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Health insurance companies fail to meet customer service expectations Posted: August 9th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

According to a recent survey, health insurance companies leave a lot to be desired when it comes to customer service. Accenture, a global consulting firm, found that insurers don't meet customer expectations in key areas. Overall, only 42 percent of those surveyed report a high level of customer satisfaction.

The poll discovered the following characteristics were rated as most important by customers:

  • Knowledgeable representatives
  • Convenient service hours
  • Wait time
  • Single contact

Despite customer emphasis on these areas, Accenture found a significant gap between member expectations and insurer performance. While 85 percent of respondents said interaction with knowledgeable service representatives was important, only 50 percent were satisfied with their experience. Similarly, 80 percent preferred to have customer service hours extended to the evenings and weekends while less than half of respondents reported having access during these hours.

In addition, more than 60 percent of those surveyed said their health plan keeps them waiting too long for customer service, and the same percentage say they are transferred to multiple contacts before an issue can be resolved. The report concludes that customer service will increasingly become the deciding factor in consumer health care decisions.

"We expect more personalized customer service to emerge as a major source of healthcare differentiation, much like other industries today," said Russ Nash of Accenture in a statement.