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Insurer communication scores poorly in global consumer poll

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Less than half of insurance customers praise the communications received from their cover provider, a new survey from UK-based tech firm Smart Communications reveals.

The global poll uncovered opinions about the current state of interactions between customers and insurers. It found consumers’ increasing expectations are outpacing business’ ability to meet them, with only 58% of customers agreeing communications sent by business leaders were “Excellent” or “Very Good”.

While 81% of insurers said their COVID-era communications established more trust, an equal percentage of customers surveyed said the contact received did not impact on, or even decreased, their trust.

Only 45% of insurance customers say that the communications experience they receive is either “Excellent” or “Very Good”, and only 54% of businesses say they distribute communications based on consumers’ channel preference.

“Missing the mark on customer communications poses a significant risk to businesses as the report reveals that more than half of customers stated they would likely switch away from a company if their communications did not meet their expectations,” Smart Communications CEO James Brown said.

The 2021 State of Customer Communications Benchmark Report found getting channel preferences right can “make or break” the customer experience, with 80% of consumers preferring email and half comfortable with text messages. If not tailored to their individual needs, 61% of consumers indicated that information being provided led to frustration.

Smart Communications says insurers must evolve their strategies to exceed expectations through digital-first interactions that “honour preferences” and provide an exceptional end-to-end experience.

It found delivering personalised, omnichannel conversations was increasingly important to build trust and brand loyalty with customers and ease of contacting the company, proactive communications and transparency were given high marks for encouraging trust.

“While most businesses across insurance believe they leveraged communications to build trust throughout the pandemic, only a small percentage of consumers indicated that communications made them trust companies more,” it said.

Enterprises surveyed were planning to increase their use of cloud solutions, with 54% indicating over half of their systems will be cloud-based within the next 12 months.

“Companies must think beyond traditional, print-centric customer communications and start thinking about improving the customer experience as the benefits are tremendous,” Mr Brown said.

See the report here.