March 30, 2012 – Farmer’s, Allstate, 21st Century and State Farm made the largest year-over-year improvement in customer experience, according to a new study.

Temkin Group’s “ROI of Customer Experience” survey found that auto, life and health insurers can increase customer renewals, cross-selling and word of mouth by challenging themselves to make every customer happy.

“The next generation of customer experience improvements will come from cross-channel experiences that combine the agent, the carrier and online access by consumers,” Temkin Group Managing Partner Bruce Temkin told Insurance Networking News.

The study found that auto insurers have the largest ROI from customer experience because their customers have more options while 19.2 percent of clients are reluctant to switch away from companies that are established leaders in customer experience.

“It's easier for a customer to move between auto insurers than it is to move between life insurers and health plans,” said Temkin. “But we are seeing life insurers improve their customer experience, especially as big players like MetLife reach out directly to consumers.”

While a U.S. company can generate up to $382 million in three years if it improves customer experience, insurers need only tweak their sales process from quote to comfort to see an increase in revenue.

“Most insurers try and get a customer on board but then forget about them until there's a need to renew or make a claim,” Temkin said. “Insurers could make their customers feel better if they focused on what new policyholders feel about their decision.”

The 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings reported that health insurers are the lowest scoring industry out of 18. “They are so mired in their internal operations and reacting to shifting regulations that they often lose sight of customers,” Temkin said. “Most consumers don’t have a lot of choice, and moving plans can be difficult but as competition heats up and consumers can more easily switch plans, I expect to see a considerable rise in the ROI of customer experience if health plans begin work on that today.”

This story originally appeared at Insurance Networking News.

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