Article – Profiling the Insurance Sector
Promises, promises, promises! You cannot build a future on promises, so says the cynic. But there is nothing cynically about the insurance sector, its products are promises. The promise to come to your aid should your business suffer loss, or your house get burgled or a loved one die. They really have built their business on promises. And how do we the customer, gauge the likelihood that your insurer will come through for you in your time of need? A good indicator is their customer service. Really, if they can’t be bothered to treat you well when they are just collecting premiums, then God help you, when you need to claim! Well the message coming out from this first ever multi-industry, nationwide customer service survey, undertaken by the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business in the Polytechnic of Namibia, is that insurance companies in Namibia epitomize excellent service.
The survey collected over 7000 responses on customer service in Namibia, twelve (12) key industry sectors were reviewed with 472 responses on the insurance sector, making it the most comprehensive survey on customer service in Namibia and probably Africa. Information on many insurers was collected however after detailed analysis the following are the finalists that will be represented at the Awards ceremony on the 5th November at the Polytechnic’s new Health & Applied Sciences Building in Windhoek. Competing for the Insurance Industry Customer Service Excellence Award will be Metropolitan, Old Mutual and Sanlam.
Overall, the industry received excellent ratings from customers which tended to be solid and uniform suggesting that insurers understand that their business stands or falls on customer confidence and customer service is an excellent way of building confidence capital.
Main service drivers for the industry are in first place responsiveness of the service to the needs to the customer, the ability of the service to recover from failures, reliability of the service that is the extent to which the service is delivered consistently without fail, competence of staff to deliver the service expertly and efficiently and finally, credibility of the service meaning the insurer is trustworthy and honest.
Identifying these service drivers provides insurers with insight into what customers are looking for from their service encounter. It guides them where to spend time and resources in training to obtain the maximum return on their investment. A customer’s perception of service quality may vary for many reasons, but the factors that shape those perceptions will remain remarkably constant.
Drilling-down on key service drivers responsiveness tops the list, here Sanlam heads the group with a performance rating of 81% with customers noting their prompt and timely customer service. Old Mutual headed the group for recovery with a score of 82% and customers noting that when they have a problem or complaint employees show sincere interest in solving those issues. Reliability is the next most important service driver, here Metropolitan achieved a strong rating of 75% with customers noting that employees are diligent about keeping their promises and doing things when they say they will.
Which of these companies will take away with the award for best customer service in this industry? To find out you will have to attend the awards ceremony on the 5th November. Tickets can be bought by contacting Conference Link on (061 251 014) or through the website www.csmafrica.org.
To book seats for the first Namibian Customer Service Conference, Awards or Master Class or to purchase a Customer Service Industry Report call or email Conference Link on (061 251 014) or email@example.com or register through our website at www.csmafrica.org.
Professor Grafton Whyte
Director – Harold Pupkewitz GSB