Survey reports higher customer service satisfaction with local agencies than with call centers

The J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Insurance Customer Contact Study recently surveyed nearly 12,000 home and auto insurance customers to assess satisfaction. Survey participants had interacted with their current insurer within the past 12 months, either through an agency, call center or Web site. The results show that insurance customers who interact with a local agency tend to be more satisfied than customers who interact with their insurer’s call center. According to the study, “…routine service interaction is the most important element driving customer satisfaction, accounting for 38 percent of overall customer satisfaction with their insurer.”
Regardless of which method customers use, quick resolution through a single channel is an important element of satisfaction:

“Having a streamlined contact process is most ideal for customers, and in particular, those interacting with their insurer’s call center often have higher expectations than those interacting with an agency,” said Bowler. “For instance, call center customers are most satisfied when their issues are resolved the same day they contact their insurer, while agencies can take slightly longer before customers become less satisfied. Similarly, customers expect an agent to retrieve their information in two minutes or less, while call center representatives have only one minute before satisfaction declines drastically.”

The survey also reports that one-fourth of a customer’s overall impression of their agent, agency staff, or call center representative is driven by their perception of the service channel’s courtesy and friendliness.

One thought on “Survey reports higher customer service satisfaction with local agencies than with call centers

  1. Actually, I think this opinion carries over to several different industries, not just the insurance industry. If I have an issue with my cell phone service, for example, I tend to be much more patient when dealing with someone in a local retail store. However, if I have to call into the “customer service” call center, I’m much more impatient. Thinking about it now, I know that it doesn’t make any sense. I think we’re just predisposed to think that call centers are “annoying” and “unhelpful.” Granted, I fully understand that there are call center representatives who are unfriendly & unhelpful. I just can’t help but think our attitude going into the call effects our overall satisfaction with the call.

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