Poetscher detailed that Australian consumer trust is in line with other mature markets but the consumer want of communication is lacking against the rest of the world.

“Ultimately, what it [the survey] really highlights is a significant gap in the engagement and attention insurance customers expect and what they currently receive.

“It’s quite a staggering number of 50% of Australia consumers would like to be engaged more than once a year and only half of them are currently receiving this, so quite an unusual finding in market research that consumers ask for more information in an age where they seem to be bombarded by communication.

“If you compare 53% with the rest of the world it is on par with the UK and Germany – both mature markets and there is a bit of mature vs emerging or developing market and usually in developing markets there.”

Poetscher also detailed the interesting results that ‘advocates’ – those who would tell family and friends to use an insurer – are still likely to switch policies within 18 months.

“About two-thirds say they are likely or very likely to recommend their insurer and a staggering 38% of those advocates have indicated they’ve closed their policy or switched providers in the last 18 months, which gives an opportunity to rethink how to stay connected with consumers once they’ve left.

“There is an opportunity for insurers to extend their definition of customer beyond the tenure they have with the organisation and stay close and stay in touch and try to meet the customer need in future, because they are likely to hold them in high regard and come back... insurers really have the opportunity to create a win-back strategy and stay connected to the customer.
“Customer centricity and really understanding what they want is at the core of this.”

With regard to broker communication, Poetscher believes they play an important channel in the communication process of the insurance industry but the insurers themselves have a large role to play in customer satisfaction.

“I think brokers should continue to get in touch but I would put an emphasis on the insurance provider to compliment what brokers and agents are doing and stay connected with the consumer

“There is a win-win situation for insurance providers, brokers and customers getting more connected to really increase the value. It’s the collaboration that is the opportunity.

“The uptake has increased and with the rise of digital, big data and analytics it’s going to be more accessible for insurers to create timely, relevant and meaningful interaction with their customers

“It comes back to the main finding that there is a significant gap in the engagement and attention and the ability to close this is through leveraging the new technologies that become more mainstream.”