Julian
Senior Product Designer (UX & Visual)

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) |
CX (Customer Experience) Improvement |
Product Design | Strategic Design Thinking

Project Overview

About the company:

Make it cheaper is an online platform helping SME owners save money on their business utilities by finding the best deal for them, conducting the switch over then centralising the account management in one place.

Context:

The current end-to-end user journey involves switching over between 3 different touch points:

  1. The pain can be felt when receiving utility bills by mail
  2. The solution can be found/accessed online via the Make it cheaper website
  3. The problem resolution happens on the phone

Objective:

The mission here is to ideate on a new customer journey which puts an emphasis on:

  • Ease of experience
  • Smart and efficient cross-selling 
  • Tailor-made customer experiences
  • Disrupt the experience and service delivery
  • Improve business KPIs
    • VTL (Visitor To Lead)
    • VTS (Visitor To Sale)
    • NPS (Net Promoter Score) / likeliness to recommend

Scope:

  • Identify new opportunities to improve user experiences
  • Identify disruption opportunities for the business
  • Keep the customer at the heart of all suggestions

Plan:

  1. The customer
  2. Current alternatives
  3. Make it cheaper
  4. KPI analysis
  5. V2QL Optimisation
  6. Open thoughts & next steps

1. THE CUSTOMER
make it cheaper

Who's the customer

Typically it would be SME business owners who would like to save money on their energy bills but don't have time to do the switch themselves.

Story

Gemma is a 38 years old mum of 2. A couple of years ago she opened her own hairdressing salon and became her own boss.

Now she is in charge of everything, including those ever increasing utility bills like the last one she just received.

The salon is always very busy and she rarely has time for administrative work.

Goals

  • Focus on her business and grow it rather than administrative paperwork
  • Bring more money home for her household
  • Have more time for her family

Frustrations

She knows very well that she needs to change her current utility contracts to cheaper alternatives but she also knows the pain involved in doing so because she's done it once already when she signed her current contracts but the difference is she has even less time for it now.

Values

Gemma values her time more than anything. Being busy like she is, she really understands the value of time.

2. CURRENT
ALTERNATIVES
Generic customer journey - Direct approach - Company websites
(source: EDF Energy)
Generic customer journey - Direct approach - Company websites
(source: EDF Energy)

Available alternatives

The current alternatives include either:

  • Direct: Company websites (Eon, EDF Energy, nPower, etc.)
  • Indirect: Price comparison websites (Moneysupermarket, Uswitch, etc.)

Direct alternatives

At the moment, out of all the websites studied, the approach is always the same:

  1. 1 CTA - Get a quote
  2. Form Filling - Energy habits
  3. Form Filling - Online application
  4. Wait

Pro:

  • Flexibility - Switch can be initiated at any time

Cons:

  • No price comparison - Comparison can't be made on the website directly and requires form filling to get an estimate, then more form filling on other websites to compare prices
  • Per-product basis - The process needs to be repeated for each bill: it isn't centralised
  • Non-dynamic - Customers need to keep a watch on the market to keep finding the best price deals and switch
  • Time consuming customer support - Tedious customer support involving long waiting times over the phone

Generic customer journey - Indirect approach - Price comparison websites
(source: moneysuprtmarket.com)
Generic customer journey - Indirect approach - Price comparison websites
(source: moneysuprtmarket.com)

Indirect alternatives

Here again, out of all the websites studied, the approach is always similar:

  1. 1 CTA - Get a quote
  2. Form Filling or Phone Call - Energy habits
  3. Wait

Pros:

  • Flexibility - Switch can be initiated at any time
  • Price comparison - Get the best deal
  • Centralised solution - One platform for all the bills
  • Centralised support - 1 call centre for all bills
  • Multi-platform support - Phone, Email, Messenger, etc.
  • Centralised dashboard - Ideal to track cross consumption in one place (mobile app)
  • Referral system
  • No account management fees
  • No exit fees 

Cons: (Needs more investigation)

3. Make it cheaper

Where it sits in the current offering panel

Make it cheaper sits in the indirect offering category, wherby it acts as the middle man between the supplier companies and the end consumer.

