In my last blog I explored how it has become easier for customers to swap and change financial products and that the comparison services are missing a trick by not integrating with incumbent service providers.
I have been thinking a bit more about this problem and it really is a deep-rooted issue that affects product loyalty across all financial service products today.
Most customers exploring a new financial product, let’s say a bank account or insurance policy, will use a comparison service online to check on the best deal. The primary reason we all use these services is because they save time. It is possible to search every insurance company one by one, but entering all the details required for a quote is extremely time consuming so the comparison sites allow a quick and easy comparison.
We all know that the insurance company will pay a commission to the comparison company and this is fine – but the whole comparison site industry has been rocked recently by allegations that some companies pay better commissions than others, which may in fact lead the comparison engine to recommend options that are not necessarily in the best interest of the customer.
So the first thing the customer wants when using one of these comparison tools is to trust that any company getting their business as a result of being recommended by the comparison tool is getting it fairly – all the options were compared fairly and the best ones recommended.
If the options on the comparison engine are trusted then an additional way to improve the comparison experience would be to ensure that the incumbent service provider knows about your search. Perhaps there could be an option for the customer – some customer might not be at all interested in staying with their present provider. However in many cases, the incumbent provider could jump into a conversation – probably via a chat window – and negotiate on how they could retain the customer just because they can see the customer searching for alternative options.
Additionally there could be a similar option for the customer to choose a recommended policy and indicate that they like it, but if one change could be made then they would purchase it. This could also be a simple chat option, with the insurance company representative popping up and able to discuss whether the customer request is reasonable or not.
Will these changes take place? The companies providing comparison engines need to inspire confidence that they really are the place to go for the best deals and after the recent issues over variable commission it seems that this kind of additional functionality would mean there is no better place to check on products.
What do you think about the comparison engines and how they could improve their service? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn…
Photo by Michael Johnson licensed under Creative Commons