In an age where corporations commonly congratulate their own customer-centricity, an uncomfortable truth is slowly dawning: it’s not businesses who decide how customer-focused they are – it’s their customers that tell them. It’s no surprise, therefore, that online organizations are increasingly deploying Customer Experience Optimization strategies to help them capture and understand crucial customer insights. But although companies’ approaches have common origins in UX and IT departments, the philosophy itself has more holistic organizational benefits. The smartest companies have recognized that Customer Experience Optimization is a mindset not a technology, and have positioned it at the center of their businesses to generate cross-discipline buy-in and organization-wide collaboration to respond to customers’ needs. This is certainly the case at the motorcycle insurers Bennetts, where a partnership with the global leaders in unified Customer Experience Optimization, Maxymiser, has kick-started a culture of customer experience optimization.
We speak to Jason Mather, Senior Manager of Customer Experience at Bennetts to find out how optimization is driving change and kick starting a long-term journey for Britain’s biking community.
Could you start by telling us some background information about Bennetts?
Absolutely, so Bennetts is now the UK’s leading broker for motorcycle insurance. Established in 1930, the company is now part of the BGL Group and provides insurance to a large proportion of the UK’s 1.2 million biking population. Our operations are multichannel, combining on and offline customer touch-points via traditional call centers and its e-commerce website. The site was introduced comparatively recently in 2007 but has rapidly grown in importance and become the primary start point for almost every new customer journey. Also, the website has developed ‘beyond the funnel’, with our digital offering expanding to include a community site (Bike Social), an online retail outlet (Bike Nation) and a classified section for trade and private sellers. The combined portfolio is aligned with a broader business objective to build an interactive community for UK bikers and provide opportunities for customer engagement beyond annual policy renewals.
And what was it that led you to create an optimization strategy?
For all the fantastic architecture we had in place, it was fundamental that we had the ability to monitor, optimize, measure, learn and refine using actual transactional data – in real time. Initially we set about establishing an internal culture of optimization – nurturing cross-functional buy-in from stakeholders throughout the business. Our objective was to ensure the approach was understood and embraced by everyone from senior executives and compliance teams all the way through to IT development, e-marketing and brand teams. However, we quickly realized that despite the enthusiasm of our engaged workforce, the ability of our internal resource could only take us so far within the VCB platform. In order to achieve the best results, we needed to implement a more hybrid solution, combining self-service through the VCB with a more managed service. And so we extended our partnership to Maxymiser’s managed services option.
Can you tell us about some of the campaigns?
One of the most significant campaigns to date has explored redesigning the crucial ‘Quote Journey’. This is an ongoing long-term project that involves pretty much everybody in the company – and it’s having a significant impact on business. Before launching the latest iteration of quote journeys, we wanted to split test it against their existing journeys – to minimize risk ahead of the roll-out. The aim was to identify specific conversion bottlenecks so that they could be resolved before exposing the pages to full traffic. The campaign not only helped us to identify and resolve key usability issues, but the results also indicated that there was no risk in exposing 100% of traffic to the new quote journey. Our new journey is much better, but if key drop-off points had not been identified early, we would have missed the opportunity to better our conversion rates – despite the new process being stronger across nearly all steps. By acting on the campaign results quickly, the new quote journey is now successful – and we’re all really happy about that!
What is next for Bennett and its optimization campaign?
The longer-term development of Bennett’s Customer Experience Optimization strategy will see us explore segmentation to create bespoke and relevant customer journeys alongside our core Customer communications and eCommerce strategies. The campaigns will also extend into our other digital domains. For now, though, the company is delighted to have kick started the journey towards understanding its customers – and is prepared for it to be a long ride. The truth about Customer Experience Optimization is that you’ve never cracked it – it’s a never-ending journey. But I’d rather be on that journey with a company like Maxymiser. Their platform, service and methodology is all about delivering continuous improvement, scalability, impact and, most importantly, ROI. It truly is a mentality; but it’s become the engine room of the business.