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2/3 of insurers can’t get their head around digital

man waiting holding mobile  phone  

It's not exactly news that social media is the go-to place for customer service today.

No-one enjoys having to pick up a phone and talk to a human. The alternative - being able to ping your query to an online adviser and get on with your day - outshines traditional methods.

So why is it that the insurance world is struggling with this so much?

News flash: it's 2017

Insurance Post reported last week that a shocking 68% of insurers don't answer queries through social media or even email.

The survey by Eptica found that even people that DID get a response had to wait an average of 40 hours, 25 mins before they got a reply on email. A huge increase from 2016 where the average wait was 28 hours, 4 minutes - which was already pretty awful.

On Twitter, you're looking at a 49 minute wait and 3 hours, 45 minutes on Facebook.

The lucky ones who FINALLY got an answer to their potentially urgent query weren't happy with the long-awaited response either, with only 30% of Facebookers saying what they were told was actually accurate. On Twitter, only 25% received an accurate response and an even lower 23% via email.

Price comparison sites now dominate in insurance buying, and with so much choice out there, our expectations are high and constantly rising. But few insurers are doing enough to meet them.

Insurance needs to get with the programme

Car insurance is something that you don't choose to have; you have to have it. It can be a confusing mess of jargon-filled information, black and white rules and unfriendly communication.

Some insurers have the mindset that their customer will just renew at an acceptable price because they don't have time to look elsewhere - which means there's no need to try to keep them really happy. Others may be struggling with the volume of queries and, although having good intentions, just can't get responses out quick enough.

But the question here is: why are they getting so many queries? And why are so many people confused and looking for answers? If insurers can answer those questions upfront, they'll cut down on people needing to enquire.

You should get what you've paid for

Young people have higher expectations of their insurer mainly because of their general experience on social media. They expect instant, accurate responses and because they've not experienced years of bad service, an insurer being silent and distant just isn't good enough for them.

Young drivers are new to the world of insurance. They're having to spend a large sum of money on something they can't even physically see or touch, so understandably, they expect good service.

You really only get the benefit of insurance if the worst happens and you have to claim. We think that sucks, frankly, which is why we do so much extra stuff to help our drivers feel like they're actually glad they have insurance.

How we do things

At ingenie we've spent a lot of time getting our drivers' experiences with us right, from getting a quote all the way through to renewal. We've zoomed in on any areas that needed some work and come up with ways to make them better, putting effort into solving a problem before it’s happened. We don't always get it right, but when we do find a problem, we do our best to not let it happen again.

Having good social media engagement, clear FAQs, self-service admin stuff and accurate information everywhere makes it easier for our drivers to get things sorted quicker. Then, for those that still need help, we're everywhere - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, web chat, Young Driver's Guide - to answer questions FAST.

Our job is to make sure our drivers understand what they've bought, why they need it and how it works. Whether they've just backed into someone's car, received a confusing letter from the DVLA or not been able to pay their latest instalment - we're there to help. Not 40 hours later, with inaccurate and impersonal answers.

Being human, being fair and being there when needed. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .