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Accenture: Health Insurers Need to Improve Customer Relationships to Compete

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Nearly 50 percent of health customers are willing to pay more for quality customer service — a factor U.S. health insurers need to address to effectively compete for new clients — according to a new survey.

Accenture, Reston, Va., published this finding from a summary of a results of a survey of 1,000 insured individuals. The poll, undertaken to assess the impact of customer service on consumer preferences, found that nearly 80% expect customer services to be easier, more convenient.

The survey also found that 42% of customers had high satisfaction levels while only 7% were dissatisfied. Health insurers, however, have not translated customer satisfaction into revenue opportunities. Accenture found that very few (7%) would consider purchasing additional services.

These findings are timely due to increasing demand for consumer-directed healthcare and the additional 40 million new health insurance custome.

Health insurers have failed to provide the personalized experience customers crave from health IT investments, according to Accenture. Only 10% of customers agreed that health insurers “tailor my experience to match my needs/preferences,” while more than twice that amount (22 percent) strongly disagreed.

“We expect more personalized customer service to emerge as a major source of healthcare differentiation, much like other industries today,” said Russ Nash, who leads Accenture’s U.S. payer business. “The health insurance industry must use insight driven health to better understand the expectations of its unique customer segments and how to enhanced customer relationships to impact revenue growth.”

The survey also determined that health insurers are not keeping pace with rising customer expectations. Among all five of the areas customers rated most important, the gap between customer expectations and insurer performance was significant, as much as 50 percentage points, in some cases.


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