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Hitting the high notes of customer satisfaction

13 June 2016 Jonathan Faurie

For all of you brokers who spend hours planning interactions with clients and who sit behind a computer for hours trying to find the best product to suit your client’s needs; not only do we salute you, but the public does as well.

According to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), customers of South Africa’s largest short-term insurers are marginally more satisfied than last year.

The findings from this year’s index show Santam achieving the sole leadership position in terms of satisfaction, and OutSurance dropping from a 2014 shared leadership position to a below par ranking.

Leaders of the pack

The overall industry score rose 1.5 points to 77.9 out of 100. Santam scored 85.0 and was named as the closest to ideal. Mutual & Federal scored on par with the industry at 83.5 and showed one of the biggest improvements since 2014.

OutSurance fell from its leadership position to a below par score of 81.6.

The telling link

In a release found on the SAcsi website, Professor Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta, said that the link between expectations, perceived quality and perceived value is very important in this difficult economy.

“It seems as if the emphasis that OutSurance placed on lower premiums by cutting out the intermediaries is no longer believed by customers, since there is a marked drop in expectations and perceived quality. Most telling is the significant drop in perceived value,” he said.

This is a significant vindication for brokers who play a vital role in the industry.

Perceived value is measured in two unique but deliberate ways: overall price given the quality and overall quality given the price.

“The industry leader, Santam, has been successful in positioning itself as a trusted insurance company when paying claims and as a result, perceived value has improved,” explains Schreuder.  He added that Mutual & Federal has shown significant improvement in this regard, increasing its score by four points. OutSurance, on the other hand has lost ground in the area of perceived value with a three year downward trend.

The trend of Millennials

Schreuder explained that younger consumers tend to rate value differently from older customers.

“Insurance companies offer additional benefits like loyalty programmes and benefits. We often advise these companies that their focus should remain on paying claims and that it is crucial to recognise the emotional trauma that their customers have been through. Customers are extremely sensitive at this time and often feel betrayed by a company to whom they have been paying premiums for years when it appears that the insurer may not pay the claim,” he said.

Client communication

Client communication is an area in the financial services sector that the Financial Services Board (FSB) has asked insurers to pay careful attention to.

“When it comes to interacting with insurers, clients generally find employees to be friendly with good soft skills. This leads to a good experience. Where this fails is when insurers do not keep clients informed of changes and requirements. This is also an issue when communication does not happen as often as expected,” said Schreuder.

This is another testament to the valuable role that you play in the industry as the link between your clients and insurers.

Editor’s Thoughts:
At times, there are clients who acknowledge the role of brokers. But oftentimes, the job of a broker can be a thankless job. However, if you are ever concerned about whether you are making a difference in the industry; you merely need to read this. Keep up the good work! Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

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