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New study reveals UK insurance companies fail to provide most basic level of customer service

By Laura Hudson

February 29, 2012 | 2 min read

Most of the insurance companies in the UK are failing to provide the most basic level of customer service to online customers, the most recent edition of the quarterly UK Benchmark Insurance Survey shows.

The quarterly survey, operated by Global Reviews, looks at several hundred online criteria, designed around the needs of consumers researching and applying for insurance online. Criteria include instances such as whether sites enable users to trust the provider, and whether the sites provide enough information to apply or support if required.

From the priority issues uncovered by the survey, some of the most significant problems include failing to provide users with all the information needed to actually go through the quote and buy process, and failing to use the pricing pages in a way to encourage the consumer to apply with them rather than a rival company. Another issue is that most companies are not providing easy and helpful self-service tools for customers to answer their questions and resolve any queries, such as calculating the value of goods in their home for contents insurance. The survey also found that very few insurance companies are taking the recommended step of providing competitive price and service comparison rates.

Rebecca Jennings, senior client advisor at Global Reviews, said: “The benchmarks conducted in Q3 2011 found that the average UK insurance site scored well below the minimum required to be deemed to be meeting consumer needs, suggesting that the UK insurance industry overall struggles to meet customer expectations. Across the specific industries examined – life, health, motor and home – just a handful of UK insurance provider’s sites satisfied sufficient criteria to be meeting a basic level of customer needs. By addressing these quite basic design and functionality issues, UK insurers can easily and quickly enhance the experience of their online customers.

"By truly understanding how their site performs – especially versus their competitors – insurers will achieve measurable competitive advantage in improving conversion rates. But the simple fact remains – that all UK insurers are all failing a long way short of the most basic usability standards – which is not only costing them wasted online investment, but most importantly, valuable new customers.”

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