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Customer Service: Preparing for the Festive Season and Learnings from the 2023 Customer Satisfaction Index

With the end of the year fast approaching, many in the insurance industry are awaiting a well-earned festive season slowdown. From the introduction of the new Consumer Duty regulation to an intensified storm season and inflationary pressures, 2023 has brought forth new opportunities and challenges for insurers. As we approach the festive season, many organisations will soon be reducing operations to a skeleton staff to enjoy a well-deserved holiday break. Simultaneously, the end-of-year period is often synonymous with a surge in customer complaints as claimants face the reality of claims delays and increasing financial pressures.

In this article, we delve into the best practices for navigating the end-of-year season and adapting to evolving customer expectations, leveraging insights from the 12023 UK Customer Satisfaction Index.   

Outlook for the industry in 2023

Each year, the Institute of Customer Service releases its Customer Satisfaction Index (UKSCI Report), outlining the customer service standards delivered across all industries in the UK. At a glance, the report has shown a significant downturn in satisfaction holistically, with organisations facing rising costs, supply chain disruptions, skills shortages and recruitment challenges. For the insurance industry specifically, the report has highlighted a primary opportunity for insurers to address this shift in customer satisfaction, following a 2.1-point decline compared to 2022. While these results may be concerning, they reflect some of the major challenges the industry has faced this year and reinforce the need to understand evolving customer expectations. Notably, the report highlights complaints management as a key area for insurers to improve satisfaction levels.

Opportunities for 2023 and beyond

As we approach the Christmas season, using this information to plan ahead becomes crucial for protecting your business from a possible increase in customer feedback. Making sure your business is well-prepared with strong support and good customer service practices is essential for easing performance pressures in the new year.

To help you prepare, here are four strategic considerations for you to factor in over the coming weeks:

  1. Revisit the Consumer Duty Regulation: In late-July, the insurance industry saw the introduction of the new Consumer Duty regulation, aimed at enhancing customer protection and transparency. As many insurers continue to adapt to these new requirements, revisiting the function of the Consumer Duty regulation can be a great base for operational planning in 2024. If you are interested in understanding Consumer Duty further, visit our recent article demystifying the four core elements here.
  1. Seasonal employee training: As insurers scale back their operations to skeleton staff, seasonal employee coaching stands as a great tool to ensure service consistency is upheld during this period. Coaching sessions for your claims handlers can involve customer service standards, complaints management processes, unpacking broad customer challenges, such as the cost-of-living crisis, and increasing empathy in customer communications. In doing so, executive leadership teams can increase confidence and improve service delivery at a time when there is a critical and industry-wide focus on customer service standards. To learn more about the four essential skills of claims adjusters of the future, read the full article here.
  1. Flex up your external support: The end-of-year season is an important opportunity to allow employees to rest and recharge, while also being mindful of maintaining quality claims outcomes and operations. To achieve the best of both worlds, consider leveraging the support of a strategic partner to ensure your employees can return in the new year refreshed without sacrificing customer sentiment or operational results. This is an ideal time to assess your availability to support claimants and strategically outsource coverage where it’s needed most.
  1. Navigating burnout and customer support: The talent crunch the industry has faced this year has had a flow-on effect on existing employees, leaving many facing burnout. To support insurers to balance rising employee burnout while maintaining service excellence, we recently spoke to GB’s HR Manager, Ellen Doyle. To read the full conversation, click here.

The insights from the recent UKCSI report highlight the importance of delivering a premium customer experience and staying ahead of the competition in 2024. To learn more, connect with me for a confidential discussion about your business objectives and how we can help.

1UK Customer Satisfaction Index Report.

Beth Povey

Chief Compliance Officer

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