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Long call waiting times biggest customer service frustration

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

In a new survey exploring the customer service experience, long call waiting times are seen as the main frustration followed by automated phone systems.

The research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that long call waiting times was the top frustration, with 30% citing it as their pet hate and 61% putting it in their top three annoyances. Next came automated phone systems (46% in their top three annoyances), then unhelpful staff (34% in top three annoyances).

The survey, conducted by Yonder Consulting, asked 2,000 adults about their experiences in dealing with government departments, local authorities, energy suppliers, insurers, banks, mobile phone networks, broadband providers, online retailers and supermarkets.

Insurer communications

On insurance specifically, more than half (57%) said they felt confident in getting the best deal. However, nearly half (48%) said that they found it difficult to fully understand insurance terms and conditions, with 37% saying that clearer, simple documents would be the one single change that would improve their dealings with insurers.

With these findings in mind, the trade body has joined forces with consumer group Fairer Finance to improve how insurers and long-term saving firms communicate with customers.

Fairer Finance’s A Guide to Clear Communication covers all aspects of insurer communications with customers, including email, text, and policy documents. It includes references to good practice by insurers and long-term savings providers.

It recommends that all sentences should be less than 29 words and the average words per page should be less than 400, with minimal jargon used.

The ABI is encouraging members to incorporate the guidance into all aspects of their consumer communications.

Hannah Gurga, ABI director general, said: “Whatever the organisation, simple, clear straightforward customer communications is the bedrock for improving trust. This research shows that some sectors need to do more to improve how they interact with the public. Many insurance customers know how to get the best insurance deals, but more needs to be done to ensure insurance and long-term savings communications are as clear as possible.

James Daley, managing director of Fairer Finance, said:  “Clear communication is essential in every industry – but no more so than in the complex world of financial services. Although many firms fear that it will be an impossible task to write simply and without jargon, there are now a growing number of examples of terms and conditions and letters which have low reading ages and are accessible to all.

“This report provides firms with practical steps that they can take to simplify their documents and online journeys. We hope our partnership with the ABI will empower many more companies to embed clear language and design in all their communications.”