CUSTOMER SERVICE: Keeping customers updated

The latest customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates of more than 11,000 Americans who had filed an auto insurance claim in the preceding 12 months offer several lessons for shops and insurers.
The survey results, released last November, showed that the 41 percent of customers who received proactive status update calls had the highest level of satisfaction (877 points on a 1,000-point scale). About one in four customers said they had to initiate some of these calls; their satisfaction level fell to 837 points. The one in four who had to initiate all the calls averaged just 754 points. (The three percent of customers who reported receiving no updates had a satisfaction level of just 687 points.)
The study found that providing claims updates via e-mail is by far the most-often-stated preference across all generations.
The study also found that if a customer who calls an insurance agent to report a claim is redirected to a centralized claims call center, satisfaction falls measurably compared to when the agent handles the initial claim, or if the customer called the call center directly.