The 5 reasons for small-business insureds’ drooping satisfaction

Cecilia Nysing

5. Interactions leave more to be desired

The fact is satisfaction with insurance interactions fell off by 20 points compared with the year prior.

Interactions are largely based on soft skills, which are where commercial insurance providers have historically shined. Factors such as “courtesy” saw sharp declines in both agents and call center interactions, according to the survey. Additionally, website interactions saw a large decline in “timeliness of resolution.”

(Credit: terovesalainen/stock.adobe.com)

4. Customers exerting too much effort

The fact is small business insureds exerted three times more effort trying to interact with insurance agents during 2021 than they did the year prior.

Digital interactions didn’t improve this dynamic, as 34% of small business policyholders said they exerted more effort to interact with an agent in 2021. Just 10% said the same in 2020.

(Credit: Sira Anamwong/ Shutterstock)

3. Outreach comes too late

The fact is the positive effect proactive contact had on customer satisfaction declined 31 points year on year.

During 2020, less than 20% of clients reported their carrier proactively reached out to discuss their needs related to COVID-19. This significantly increased in 2021, with 45% reported having proactive contact with their insurer. However, the negative impact it had on overall customer satisfaction suggests the outreach might have come too late.

(Credit: Tierney/Adobe Stock)

2. Mixed messaging

The fact is more problems and billing issues were reported in 2021 compared with the year prior, 43% in 2021 v. 26% in 2020, among insureds who reported receiving proactive outreach.

Dropping satisfaction following proactive outreach is attributed to perceptions that business needs weren’t understood and a lack of communication around policy features. Lift the positive impact of proactive outreach by making sure information is accurate as it is disseminated across channels and documents.

(Credit: Artisticco/Shutterstock.com)

1. Turning to multiple channels for answers

The fact is clients who have billing or other issues are nearly twice as likely to use four or more communication channels, such as mobile apps, online chats and text messaging, than customers who don’t experience problems.

While they leveraged multiple communication tools, including call centers, the customer satisfaction level didn’t vary much between channels for clients that experienced problems. This suggests the industry could do more to recreate a more seamless cross-channel experience. (Credit: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock)

Customer satisfaction among small-business insurance clients declined seven points this year and 15 points during the past two years, with many citing a lack of proactive support and personalized attention, according to a survey by J.D. Power, which noted this is the second year running small-business customer satisfaction ratings have dropped.

An emerging trend among small-business clients is growing dissatisfaction with “soft skill” services, such as interaction with agents and proactive outreach, which have historically been areas of strength for the industry, according to Robert M. Lajdziak, senior consultant of insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.

“There’s also a trend in which small-commercial customers spend three times more effort interacting with their carrier on the website, on the phone or with agents,” Lajdziak said in a release. “The largest declines in the study are among customers who had workers’ comp coverage or commercial auto policies. Carriers will want to pay particular attention to customers with these types of policies.”

Unlike in previous years, client sentiments on price were not a driver of the decline. Overall customer satisfaction around pricing actually increased 15 points, J.D. Power reported.

While the drop in overall satisfaction was seen across businesses of all sizes, those with 5-10 employees had the most noticeable drops.

The above slideshow highlights, in no particular order, the top five reasons small businesses clients are continuing to show declining customer satisfaction ratings with their insurers, according to J.D. Power.

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