UK insurers ‘should improve customer experience’

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Insurers need to improve their customer relationships in the UK market in a range of ways, a new report has indicated.

A study by KPMG has found that the general experience of British consumers is better than it was, but leaves much room for further enhancement – something online retailing may help achieve.

Its Customer Experience Barometer found only 16 per cent of UK general insurance policyholders thought firms had improved in this area since last year, a figure that drops to 13 per cent for life insurance. KPMG noted that most other countries have seen much more progress, with 39 per cent of Chinese consumers happier with their service than 12 months ago.

The same pattern was apparent when it came to the overall level of experience, with only 34 per cent of UK general insurance customers and 30 per cent of life insurance policyholders rating this highly, again less than other countries.

KPMG said one way British insurers can improve is by increasing their focus on better personal interaction with customers, the use of digital channels and the adoption of a "retailing mentality". It noted that those who retail online do best in the survey, with a 53 per cent approval rating.

Global head of insurance at KPMG Gary Reader remarked: “The greatest opportunity for sustainable revenue growth does not come from new products or geographical expansion, but rather from their ability to deliver a high quality and differentiating customer experience.

"Those that get it right will not only capture a greater share of new customers, they will also be better placed to keep their customers and extend their existing relationships."

CRM technology may help with this as it means companies can keep closer tabs on their customers and use the data available to offer better services more geared up to their needs.

The importance of providing a good customer experience was highlighted in the EY Global Consumer Insurance Survey 2012 report, titled Voice Of The Consumer.

It noted that insurance companies need to improve their quality of service, communicate better, be more transparent with their products and reward loyalty.

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