Insurance call centres try to close sales in just one in three cases for customers phoning with online quotes, analysis from insurance market experts Consumer Intelligence shows.
Its study among the top 15 home insurers shows only 31% of calls with home insurance quotes resulted in the agent trying to close the sale.
Research by Consumer Intelligence which monitors new business follow-up calls of online quotes and provides feedback for insurers on how calls are handled, found the average call time is 721 seconds or 12 minutes, but can take as long as 18 minutes.
The highest level of trying to close a sale was 41% from one brand, whereas the lowest level from another was just 10% underlining how many providers focus online.
In general insurers performed well in the research with 82% of call handlers asking for quote references and 79% were able to find the quotes on their system. Agents scored well on professionalism with an average 94% and enthusiasm with an average 83% score.
However the study found just one in five (21%) of insurance agents offered to call back to discuss the quote and 22% said online discounts were not available for customers buying over the phone.
“Insurance companies generally achieve high levels of customer satisfaction and work hard on retaining customers.
“It is surprising however that in just 31% of cases agents try to close sales when customers phone with a quote and are ready to buy. Clearly there are differences between companies but it is potentially a strong sales opportunity.”
“Companies need to look at how their phone calls are being handled particularly now that prices across the market are rising and customers will be shopping around more.”
Consumer Intelligence’s data shows average home insurance premiums have risen 3.1% to £119 in the past three months following the introduction of Insurance Premium Tax increases in November.
Consumer Intelligence’s analysis - which is used by the Government’s Office of National Statistics to calculate official inflation statistics — found the tax rise is being passed directly to homeowners reversing years of falling premiums.
These insights come from our telephone mystery shopping programme, as well as a survey we carried out using our in-house panel and our Insurance Behaviour Tracker. If you've got questions on what your customers think of your call centre service or how to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, we can help you find the answers.
Notes to editors
1The cheapest premiums were calculated by comparing the prices offered for 3,600 people by all the major Price Comparison Sites and key direct insurers. The top 5 prices for each person were compared to the previous month’s top five and then averaged to produce the index.
About Consumer Intelligence
Consumer Intelligence conducts consumer surveys and benchmarks price and service performance providing unique insights into competitor pricing and customer experiences, their attitudes, opinions and behaviours. For more information, visit the web site www.consumerintelligence.com