Service quality & building trust amongst the key pillars for the insurance & takaful industry

The insurance and takaful industry players believes that establishing long term trust, improved customer satisfaction and better customer engagement can potentially drive insurance and takaful in Malaysia to greater heights.

Thus, in 2017, the industry introduced its revised Customer Service Charter (CSC), that defines the minimum service level expected from insurance/takaful operators, taking account digital processes in the industry that reduce the turnaround time of certain services.

In relation to this, a Customer Service Index (CSI) study was undertaken to promote and reinforce fair and responsible practices, with a long term view to empower consumers, commissioned by the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) and Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM), it said in a statement Monday.

Conducted by The Nielsen Company (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the seven-month CSI study began in May 2018, covering 8,952 respondents across Malaysia.

Nielsen assessed consumers’ expectations and actual experiences with insurance/takaful services against the standards set in the CSC.

The four key lessons generated from the study were:
* Increasing customer awareness on CSC is imperative to manage their expectations and improve satisfaction. Customers who are not aware on CSC tend to set their expectations without reasonable understanding on various processes and rational of actions/decisions by ITOs (Insurance and Takaful Operators) will lead to lower satisfaction. As such it is necessary for the customers to be educated on the service level that they deserved.

* Claim is the “moment-of-truth” for consumers of insurance/takaful product. A seamless claim experience will boost customers’ confidence on the ITOs, especially on timely acknowledgement of claim submission and awareness on time for claim settlement.

* Leaders tend to outperformed on initial interactions with customers and key satisfaction drivers that forms strong, positive perception on the company. They understand that customers often view their experience as single journey. Addressing these satisfaction drivers and investment into initial interactions are likely to lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

* The industry is still mostly driven by the agency force. By nature, insurance is a push-driven product/service that requires intense servicing especially during the initial contact with customers and claim. Thus, the industry needs to rethink and redesign the agent’s role as a protection aggregator and servicing customer needs, which is more than just a product distributor.

The CSI had also indicated that there is a need to sustain customers trust and confidence by having knowledgeable and ethical staff and agents, which could be achieved by:

· Ensuring employees and intermediaries are properly trained on products and services offered.
· Training must be provided any time a new product is launched and regularly as refresher courses on existing products.
· Understanding customers’ needs is imperative by profiling the customers’ adequately to ensure customers get the right products consistently.

Further information on the CSI can be found on the LIAM, MTA and PIAM websites.