Poor call centre performances driving motorists online for insurance

As they look to reduce costs, more finance companies are turning to offshore call centers to deliver their customer service and administrative functions. This is particularly true in the insurance sector, where there seems to be a daily newspaper announcement about UK-based services moving abroad. Recent research by Swinton insurance has shown that more insurers are using offshore call centers. This means that motorists are turning to the internet to get the best car insurance deals.

It is a good idea to get multiple quotes and search for the best deal when renewing your car insurance. Recent research has shown that drivers need to compare at least seven quotes before finding the most competitive deal. On average, this is PS52.26 more than their first quote. It is easy to see why people are turning to the internet for better deals. While 47% of those searching for car insurance take more than 10 minutes to get a quote by phone, a quick search on Moneynet or Insure Supermarket will provide instant comparisons of tens and hundreds of car insurers.

Motorists have problems with more than the time it takes to reach the call centre. According to the study, motorists are now looking online for car insurance. Many cite poor customer service and doubts about the effectiveness of call centers as reasons they no longer use the phone to get insurance.

Many of the people surveyed indicated that they were concerned about the quality of the customer service provided by call centers, with particular attention to offshore centres. This was one of the main reasons for their decision to move from the phone to the internet. Most people surveyed believed that offshore call centers would provide a slower service and take longer to resolve problems than their counterparts in the UK.

Despite high levels of complaints about UK call centre customer service and growing dissatisfaction with staff, most drivers still prefer to buy their insurance by phone. Swinton claimed that almost three quarters of UK motorists use the phone to purchase their car insurance. However, the number of motorists who buy their coverage online has risen to 23 percent. According to the AA, 40% of new car insurance is now purchased online. Last year’s growth in online car insurance sales was almost two-thirds.

However, despite the increase in internet usage and all safety precautions implemented to facilitate online transactions and more than a million motorists still don’t trust the internet as a secure purchasing tool. They prefer to use the phone to talk to someone, rather than the internet. This is despite recent news reports that Indian call centers had sold the bank details of 1,000 UK customers (passwords, addresses, and passport data) to an undercover reporter for the Sun.

Andrew Jackson, Swinton’s marketing director, stated, “We believe that, despite the rise in people buying car insurance online, the phone will still be a popular option as long as the providers make sure that their call centers provide high quality customer service.”

If call centre-based companies don’t rectify the perceptions of poor performance by call centers, they will find more motorists looking for other options. If the internet-based insurance providers can convince the technologically savvy public that shopping online is safe, we might soon see the decline of call centers and the internet become the main source of information for motorists searching for lower car insurance.