Insurance companies have been listed in the top four industries that rate worst for customer service in a new survey – but insurance bodies are questioning the accuracy of the results.
According to the fifth annual KiwiHost Perceptions of Customer Service Survey of more than 1,250 New Zealanders, insurance companies placed alongside government agencies and local councils, telecommunications and utilities as rating worst for customer service.
The survey covers customer service across 16 different industries, from automotive repairers, hotels/motels, banks and accounts/legal to supermarkets, medical centres, local councils, government agencies and internet service providers.
But both the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) and the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ
) queried the way the data had been presented.
ICNZ spokesman Samson Samasoni said customer service was incredibly important to the insurance industry – both at the time of purchasing insurance and dealing with claims.
He said the ICNZ took it so seriously they had conducted their own survey two months ago: “While the KiwiHost survey lumps the whole insurance industry together, our own national survey in February 2014 on behalf of the general insurance industry found that 63% of New Zealanders had a favourable view of general insurance companies.
“Those who had made insurance claims within the last 12 months were more likely to have a favourable opinion
of insurance companies.”
For the KiwiHost survey, companies are rated by customers according to a Happiness Rating, which applies to the number of satisfied responses minus the number of unsatisfied responses, represented as a percentage of the total number of responses for each company.
A Happiness Rating of 100 would indicate that all responses from the company were positive, while a negative Happiness Rating means that responses suggest that the company has more unsatisfied customers than satisfied ones.
Samasoni said: “It was pleasing to note that there was a 50% increase in the Happiness Rating from 2012 to 2013 (21% to 32%) at a time of major change to house insurance.
“Given the significant changes to home insurance over the last 12 months and the ongoing settlement of residential and commercial Canterbury earthquake-related claims, the findings of the KiwiHost study suggest the industry’s customer service levels are holding up well.”
He added: “Of course there is always room for improvement but overall it’s a pretty reasonable result because the industry’s Happiness Rating has improved in spite of the recent pressures on the industry’s customer service levels.”
CEO Gary Young
felt the report was misleading as there were in fact six sectors worse than insurance.
“They failed to mention fast foods and ISPs which ranked lower than insurance. Insurance scored a positive 21 while four of those below were in negative territory. So while still not good enough it is not so bad,” he told Insurance Business
“A key role for brokers is to liaise between client and insurer. Our role is to make the experience positive and ensure clients achieve the right result.
“We therefore work constantly to improve the perception of the insurers. Our view is that insurance should be seen to be professional in the way it operates and our code of conduct and education offerings are part of making that a reality.”
Air New Zealand remained the star performer with a Happiness Rating of higher than 80 compared to other international airlines.
ASB lead the banking industry with a rating in the mid-50s while 2 Degrees headed the telecommunications industry with a score in the mid-40s.
KiwiHost managing director Jared Brixton said it was pleasing to see no sectors scored a negative rating which was a tremendous improvement on last year.
He said the New Zealand customer has three basic expectations of an organisation:
- Listen to me and understand my needs
- Demonstrate a willingness to help
- Respond to me in a timely manner.
“When a business does not deliver on these three themes, the result is a dissatisfied customer,” he said.