OAIN: Expert Says Auto Insurance Websites Need to Slim Down

June 15, 2012   Business News
(PRLEAP.COM) An expert behind a report on the quality of auto insurers' websites said in a recent webinar that companies need a "weed-and-trim" approach to online content, highlighting the catch-up the industry needs to do as the Internet becomes the preferred channel of customer service, according to Online Auto Insurance News.

Websites of many major insurers are "way too deep" and "way too complex" for today's task-oriented consumers, said Terry Golesworthy, president of Customer Respect Group (CRG), which authored the report. Customers seeking answers to specific questions like "how much would insurance be for a 16 year old" can get the runaround as they browse several sections of a single website to complete their task.

The CRG report said that customers' online expectations have outpaced the industry's take on websites.

"The critical factor is not that the insurance industry is getting worse, it's that the environment is getting tougher," he said, referring to companies like Amazon and Apple which he said are the chief drivers of customers' modern-day expectations of online service.

"The insurance industry has a tendency to play catch up to other industries," he said.

Auto insurers have had a hard time adjusting to the rapid increase in types of content as "we find new things to talk about and write about," according to Golesworthy.

"Social media and blogs have led to 'a content explosion' that is creating another layer of content," he said. "There's just a lot of stuff. Websites are completely bloated today. We're adding content all the time, but we're not deleting it."

In one example, Golesworthy said an insurer offered answers to "what to do after an accident" on four separate pages within a single website.

"If I found a second page, I'd be hesitant and think about how it relates to the first," he said. "If I found three and four, I'd be very confused."

Overblown content can destroy a company's chance at business, according to Golesworthy, who highlighted a recent study from J.D. Power and Associates that found that customers dissatisfied with their website experience rarely recommend that insurer or return for another service.

Some insurers prefer to use websites to direct customers to agents who offer more "personalized" service, Golesworthy said, but such methods ignore the Internet as a powerfully rewarding tool that can sometimes be just as damaging.

Social media has empowered customers with reliable networks of referrals, but "you're not getting those recommendations and social media is not going to work for you if your website is of poor quality," according to Golesworthy.

"Many companies will say that they don't want to solve the problem of the Web," he said. "But they need to accept the fact that the customer has made the choice to go to the website and help them solve their problems online."

For more on this and related issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/learn/how-much-is-car-insurance-16-year-old.htm for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.
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Charles Nguyen
Online Auto, LLC
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