Customer satisfaction is at a premium for insurers

1st Aug 2017

Insurance is unique among the 13 sectors covered by the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) – it is the only one to see a fall in its overall score from July 2016 to July 2017, from 79.4 to 78.9.

Compared to a year ago, customers are particularly less satisfied with prices, helpfulness and competence of staff (in person), and experiences in writing such as speed of response. This is reflected in the sector’s poor Net Promoter Score of 7.4, significantly lower than the 13.1 recorded a year ago, and well below the UK average of 17.0. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no insurance company features in the top 25 organisations listed in the latest UKCSI 

The report highlights some specific problems for the sector. For example, customers had to devote more effort in dealing with organisations compared to a year ago; the sector’s customer effort score, 5.0 out of 10,  is slightly higher than the national average of 4.9. Moreover, 9.3% of insurance customers experienced a problem – the highest rate for five years and 1.5 percentage points higher than a year ago.

It’s not all bad news: the sector still scores above the UK average on most measures, most notably for customer service over the phone. The largest improvements made by insurers over the past year are for measures associated with their response to complaints, particularly the outcome and overall handling of complaints. In particular, there has been a significant improvement in the time taken to resolve complaints, with 24.4% of complaints being dealt with sooner than consumers expected, up 9.2 percentage points compared with last year.

Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, comments: “Many organisations have woken up to the need to respond to more savvy, confident customers, who are clear about what they want and what they will pay for. However, in many cases relationships are too transactional and organisations are failing to create the sort of relationship that leads to loyalty, advocacy and sustained business growth.”

She continues: “Business leaders need to reflect on the fact that customer priorities are changing; failure to do so increases the risk that organisations will sleep-walk into a situation where the investment they make in customer service no longer delivers the sort of return that is necessary for long-term business success.”

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