When it comes to delivering a positive and well-co-ordinated multi-channel experience for customers and prospects alike, many insurers are falling worryingly short, according to research from Celebrus Technologies into the online experience offered by some of the UK's top insurance providers, including pure play pet insurers and those offering multiple products. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

Pet insurance is not a product that a customer buys every day. Signing up to an annual policy is emotive and demands customers trust that a company will take care of their precious animal's veterinary needs should it become unwell or injured.

It is therefore important that the insurer gives its potential new customers a friendly and engaging online experience in order to build the sense of trust that the pet owner is no doubt looking for. This requires an insurer to look at the information submitted in the online quotation process not just to generate a quote, but also to make that person feel positive about how his or her pet will be treated in the future, for example using personalisation and recognising that person across devices and channels so he or she feels understood.

An immobile approach?
Mobile has been one of the fastest growing channels for Digital Marketers. Apps have become a part of everyday life and more customers now prefer to use an app than the traditional mobile web approach. In fact, 86% of customers now use an app in comparison to 14% who visit via mobile web. However, as few as 5.7% of insurers offered mobile app availability on the homepage - surprisingly low number considering the ubiquity of mobile devices.

Whilst the vast majority did not have a available app on the website, 42.9% did have either device responsive websites or mobile-specific sites. This number dropped considerably however when looking at those with mobile optimised quotation forms, with only 5.7% having forms that were optimised for mobile devices. It is encouraging to see that while the availability of a mobile app is low, there is an understanding of the importance of optimising websites for mobile devices, yet there is still work to be done.

Are you Social?
It was unsurprising to see that Facebook still held the top spot when it came to social media, with over 94.3% of insurers having an active page on the site and the average number of likes standing at 525k.

While this average number is high as it includes organisations for whom insurance is a small part of their product set, there were also some extremely popular and active Facebook accounts by pure play insurance providers who used this channel to engage on an emotional level - who doesn't love a cute puppy and kitten photo, especially if it's of their own pet.

Twitter was also a popular social media method with 91.4% of organisations having an account, however, 8.6% of those accounts were inactive - some had never posted a tweet, appearing unprofessional and really not engaging with customers.

By utilising mobile apps and optimising sites for mobile usage to engage and improve the customer experience rather than simply jumping onto the next fad, insurers are utilising modes of engagement which are 'tried and tested' to bring business benefits and demonstrate to the customer that their requirements are understood and can be catered for. After all, whilst the insurance companies don't do the all important veterinary care themselves, they are a key part of how a person 'feels' when making this important purchasing decision that will affect their pet's future.