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Insurance industry performs well in phone customer service, but lags in web customer experience, says new research from eGain

Sector also misses out on revenue opportunities by not consistently responding to sales-related email queries or cross-selling on the phone

Mountain View, Calif. (March 25, 2010): eGain Communications Corporation (OTC BB: EGAN.OB), the leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for on-site and on-demand deployment, today announced that overall customer service performance of leading insurance providers in North America remained flat in 2010, when compared to 2009. Good performance in phone customer service was offset by “below average” or “poor” performance in many aspects of customer service through the web and email, and a noticeable decline in cross-agent service consistency in the past year.

Overall service performance for the sector was unchanged with a “below average” score of 1.8 out of 4.0. Cross-agent experience fell steeply from an “above average” score of 2.2 in 2009 to a “below average” score of 1.2 in 2010—the research found disparities across contact center agents in answers, query handling process, business policy, and offers. For instance, some agents would cross-sell contextual offers and others would not, passing up revenue generation opportunities. Some agents would answer questions and even provide quotes, while others would transfer the call to another department or simply direct the caller to the broker channel or the company website. There was also significant disparity in the quality of agent answers in some instances.

Moreover, the industry has yet to adopt eService best practices. For instance, a stunning 84% of the companies did not send an automatic acknowledgement of email queries, a common best practice that can help set the right expectations and elevate customer experience. Furthermore, 28% of the companies simply did not respond to email queries, ignoring revenue opportunities.

eGain’s 2010 State of Customer Service Study evaluated multiple aspects of web self-service and contact center customer service of 175 leading enterprises in the U.S. and Canada. These companies are equally distributed across financial services, retail, communications, consumer goods manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Analysts used a “mystery shopping” approach. Customer service performance was measured along multiple dimensions: choice of communication channels, email response, web self-service, cross-channel consistency, single-channel (phone) cross-agent consistency and phone customer service*. Scores in these metrics were then abstracted to an overall Service Quotient (SQ) on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, for each of the companies that were assessed, as well as for each industry sector and the overall market.

The numeric scores map to the following ratings:

  • Poor (<1.0)
  • Below average (>=1.0 and <2.0)
  • Above average (>=2.0 and <3.0)
  • Exceptional (3.0 to 4.0)

2009-2010 Performance Comparison

  • Overall performance of the sector was unchanged with a “below average” score of 1.8.
  • Web self-service improved from 1.3 (“below average”) to 1.7 (still “below average,” but improved).
  • Choice quotient improved from 1.7 (“below average”) to a near-average score of 1.9.
  • Email customer service dropped slightly from 2.2 (“above average”) to 2.1 (“above average”).
  • Cross-agent experience fell from an “above average” score of 2.2 in 2009 to a “below average” score of 1.2 in 2010.
  • “eService channels such as email, web chat, and cobrowsing continue to increase in popularity, partly driven by generational preferences,” said Anand Subramaniam, VP of Marketing for eGain. “Forward-looking insurance companies have the opportunity to get ahead of competitors by not only implementing strong capabilities in these channels but also by improving cross-channel and cross-agent consistency of knowledge and practices through a Customer Interaction Hub (CIH) strategy.”

Details of findings can be obtained by sending an email request to info@egain.com.

* Telephone customer service included criteria such as the number of transfers and hold time.

About eGain

eGain (OTC BB: EGAN.OB) is the leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for on-site or on-demand deployment. For over a decade, hundreds of the world’s largest companies have relied on eGain to transform their traditional call centers, help desks, and web customer service operations into multichannel customer interaction hubs (CIHs). Based on the Power of One™, the concept of one unified platform for multichannel customer interaction and knowledge management, eGain solutions improve customer experience, optimize service processes end to end, increase sales, and enhance contact center performance.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, eGain has operating presence in North America, EMEA and APAC. To learn more about us, visit www.eGain.com or call our offices: +1-800-821-4358 (US), +44-(0)-1753-464646 (EMEA), or +91-(0)-20-6608-9200 (APAC). Also, follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/egain) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/egain).

eGain, the eGain logo, and all other eGain product names and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of eGain Communications Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names and products mentioned in this release may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.

eGain media contact:

Phone: 408-636-4505
Email: press@egain.com