Auto Insurers Fail The Cross-Channel Test

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. That’s what happens during vacations. But I’m back from holiday and am ready to get going again. Let’s start with a look at auto insurance experiences…

I recently published a report called Auto Insurers’ Cross-Channel Experience, 2009 that took a closer look at cross channel evaluations of four large auto insurers: 21st Century Insurance, Allstate Insurance, Geico, and State Farm. Here were some of the findings:

  • Geico led the insurers with an overall score of 13, State Farm lagged behind with a -33 (the lowest score across all industries we evaluated)
    • To put that in context, a passing score is 57
  • These insurers, as a group, lagged behind other industries in the following categories of our evaluation:
    • Web site value
    • Web site navigation
    • IVR navigation
    • Email value
    • Email trust 
  • We found 9 areas of severe failures:
    • State Farm: Web site value, Web site navigation, Email value, Email presentation, and Email trust.
    • Allstate: IVR navigation, Email value, and channel transition continuity.
    • Geico: Email trust
  • Despite the problems, we also found some good practices:
    • Allstate’s virtual agent explains insurance options.
    • Geico’s Web site content demystifies the claims process.
    • State Farm lets users easily sends online quotes to an agent.
    • 21st Century’s IVR menus maps to user goals.
    • 21st Century’s emails create clear paths to other channels.

The bottom line: Auto insurance experiences have room for improvement.

Customer Experiences Need Work Across Channels

Earlier this year, we published a report called Best And Worst Of Cross-Channel Design, 2009 that examined results from our expert review of 16 companies across four industries: Online travel agencies, auto insurers, footwear manufacturers, and discount retailers. We examined scenarios that included interactions online, with call centers, via email, and through IVR systems. The evaluations also looked at transitions across channels.

Here are the overall results from that analysis.

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As you can see, none of the 16 firms ended up with a passing score. Here were the highest scoring firm in each area:

  • Web site: Expedia
  • IVR: Nike
  • Phone agents: Orbitz and priceline.com
  • Email: Nike
  • Channel transitions: Expedia, Geico, and New Balance 

The cross-channel reviews graded experience across 57 criteria. More than 12 of the 16 companies failed these nine criteria:

  • Is text legible? (Web Site)
  • Is the task flow efficient (Web Site)
  • Is essential content available where needed? (Web Site)
  • Can the user complete her goals in all required channels? (Channel Transitions)
  • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? (Web Site)
  • Does the system provide essential content? (IVR)
  • Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? (Web Site)
  • Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? (Web Site)
  • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? (Web Site)

The bottom line: There’s a lot of room for improvement

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