However compared to the other websites, it differentiates in its intrinsic positioning in the sense that it targets small business owners

Below is the current end-to-end customer journey currently in place for Make it cheaper mapped to the AIDA marketing framework:

  1. Awareness: Prospects find out about the website through channels like Google search, Adwords or referrals
  2. Interest: Prospects collect information about the offering from the website
  3. Decision: Prospects react to the CTA buttons (by taking out their phone)
  4. Action: The sales process is initiated over the phone

Then the AIDA framework is repeated once more over the phone (sales pitch/script) to conclude to final sale: e-contract signature or verbal agreement.

make it cheaper
4. KPI ANALYSIS

As informed by the business, Make it cheaper measures success based on 3 main metrics:

  • Visitor to lead
  • Visitor to sale
  • Net promoter score

Visitor to lead

This metric tracks the percentage of visitors that performed the desired action: "make a phone call".

However, what really matters is the very definition of a "lead".

  • Phone call?
  • Phone call + Correct intention (quote enquiry)?

As such, a random phone call to enquire about the offering would be labeled as a "lead" while someone calling with the intention to get a quote would be a "qualifying lead".

Lead vs Qualifying lead: Why it matters?

The difference between the above 2 is the customer's initial degree of interest and from a business perspective it is a good indicator at how well is the business's offering communicated/perceived.

A qualifying lead (QL) is a subset of a lead (L).

  • The closer QL / L is to 1: the service's added value is extremely well communicated through the website.
  • The closer QL/L is to 0: the website fails at conveying its service's added value.

V2L / V2QL are essentially key performance indicators for a single given touchpoint: the website.

make it cheaper

Visitor to sale

This is another subset of "Visitor to lead". It is the percentage of visitors that have concluded a sale with Make it cheaper.

The V2S metric is the summative result of the conversion performance of the website and that of the phone conversation script.

This means that V2S involves 2 different touch points that need to be individually analysed then optimised, to produce an overall metric increase.

Now in order to really optimise the phone call script, it is necessary to rule out any unnecessary measurement and focus on the script's conversion alone.

For that the appropriate metric would be "Lead to Sale".

Net Promoter Score

The NPS is a customer satisfaction measurement tool used to measure how likely customer recommend the service to their friends and family.

At the moment the system in place offers a £100 incentive for each successful referral:

  • £50 for the person referring
  • £50 for the person referred

While this is a great growth hacking technique, it delivers biased performance measurements since customer satisfaction means there is no other incentive to refer the product or service than the sheer feeling of satisfaction itself. Yet in this case, the monetary reward is a strong drive that will often skew the measurements:

Right now, how can the business differentiate between the true customer motives behind a referral?

How to fix it? Introducing the "Switch ratio" (SR)

This would be a new and unbiased KPI for customer satisfaction. It would be the ratio of the number of services the customer has switched with Make it cheaper over time versus the number of services he was initially subscribed to before joining Make it cheaper.

This would measure the likeliness of a customer to repeat the sale again and again just because the service was outstanding and offered great value.

Takeaways on the KPIs

All in all there should be 3 main KPIs tracked by the business. Each of them provides valuable information in terms of Make it cheaper's performance.

These are so called: "Conversion levers".

They are the metrics to track when testing changes to improve the business's performance overall (conversions).

V2QL
Website perf. indicator
L2S
Speech perf. indicator
SR
Overall satisfaction indicator

Identifying the actions required to achieve CRO

Let's map the existing Make it cheaper customer journey with the appropriate performance measurement indicators and outlines the general directions required to achieve an overall CRO:

  1. Awareness/Discoverability --> SEO
  2. V2QL --> Website design enhancements
  3. L2S --> Phone call script enhancements
  4. SR --> V2QL + L2S enhancements + Great service overall


As part of the scope of the current mission, #1 won't be considered while #4's improvements will be the indirect result of the optimisations of #2 and #3.

