Repeat photo and info submission requests and poor claims processes sap customer satisfaction
Troy, Mich.—With the collision repair industry reporting that its average auto repair cycle time has doubled in the past two years — now topping 23 days — a new study states that insurers need to work harder to manage customer expectations.
According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Claims Digital Experience Study, digital communications channels have become the key to maintaining customer satisfaction throughout the claims process, but many insurers are still struggling to deliver a truly seamless digital experience. As a result, overall satisfaction is 854, down 3 points from 2022.
“Across all of our insurance claims experience studies, we find that the more insurers can do to manage expectations, keep customers updated and make it easy for them to manage the claims process without a lot of effort, the more satisfied customers become — even when repair cycle times are longer than ever,” said Mark Garrett, director of global insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.
He added that customers have an expectation that using digital tools will create efficiencies in the process and keep them informed throughout their claim, but many insurers struggle to meet those expectations. Only 41% of customers “completely agree” both expectations were met. Whether it is making the claim, submitting photos or communicating with claims staff, there are still bumps along the digital road. Notable, too, is that only 35% of customers said the estimation process was “very easy.”
However, when these experiences go well, satisfaction is very positively affected. Digital communications in the form of personalized text messages, status updates via mobile apps and guides to help reading estimates can dramatically improve that experience without significantly raising customer service costs for insurers.
Many customers, though, still indicate they need to pick up the phone to track down a status update, often resulting in repeating information to a representative. This negatively affects the overall customer experience.
Following are key findings of the 2023 study:
- One-third of claimants still need to call insurer following digital update: Overall customer satisfaction with the digital claims experience is highest when claimants receive an email, text or mobile app update that answers all of their questions. However, 33% of claimants say they needed to contact their insurer to ask additional questions following a digital update, causing overall satisfaction to fall 78 points (on a 1,000-point scale).
- Easy digital experience drives satisfaction and loyalty: Among customers who state that claim reporting, estimation and settlement processes were all “very easy,” satisfaction is 948 — and 86% of those customers say they “definitely will” renew their policy. Satisfaction and renewal rates fall to 895, with 69% of those who state some of those processes were very easy. Among those who state none of them were very easy, satisfaction is only 799 and only 41% say they “definitely will” renew with the same carrier.
- Few insurers manage to deliver all benefits of a digital experience: While most claimants agree that their insurer’s digital tools deliver on at least one element of a comprehensive digital experience, just 35% agree that their insurer is hitting the mark on three main criteria: creates an efficient claim process; keeps customers informed; and reduces time spent on the phone.
- Repeat photo and info submission requests sap customer experience: Overall customer satisfaction scores among the 58% of insurance claimants who only needed to submit photos of their damaged property once is 875. That score falls to 837 when they needed to submit photos two times and 806 when they needed to submit photos three times or more.
The 2023 U.S. Claims Digital Experience Study is based on 3,184 evaluations by auto or home insurance customers who filed a claim in the past 12 months. The study was fielded from June through October 2023.