Customer Feedback Calls Out Cross-Channel Concerns

Customer Service
Customer Service
Health insurance providers must improve their multichannel customer experience in order to increase customer satisfaction.

The multichannel customer experience is often like a multifaceted personality: You may enjoy one characteristic, but dislike another. Unfortunately, numerous health insurance companies are still struggling to provide a cross-channel customer experience that has more positive traits than negative ones, according to Forrester's Q3 2011 Healthcare Online Survey.

The study focuses on consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction across the commonly available channels, advising health insurance providers to look beyond the single-channel experience to start recognizing and rectifying the root causes of customer dissatisfaction across channels. According to the survey:

  • Customers interact with their insurance providers using an average of 3.6 channels. Speaking with call center agents is the most popular, with 73 percent of respondents frequently using that channel. Websites account for 63 percent of customer interaction, while 57 percent of respondents also use interactive voice response (IVR).
  • Nonelderly, commercially insured consumers commonly frequent multiple channels. For instance, 96 percent of IVR users also use call centers, while 97 percent of all mobile users use a company's website, as well.
  • Call center representatives rank highest in customer satisfaction across all available channels, with 65 percent of respondents citing satisfaction with their agent interactions. Websites garner 58 percent satisfaction, while all other channels (IVR, postal mail, email, live chat/instant messaging) satisfy less than 50 percent of respondents.
  • Mobile site and application users represent an up-and-coming demographic, making them most likely to use multiple channels to complete their interaction. Of respondents who are mobile users, only 32 percent were satisfied with their experience.
  • Those dissatisfied with one channel are more apt to be dissatisfied with their experience across other channels. Seventy-seven percent of respondents who were dissatisfied with their interactions with phone agents are also dissatisfied with IVR, while 71 percent of email users are also dissatisfied with their mobile experience.

Key takeaway: Health insurance companies with centralized customer experience teams report fewer struggles creating strategy, getting budget, and building cooperation across departments. Of the respondents whose companies lack a centralized customer experience team, 63 percent reported a lack of clear customer strategy; of the companies with a centralized team only 33 percent reported such struggles.

Forrester encourages health insurance providers to take a broad view of the customer experience, creating an ecosystem map that depicts a visual representation of the customer's journey with the company and all of the influencers in a given interaction. Companies must learn why customers are not satisfied in order to make appropriate changes and ensure accountability among the business leaders responsible for the various aspects of the customer experience. By developing a solid measurement strategy, companies may also begin to tie customer experience improvements to financial and other business results.