5. V2QL OPTIMISATION

So when we look at the current website (left) and break it down in terms on components (middle) and take out the non crucial to the decision making process, we’re left with the last image (right).

The screen consists of:

  • A tag line
  • An offering panel
  • A CTA button

While these are of course part of a whole and design needs to consider to overall experience, look and feel, this is probably the area of focus, the one that would yield the most results.

Even more, by simply applying tiny tweaks to the copy maybe, we could already A/B test the impact on the V2QL metric. That would be a low effort high reward test: a quick win.

Now let's decompose what's going on there.

make it cheaper

Tag line analysis

The mission statement is:

"Welcome to the new, fairer way to switch your business utilities"

So at the moment the tag line defines the:

What? --> Switch your utilities

For who? (partially) --> Businesses

But doesn't answer the "How?" and leaves the what to the very end of the sentence.

Anatomy of a successful tag line

The role of a tag line is to answer as many customer questions as possible within as little words as possible.

A good way to make sure it goes in that direction is to start by writing the sentence:

<Company name> helps customers + DO WHAT + HOW?

The "Do what" + "How" part then become the tag line itself.

Ideating on the copy

The best way to go about it and brainstorm for copy ideas is to simply write down several statements about what the business offers, how it does it and the value it yields for the customer.

  • We find the best business utility deals for you
  • We do the switch for you
  • We manage all your accounts in one place
  • You save time and money

Redefining the real problem

Now let's quickly go back to Gemma. Her problem/pain is that her utility bills keep getting more and more expensive and she knows the solution: search for cheaper alternatives.

So the real question is: if she already knows the solution to her problem why is it still a problem?

An assumption could be that maybe "money" isn't the true problem. Maybe it is just the trigger for change and change/switching is the main blocking point in the journey. And why is it such a pain point?

Because Gemma, even more than random customers is a business owner, meaning she has even less time on her hands.

Suggestions to optimise V2QL

Currently the whole messaging on the website is about how much money Gemma can save. But if money really was a strong enough drive for change, she would have already done the switch.

She hasn't, which clearly shows that money is enough of a drive to bring her all the way to the "Awareness" stage of the AIDA framework, where she is looking for alternatives.

In order to increase the V2QL metric, the website needs to spark both interest and desire and inspire action.

For that to happen, she needs to resonate with the messaging and find the offering relatable.

Therefore, a good action point would be to A/B test a couple different copy for the tag line. This can be done involving fairly minimal costs and within a very short period of time and can potentially bring tremendous results.

In investigating ways to optimise V2QL, a page redesign means more resources put towards design and development but would bring valuable insights. The idea and direction outlined below is a more minimalistic approach to the webpage where the focus is shifted from "money saving" to "time saving" and the fact that it doesn't require any effort from the customer. That last bit is further exemplified by the WE vs YOU visual opposition which automatically creates a mental image of "ease" for customers like Gemma.

Another block point that can be found on the website is the "office hours" limitation to get a quote, since phone calls can only be made between 9am - 5:30pm during week days. This is precisely when Gemma can't be available.

So at the moment, the decisive step associated with the V2QL conversion is that phone call and yet it comes with a whole lot of limitations: Gemma needs a solution that understands her and her need for flexibility but right now she is stuck with a single option, mostly incompatible with her work routine.

Direction to explore

By adding a live chat service like Intercom, the business can offer more flexibility to the customer: the form filling step can be completed at a time of Gemma's choosing while the customer representative may take on the final steps as they are next available.

The idea is not to automatise everything using a chatbot but rather to have this seamless human handover or bot takeover when unavailable.

6. Open thoughts
& Next steps

All in all we've explored a handful of ways to improve the V2QL metric but the other KPIs also need to be optimised. Similarly, while only a few directions have been discussed here, the V2QL has lots more room for improvement.

Overall I have placed the emphasis on research and really trying to understand the user and their real need.

I believe Make it cheaper is a facilitator and should present itself as is while echoing the user's story/problems.

In the process of moving to the next step, it is important to prioritise the directions to be explored and go for the quick-wins first and testing the results.

make it cheaper