Consumers are likely to show much greater loyalty to those insurance providers who demonstrate that they know who they are and can refer to all aspects of the clientâs history during any transaction. This is especially true among UK consumers, though the majority of their German counterparts also respond positively to a more personalised approach.
And this is reinforced by the high proportion of consumers who prefer sales channels such as face-to-face and the telephone, which enable them to have direct contact with the provider in an area of personal expenditure which is often both costly and sensitive.
These were among the main findings of a recent survey of more than 3,000 adults across the UK and Germany, undertaken by YouGov on behalf of Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA), the leader in business process management (BPM) and a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. It was designed to provide insights into how consumers in both countries currently view personal insurance provision in the wake of the recent economic downturn.
âThe Pegasystems research confirms the view that, in a world of increasing commoditisation and mass marketing, many consumers want a return to a âcorner shopâ approach in which the provider knows who they are, the challenges they face and can provide an individualised solution that demonstrably meets their needs,â says Jeremy Payne, senior director of International marketing, Pegasystems.
âThe good news for insurance companies struggling to meet this demand is that proven, rules-based CRM solutions are available which allow them to move towards a âmass personalisationâ approach to meet individual needs, in a way which is both efficient and cost-effective.â
â¢ 72% of UK consumers, and 62% in Germany, would increase their loyalty to their provider if the insurer remembered their history with the company and used it effectively in their customer service. And this is not an issue which is likely to go away, as in the UK, the 18-24 age group responded by showing the greatest potential to stay with their existing provider
â¢ In the UK, the telephone is the most popular means of communicating with an insurance provider (cited by 42%), with face-to-face the third most popular, at 14%. By contrast, in Germany, 47% highlighted face-to-face contact as the most popular, with 18% indicating a preference for the telephone. Again, in choosing personal insurance products, such direct personal contact was most popular among the younger 18-24 age group
â¢ However, indicating a growing confidence and willingness to undertake personal transactions online, email was confirmed as the second most popular channel of communication (cited by 22% overall)
Winner takes all?
The value of delivering a consistent, high-quality personalised service via the customerâs sales channel of choice was underlined by another finding, in which a significant number of respondents expressed a desire to use just a single company for all their personal insurance needs.
In both the UK and Germany, approximately one-third of consumers would prefer to have all their insurance products with one provider, with as many as 41% of the 18-24 age group in the UK and 39% of 25-34 year-olds in Germany expressing this view.
âJust as companies are looking to streamline the management of their business by rationalising the supplier base, many consumers are similarly looking to make life easier for themselves by meeting all their personal insurance needs from one cost-effective source,â believes Payne.
âAnd, with a further 38% of UK consumers (and 17% in Germany) expressing no preference - and so there to be persuaded - this offers an excellent opportunity for an insurance provider to secure maximum wallet share as the basis of a profitable and long-term customer relationship.â