Customers need more: J.D. Power

Customer satisfaction of the P&C industry is rising, but it’s still behind the automobile and financial service sectors.

According to Lubo Li, senior director, Financial Services and Insurance practice leader at J.D. Power and Associates, the P&C industry is “definitely on the upswing,” but that it continues to lag behind client appreciation for banks and the automobile industry.

The reason, says Li, is because the bank and automobile industries have modeled their entire business on being customer-centric.

“Customers do not have experience with comparing various carriers,” said Li, while presenting on customer service at the CIP Symposium on May 13, 2010 at the Toronto Board of Trade. “But [customers] do have experience comparing insurance [carriers] with other industries. So the experience with other industries [such as banking and auto dealerships] comes to shape customer expectations.”

Li suggested that carriers—and all insurance professionals—need to focus on those factors that shape customer experience; then use those factors to benchmark against other industries.

“You can learn a lot from other industries.”

In particular, Li suggested the insurance industry redefine a more customer-centric business model based on five key categories:

  • People
  • Presentation (in-house and virtual)
  • Pricing (commissions and costs)
  • Product
  • Process

“How do you go about providing these services to your clients?” asked Li rhetorically.

Industry Examples
For example, says Li, Syracuse, NY-based Ford dealership is open 24-hours. A customer can drop off and pick up their vehicle at their convenience, rather than rushing to meet the dealership’s standard hours. In Canada, the Grimsby, Ont. Chrysler-Dodge dealership offers on onsite spa. “For $39.95 you can get an oil change plus a pedicure and manicure!” said Li.

In Brampton, TD Bank took a page from Starbucks and built a Bravo branch, explained Li. “The Bravo branch offers an onsite lounge where kids can play and clients get free Internet access. The idea is to create an environment that is attractive to customers—create an emotional bond.”

A virtual example can be found on any of the big five bank websites. Each of these large financial institutions offers information and online banking in a variety of languages, said Li.

“These examples show the best practices of customer service,” said Li, and offer insight into the ways other industries are creating customer service best practices.

Originally published on on May 17, 2010

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