Only 14% of customers believe complaints they have made to life and pensions providers have been handled in a 'very good' or 'excellent' way, according to a survey by the Association of British Insurers.
The ABI customer impact survey, which is based on the views of 18,000 customers and represents 32 life and pensions companies, reveals 4% of the customers surveyed made a complaint to their provider in the past 12 months.
Of those, 14% said the way the company had handled their complaint was ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, while 50% said their complaint had been handled in a ‘poor’ way.
Stephen Sklaroff, deputy director general at the ABI, suggests customers may be dissatisfied because the area of complaints is very tightly regulated, which may result in companies adopting a “tick box” approach.
The survey also reveals customers are dissatisfied with their products’ return on investment (ROI), as just 30% rate it as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ and 32% rate it as ‘poor’ or ‘fair’.
While some aspects of ROI are outside the industry’s control, Sklaroff says companies need to ensure they are communicating the risks and returns of products clearly.
When rating the after-sales relationship with companies, 42% said the statements and personalised letters they received were ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ and 39% said the clarity of written communications was ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
The effectiveness of written communications in prompting customers to take action was rated lowest, with 30% saying written communications were ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ at doing this and 24% saying they were ‘poor’ or ‘fair’.
Other findings reveal 85% of customers think companies treat them fairly, 85% believe companies are easy to do business with and 58% rate the sales process as being ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
Sklaroff says companies are already trying to improve the poorly-rated areas by training staff on complaints-handling and ensuring their product literature is written in plain English.
The ABI will produce a best practice guide on product design this year, as well as a guide on how best to communicate with existing policyholders who are not in contact with their original IFA.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7034 2680 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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