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BizReport : Ecommerce : October 10, 2016


U.S. insurers fail to offer digital customer experience

While many U.S. insurers have a digital presence their inability to answer routine customer queries across several digital channels is impacting the customer experience, according to new research carried out by Eptica.

by Helen Leggatt

Earlier this year, Eptica researched the ability of ten of the UK's leading insurers to answer routine questions across multiple channels such as email, Twitter, Facebook and web chat.

Their findings revealed that email was the channel insurers focus on for customer service. All the insurers offered email and 80% successfully answered the question sent to them, compared to just 50% who managed to do so in 2015. However, Eptica found that the average response time had increased from 20 hours in 2015 to 28 hours and 4 minutes this year.

However, when it came to social media, insurers' performance took a dive. While all had a presence on Twitter, and 60% on Facebook, just 50% and 40% respectively responded successfully to queries. On Twitter, the average response time was 58 minutes - significantly faster than last year's 8 hours and 52 minutes. Facebook response time was faster than email at 1 hour 33 minutes on average.

New research from Eptica among U.S. insurers shows as similar trend. Just 28% of the 100 leading U.S. insurers (across 10 sectors) could answer customer queries across all digital channels while 14% failed to respond successfully on either email, social media or chat. More than two-thirds (68%) of responses on email, Twitter and Facebook asked the researcher to change channel and call, even for the most basic queries

As per the U.K., email was the strongest channel for answers in the U.S., with a 37% success rate, but the average time to receive a response was significantly longer - nearly two days (1 day 23 hours 38 minutes).

As well as 37% of emails, insurers provided answers to 30% of questions on their websites, 23% in response to Facebook messages and 12% to tweeted queries with response and times varying significantly between sectors.

Additional findings from Eptica's U.S.research include:

- Just one of the 100 insurers replied on all four channels of email, Facebook, Twitter and chat;

- While 17% claimed to offer chat, just 5% had it operational when the research took place;

- Nearly half (47%) of insurers failed to provide consistent answers across all channels;

- 46% of consumers said they spent just five minutes searching for information on a company website before giving up and going elsewhere.

"To succeed in this new world insurers need to prioritize the digital customer experience, yet the Eptica study shows that they are struggling to adapt and move away from analog channels," said Olivier Njamfa, CEO and Co-founder of Eptica. "Digital doesn't just benefit consumers, but also drives greater efficiency and enables innovation - it is therefore time for insurers to learn from their peers in other industries and apply best practice to their operations to meet changing customer needs."

Tags: customer experience, email, financial services, insurance, social media










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