With heightened competition, disruption from new entrants and the pressure to modernise, the insurance industry has its fair share of challenges today.
But in the scramble to compete, it could be overlooking one simple but crucial aspect: providing great customer service.
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In a highly regulated and highly competitive industry, carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate their products without lowering prices, says a report from consultancy McKinsey & Company, which likened insurance to the airline industry.
“Airlines all use the same planes, serve similar food, and match prices. Personal lines insurance is becoming similarly transparent. Due to the internet, aggregators, and social media, shoppers know more than ever about coverage, prices, and services,” the report said.
As a result, a number of airlines now see customer service as one of the few remaining ways to stand out from the crowd, “and are reaping the benefits,” it said.
“Providing a strong customer experience is not just about reducing the risk of customer service mishaps. It is increasingly a way for companies in competitive markets to distinguish their brands.”
However, it seems the insurance industry may not be quite as up to speed.
Just 16% of UK consumers rate their insurer as ‘excellent’ when it comes to contactability and getting queries resolved, a report from Yonder Digital Group revealed this month. With a “disturbing” 52% considering their provider difficult to get hold of in a moment of crisis, the findings suggest that insurers are falling short when it comes to providing great customer service, Yonder’s CEO said.
So how can the industry begin to build up its reputation when it comes to offering a great customer experience?
“Meeting consumer demands by being more responsive and efficient in answering queries is central to improving customer service and therefore satisfaction, and it is not rocket science,” Yonder CEO Chris Robinson told Insurance Business.
The first step for any business is simply to be accessible and to ensure that they clearly display how to get in touch with a range of options not just on their site, but on all channels used, Robinson went on to say.
“The next step of course is to make sure that communications are answered in the most relevant and timely way, such as through live agent support via phone or chat.
“Chatbots and email provision might work for some types of query but with the complexity of financial products, real-time live agent support is also critical, enabling agents to, for example, more easily direct customers to up-to-date information relevant to their enquiry, or help them with form filling for a claim.”
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