May 2013: Client Telephone Customer Service

This report looks at the telephone customer service provided to the customers of Annuity Monitor coverage firms. The telephone customer service provided by 17 Annuity Monitor firms were analyzed on the following key criteria:

  • Accessibility of the customer service telephone number on the private website.
  • Process required to connect with a customer service representative upon calling the appropriate telephone number.
  • Quality of informational support provided by the customer service representatives.

Overall,
Annuity Monitor firms do a good job of providing email customer service to both prospective investors and current clients. The majority of firms arm customer service representatives with the knowledge and resources necessary to provide annuity customers with answers to a variety of questions in a timely manner. Due to this, 11 firms received grades in the A range, with two firms receiving A+ marks.

 

The
Annuity Monitor firms covered in this report to a great job of positioning the customer service phone number on the private website. Every firm provides access to the appropriate telephone number from a main menu link or top static menu link. However, the automated systems implemented by
Annuity Monitor firms vary greatly in length and complexity. Five firms utilize systems that require callers to complete at least five steps before being connected to the appropriate customer service representative. Conversely, six firms offer automated systems that require callers to only complete two steps or less in order to reach the desired representative.

 

The most heavily weighted criteria in this report was the quality of informational support provided by the customer service representatives. Approximately 65% of firms covered in this report were able to provide answers to all questions posed within each telephone inquiry made with the firm. Five firms provided us with incorrect information during at least one of the phone inquiries made to the firm, and one additional firm featured a CSR that was unable to provide us with the desired information, and did not offer to transfer us to another employee that could help us.

 

Additional key findings include:

  • Every firm provides access customer service phone number from the private Contact Us/Customer Service page.
  • Only one firm answers client phone calls with a live representative instead of an automated system.
  • CSRs of nine firms require at least two pieces of personal/contract information for security purposes.
  • Nine firms answered all questions posed in both firm inquiries without having to transfer us to a second CSR.