Chicago – A new study evaluates the home pages and usability of 14 major auto insurance providers’ Web sites to examine customer expectations and discover where companies succeed or fail in attracting and retaining customers.

The study, by Chicago-based consulting firm Vox Inc., reveals four main areas that may cause frustration and site abandonment: long quote process, lack of advanced search functions, little cross-cultural information and inflexible screen design.

“Recognizing what customers are actually encountering when they go online and how that varies from their needs and expectations is essential to creating the ideal customer experience,” says Luis Serpa, account director and Web usability expert at Vox.

Findings also reveal that despite advances in technology and marketing strategies, customers continue to get lost in the process; both literally and figuratively, pointing to a continuing conflict between site design and usability. Indeed, Vox says companies updating their Web sites should be wary of some Web 2.0 features, which may only add bells and whistles, and should instead improve core elements like search and help.

The study’s highest scorers included Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive Insurance Co. These sites combine straightforward content and simple design with intuitive navigation making them highly user friendly, Vox says.

Source: Vox Inc.

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