Employee Of The Month
In the highly competitive car insurance industry, insurers have little movement to manoeuvre in an effort to gain market share. The fast changing insurance industry and online environment have brought together many new players to the industry – and many direct insurers have gained significant market share.
It is especially amongst these direct insurers that we find aggressive competition with clients often migrating from one direct insurer to another. The ease with which a quote is received and a policy purchased has lead to reduced brand loyalty – and poor service can easily motivate a client to move to another provider.
In this blog post we would like to take a closer look at service delivery in the car insurance industry.
Why is Service so important for Car Insurers?
Car Insurance Companies are by law “Financial Services Providers [FSP’S]” and by its nature the providers of services. Delivery of quality service has always been an essential component to the financial sustainability of these businesses – but has now become even more important.
Why do we believe service has become more important?
- Increased competition is placing more pressure on pricing.
- Reduced brand loyalty requires increased efforts to retain clients.
- The online environment has delivered a greater sharing of information.
- Online communities and social media platforms enables clients to share both positive and negative consumer experiences.
“Service excellence” the buzz word in the car insurance industry
Many big corporates are reverting to the values of service excellence. They send employees on training courses with the objective to improve the quality of their service. I was once privileged to attend such a course and I still remember one key phrase…”The client is NOT always right….the client you want to keep is always right…”
In the car insurance industry – and especially amongst direct insurers where we find a high migration of clients between insurers – it is even more important to ensure that good clients are kept on the books!
How do we measure quality service in the car insurance industry?
Most companies will rely on client feedback via surveys. They might do regular surveys themselves – but the bigger role players will appoint independent companies to conduct a survey amongst clients on their consumer experience.
Some brave companies who are confident about their levels of service delivery might even allow clients to comment, praise or criticize the service received on the company website or blog. In South Africa there are a few consumer websites as well – the most well known is “Hello Peter” – where consumers will voice their opinion, often allowing the company/ insurer to respond.
Whether car insurers do surveys or not – clients will find a way to voice their dissatisfaction! This is not only “word of mouth” any more – but via social media platforms. We often say that the problem with bad service is not the one dissatisfied customer – but the 10 persons with whom he shares his story. With platforms such as Facebook and Twitter such a bad experience is now revealed to an audience of thousands!!
What is the best car insurance service?
It is important to consider which level of service can be regarded as quality service. Quality service is not necessarily reliant on the best possible outcome for the client – but most definitely will require a fair process with a “human touch”.
Not every claim is a legitimate claim – and the best car insurance service is not necessarily provided by the company who pays out the most claims.
We would like to submit that the following would be characteristics of quality service in the car insurance industry:
Can you easily get hold of your insurer / broker when you need them – or do you have to make endless numbers of calls and are sent from A to Z before you are assisted?
Are you well informed and are the necessary procedures to follow well explained to you? Is there perhaps a company website where you can gain further clarity or gain information about your cover or claims via FAQ’s?
- Knowledge and Professionalism
Quality service can only be provided if the insurance provider has well trained staff capable of answering the questions raised correctly. A client who finds out during the delivery of service that he has been incorrectly advised will not be a satisfied client.
- Courtesy & Friendliness
Quality service does not need the best packing of the most beautifully branded documentation or client cards. Most often what is needed is basic human courtesy and friendly conversation. This is especially important for direct insurers where the client does not see the consultant and have the “face to face” experience. The consultant might have to do a bit extra to put the client at ease through his assistance and friendly attitude.
- Patience & Compassion
An aspect often neglected is the ability to respond with patience. The consultant / broker needs to remind himself that the client who has lost his vehicle or who has just been in an accident might be traumatized and in severe distress. Quality service will require that such a person is treated with patience and with the necessary compassion. This might require that a bit more time be spent in conversation with the client to put his mind at ease that his best interest are cared for and his concerns will be addressed.
The above are just some of the characteristics of quality service in the car insurance industry. We will discuss this topic further in the next few weeks and can only wish that our vehicle owners receive the best possible service!!!