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How Ageas use Machine-Learning Analytics to Optimize Conversions

John Crichton explains how he and the team at Ageas use SessionCam to create an intuitive, effortless, clear and coherent customer experience.

Ageas and its retail partners have shared a significant ROI since deploying SessionCam. In this Q&A, John Crichton, Head of Ecommerce at Ageas, takes us through ‘a day in the life of’, providing an inside view of how they use SessionCam daily as part of their continuous website improvement.

Q. Please provide a brief introduction to Ageas and what you look for in a website optimization tool?

John: Ageas is a top three motor insurer in the UK, and we have a completely unwavering focus on customer service. We’ve won the Gold Standard Award for Customer Service every year, from 2008-present. We work with some big brands, and I’ll talk you through some of the challenges that we face together today.

Ageas focuses on customer service, and from a digital perspective, we are no different. My focus as Head of Ecommerce is to give our customers an intuitive, effortless, clear and coherent customer experience. So basically, we need a tool that helps us to makes it easier for customers to do business with us.

Q. How has the insurance market evolved?

John: From the traditional high-street broker model, the UK was one of the first to successfully change to a call center model back in the 1980s. This was a game-changer that moved businesses off the high street into the call centers.

Then in 2000, the price comparison websites arrived and they took the game to a whole new level. Since then, we’ve seen these websites grow and improve enormously, and they’re now the source of most of the insurance business writ in the UK for personal insurance products, such as car insurance.

Q. What online challenges do you face today?

John: Price comparison websites have made it incredibly easy for customers to compare and to switch.

The prices that you get on a comparison website are given online, they are guaranteed and can be bought immediately. What this means is that your own brand, product, online experience and price have to be very strong in order to be competitive. A customer won’t persevere with a bad online journey. If they don’t like something, they’ll more than likely just spend a few more pennies with another company as the price differentials are so small.

So, when a customer clicks through to one of our websites from a price comparison website, it is essential that we do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for them to buy from us, and to convert that click into a sale.

Q. How do you combat this industry issue?

John: We employ a continuous improvement cycle that truly never stops. We focus on data and user experience (UX) fixes:

  • Analyze site performance
  • Identify struggle areas
  • Analyze the customer struggle using tools such as heatmaps and session replay
  • Then we go and fix the problem

Q. How are you using SessionCam as part of this continuous improvement cycle?

John: We rely on SessionCam to help us through this process on a daily basis. It is one of the simplest and strongest tools that we have.  

Firstly, SessionCam uses its unique machine-learning algorithm to give every session a CS Score between 0 and 5. It then prioritizes these to tell us what areas are causing the most customers to struggle.

Once we have this information, we then use SessionCam to generate a heatmap showing what users are doing on that page. For example, we might use a click heatmap to see where people are clicking, or mouse movement and attention heatmaps to identify where they are looking and spending their time.

Thirdly, we need to identify exactly where on the page people are struggling. And SessionCam has the videos of struggling customers right there in front of us. So at the click of a button, we can jump straight into the session recordings and see exactly what issues customers are having – then look at what we need to do to improve. 

Q. How has the CS Score helped make finding and fixing website issues easier?

John: The CS Score has changed how we use our site enormously. Previously, we would focus our attention on drop-off reports from our conversion funnels to look for pages that we should review. We would then try to find customers who were dropping-off to figure out what the cause was.

However, many of these customers were dropping-off for genuine reasons, such as the price being too expensive, or that they didn’t qualify for the product.

It took a significant amount of time to find the real issues and to identify those users who were just having a bad customer experience. Now, because of the CS Score, SessionCam identifies those users for us.

It groups the struggling customers together so that we can jump straight in. So we no longer have to sift through the customers who dropped-off because of price. As they’re not struggling with the site itself, the algorithm won’t pick up them up. SessionCam is only looking for struggle, and so the CS Score has made my team so much more efficient.

Q. Could you give us an example of where you got value out of the CS Score?

John: One of the big insurance brands that we work with was able to vastly improve the usability of a page of their website, and this also resulted in improved page-on-page progression. The page in question has a list of qualifying criteria and one big red button that says ‘Yes, I agree’, with the alternative if you decide not to proceed being that the customer leaves the page and doesn’t buy from us.

But the customers weren’t finding it that simple.

The page had a CS Score of 3.5, which is not the worst score by any means. However, for a page with one call to action on it, it’s pretty high. Using session replay, we could see them scrolling up and down the page and reading and reading. We found them trying to click on parts of the text which weren’t actually clickable.

We found them going forward, then deciding that they actually weren’t happy and returning back to the page again, then dropping off.

It turns out that upon further investigation and the use of session recordings, we found that people didn’t actually see the big red button, instead, they tried to click on the ‘breadcrumbs’ at the top of the page to try to move forward. Because we’re an insurance company, we can’t allow that to happen because we need the user to confirm that they qualify by clicking the button.

Q. So what did you do to fix this?

John: We just fixed the issues associated with what the customer was trying to do. It was as simple as that.

We removed the breadcrumbs, we made sure that customers could always see the red button, by putting the rest of the text in a separate box – so it was always there no matter what device they were using. We also added FAQs which were specific to what the customers were trying to click on in the text. Thanks to insight from the session recordings, we could deduce what questions the customers were asking and what they were looking for more information on.

The good news is that the CS Score went down from 3.5 to 2.2, and even better news is that it actually reflected in page-on-page progression, which improved by 11 percent.  

Q. What happens next in a day in the life of Ageas?

John: We continue with our continuous improvement – coming back to the steps of our cycle that I mentioned earlier. We continue to analyze site performance, identify struggle areas, analyze these struggles, and plan and test improvements.        

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The information in this post is taken from our presentation with Ageas at International Ecommerce Day, which took place in November 2016. You can watch a playback of the video presentation below.

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