RESTON, Va—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 from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Accenture conducted a survey of 1,000 insured individuals to assess the     impact of customer service on consumer preferences and found that nearly     80 percent expect customer services to be easier, more convenient.

The survey also found that 42 percent of customers had high satisfaction     levels while only 7 percent were dissatisfied. Health insurers, however,      have not translated customer satisfaction into revenue opportunities, as     Accenture found that very few (7 percent) 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 customers     expected due to health reform[1].

Health insurers have failed to provide the personalized experience     customers crave from health IT investments, according to Accenture. Only     10 percent 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:

Among the five characteristics that customers rated most important:

  • Knowledgeable Representatives – Roughly 85 percent rated       interaction with knowledgeable employees as highly important, yet       fewer than 50 percent were satisfied with current experience.
  • Convenient Service Hours – Nearly 80 percent prefer customer       service being extended to weekend and evening hours, while fewer than       half currently experience this convenience.
  • Wait Time – About 80 percent rate wait time as important, but       more than 60 percent said they are kept waiting too long by current       health plan providers.
  • Single Contact – More than 80 percent said dealing with one       contact to resolve issues is important, but 60 percent are currently       transferred to multiple contacts to resolve issues.


The survey was conducted to understand how U.S. health insurers perform     in customer service. The report titled, “Seven     Secrets Your Health Insurance Customers Are Not Telling You” is     based on a survey of 1,000 insured individuals between late December     2010 and early January 2011.

Learn more about Accenture     Health

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and     outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in     more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience,      comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions,      and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies,      Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance     businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US     $21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is

[1]The Patient and Affordable Care Act is expected to add 40     million newly insured customers

Recent Content