Providing a customer-centric service
A Zurich case study

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Page 2: Market research

Market research is the systematic gathering of data about what customers want. It also includes the analysis of this data to provide information to aid marketing decision making.

Firms can use their market research findings to improve their product offer or the support provided to customers. A customer-centric firm will use the research findings to improve all aspects of its proposition.

Zurich uses market research in order to understand what potential customers want from their insurance company. Research can also be used to find out how Zurich and its services are perceived by existing customers.

Primary research

Primary research is research that is carried out for a specific purpose. It aims to find new information. For example, Zurich commissions research into the types of personal insurance that people are seeking. Primary market research involves four stages. It can be expensive and time-consuming. The main benefit is that it provides the answers to specific questions that are relevant to Zurich. Another benefit is that Zurich”s competitors will not have access to this information.

Qualitative and quantitative

As part of developing its brand strategy, Zurich carried out detailed quantitative and qualitative research. This focused on over 70 different features and aspects of its service:

  • A sample of 7,000 customers, non-customers and insurance intermediaries from 8 countries were interviewed. This provided valuable quantitative information. It showed what people thought of the company, what they expected from Zurich and the insurance industry. A range of questions were asked such as: 'Are convenient opening times more important than a rapid payment of a claim?'
  • Quantitative data showed that fewer than 15% of customers trusted any insurance company.
  • Research showed that customers wanted to feel valued and understood and to be treated as individuals. Focus groups (qualitative research in which customers talked about their feelings in relation to insurance) showed that many consumers feel that insurance has become a commodity, rather than a relationship with a trusted insurance provider.

Internal primary research also took place within Zurich. This involved 45 workshops with staff to identify what the business could do to differentiate itself from rivals.

The results of Zurich's research clearly indicated certain recommendations. It was essential for Zurich to:

  • understand its customers
  • provide insight and/or advice
  • be fair, fast and easy to do business with
  • engage with customers in a way that makes them feel valued
  • deliver on promises.

Zurich | Providing a customer-centric service