Senior UX Research Manager comparethemarket.com
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How comparethemarket used research to improve CX

15th Jan 2021
Senior UX Research Manager comparethemarket.com
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The insurance firm's research manager explains how a research and testing culture has improved innovation, accessibility and ultimately customer outcomes. 

It’s a simple fact that most customers do not - and never will - love insurance. Or buying any other financial or utility product for that matter! They are often seen as a burden on already stretched purse strings and while many understand the importance of these products, they could be defined as a ‘grudge’ purchase.

But, while consumers may never love their financial services products, it’s our mission to at least make the buying process easier. As a business, we have always been strong with customer research and testing, allowing us to continually refine our user journeys and products to meet the needs of our customers.

However, a few years ago, we took this to the next level with the creation of comparethemarket.com’s very own research labs, aimed at helping us to truly understand how our customers interact with our website. The difference between what people say and what people do is key, and our testing allows us to get to the heart of what the customer wants and needs; to do this our teams utilise various interactive tools and methods.

This whole process has been invaluable and we now understand far more about customer behaviours and motivations than we ever thought possible. While in the current environment our usability testing is solely online, regardless of the method that we use to collect this insight, the key is putting the learning into play.

Improving customer accessibility

One of our key focuses is around customer accessibility. I think it’s fair to say that coronavirus has brought this issue further into the spotlight, making us all a little more aware of what it’s like to not have information, products and services immediately available. Coronavirus has taught us all to be more empathetic and it’s this need to be more aware, that has driven a large amount of our research and activity around improving user accessibility. There are some organisations leading the way with this work, but generally, we feel the financial services sector must radically improve.

At comparethemarket.com, we’re embarking on our own journey to improve accessibility. While we still have some way to go, customer research will be integral to helping us offer an enhanced customer experience. An important part of this has involved setting up close links with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) with the charity auditing our site and giving clear direction on changes required.

Designing inclusive customer journeys and products is a crucial focus within this goal and we’re exploring design techniques such as breaking down the buying process and asking the user to focus on ‘one thing at a time’, reducing the cognitive load and allowing people with additional accessibility needs to engage with just one important element, for example the cover level of their policy.

The groundwork we have completed has been vital but we are only at the start of our goal towards driving greater accessibility. Implementing automated tools only takes us so far, which is why we have created an Accessibility Working Group comprising of representatives from across the business. This ensures the learnings and steps we introduce will have many touchpoints, resulting in true collaboration as we reach our targets.

The importance of a testing and research culture

It is a significant strength to be able to link attitudes and behaviours together to drive better customer outcomes. An additional benefit of having such a strong testing and research culture, has been a greater emphasis on driving innovation. The opportunities that UX research, optimisation and data insights have opened-up for the business has been incredible to witness. But, we’ve had to explore new ways of joining the dots between these different insight areas to effectively use this information.

New data points certainly create commercial opportunities, but it’s our ultimate aim to use this insight to deliver an experience that goes beyond customer expectations. However, understanding the context behind much of this data remains vital to extracting the true and potential value from it. For example, if we take car insurance as a product – so many different steps come into play before a customer purchases car insurance, it’s only a small part of a bigger picture. Is the car insurance quote for a new car? If so, where is it coming from? Does the customer need finance for this? If it’s an older car, do they now need to include breakdown in the quote?

While it might sound clichéd, in the case of customer insight, knowledge certainly is power. And it’s this power that has the potential to unlock a whole host of commercial and consumer benefits. The real success comes when the insight impacts the entire end-to-end customer experience, identifying new products and services that the user didn’t even know they needed yet – that’s when the customer might just ‘love’ the buying process after all.

 

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