Insurance companies can earn customers satisfaction with better websites

J.D. Power and Associates recently released its 2012 U.S. Insurance Shopping study, revealing that fewer customers are shopping around for new policies from insurance companies, down to just 25 percent from 33 percent last year.

J.D. Power and Associates recently released its 2012 U.S. Insurance Shopping study, revealing that fewer customers are shopping around for new policies from insurance companies, down to just 25 percent from 33 percent last year.

The study found customers are most likely to switch policies in order to secure a lower quote, but the majority are actually sticking with their providers despite competitors' incentives for switching.

This year, the insurance companies that earned the highest scores include The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, American Family, Auto Club Group and Nationwide. One of the factors contributing to the success of these brands is their website, the study found.

"Nearly three-fourths of all shoppers visit at least one insurer's website, often as the first point of contact with the insurance company," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Insurers have a fantastic opportunity to gain shoppers, and their referrals, by providing a website that is easy to use, has a professional and engaging appearance, and is a great resource for the shopping process."

Customers now expect to be able to visit the site, compare offers and purchase the policy all during the same trip, Bowler added.

Companies should take customer satisfaction and loyalty into consideration when designing a website or enhancing one they already have. According to business information website Ag Beat, there are three tools companies should consider if they want customers to be satisfied with their online experiences - a user-friendly platform, an integrated loyalty program and live chat.

Another strategy is mystery shopping. Just like in-store customer service check-ups, mystery shoppers can let a corporation know if their website is easy to navigate, answers all of the questions a client may have and makes it easy to get help if they run into a problem.