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Insurers score poorly in customer service survey

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Insurers in Australia have their work cut out when it comes to online customer engagement, according to a recent survey.

About 46% of retail consumers rated as "unhappy" their most recent experience with the industry, with only 54% saying they are satisfied, according to a report by LivePerson, a US-listed provider of digital messaging technologies.

Banks, the only other financial services providers that were part of the poll of more than 1000 consumers, performed better with 40% describing the industry’s online services as unsatisfactory.

Government has the worst online service, with 56% saying they were unhappy with their experience, followed by telecommunications (52.5%), travel (47%) and then insurance. Hospitality scored best, with just 35% rating their experiences as unhappy.

The survey findings are contained in a report released today by LivePerson. Overall seven out 10 have abandoned an online purchase in the last 12 months because they were not satisfied with their experiences.

LivePerson puts the value of “abandoned” online purchases that could go ahead at $3.17 billion annually if better digital customer service options were available.

According to the Customer Conversation Report, technology is changing the face of customer service and the speed at which the transformation is taking place has accelerated because of the pandemic.

“Since COVID-19, customers are far more comfortable and confident not to necessarily deal with real persons,” Kate Sterling, LivePerson Head of Customer Engagement for Asia Pacific, told insuranceNEWS.com.au today.

“This report is telling us brands, insurance or any other sectors, haven’t moved as fast as they need to meet consumers’ new expectations around serving up the content that customers, both existing and new, are looking for.

“They either give up or they call a call centre. At the moment, websites are letting consumers down.”

Ms Sterling says she was “quite surprised” to see banks outperforming insurers in the customer service survey.

“We’re really seeing a huge gap in the type of content that is being displayed on websites,” she said.

Insurers and other retail-oriented industries should consider investing in messaging channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to improve the online delivery of customer service.

Since May, the volume of customer conversations via messaging channels in Australia has grown by a further 9.3%.

“This uptick continues the longer-term trend of customer conversations shifting from voice to messaging accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19 and the closure of call centres around the world,” LivePerson says in the report.

Click here for the report.