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How Direct Line Group overhauled their digital customer experiences and improved their experimentation operations

What to know about experimentation in the insurance sector with Direct Line Group

February 3, 2023

Every industry faces their own set of challenges when it comes to experimentation.

For those in highly regulated industries like banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI), challenges often come in the form of compliance, privacy regulations, and legacy systems.

We sat down with Richard Carter, Customer Data & Interactions Manager at Direct Line Group (DLG) and Sarah Cridland, Lead Optimization Strategist at REO to learn how DLG overhauled their digital customer experiences and improved their experimentation operations.

Below are seven key points to keep in mind when it comes to experimentation in regulatory-bound industries like insurance.

1Compliance and regulation will shape how you experiment

Compliance and regulation often leads to a shift in priorities for those in insurance when it comes to how and when to experiment.

According to Forrester, 30% of insurers say that compliance is one of the top challenges that prevents them from using data to create great customer experiences.

Richard notes that regulation often requires experimentation teams to get creative with their testing, while remaining compliant.

Despite being a potential challenge, he maintains that compliance and regulation needs to be at the center of all of your experimentation activities.

Regulation and compliance absolutely shift priorities. Having said that, we do need to be compliant and we need to meet regulations, so it should always be the top priority.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

2Overcoming legacy systems is essential

Mature businesses often come with legacy systems that can be difficult to maneuver.

Challenges can range from back-end data to the customer data strategy to being unable to meet the demands of new technology.

Overcoming these legacy systems and seeking out new technology when needed is essential to reaching your testing goals and creating a sophisticated experimentation program.

For Richard and the team at DLG, this realization came when their existing systems couldn’t handle their dynamic content and deliver upon what they needed.

This is what drove them to introduce Kameleoon into their tech stack and enabled them to reach their experimentation goals.

See how Kameleoon enables financial institutions to deliver better digital experiences.

When you are deciding where to experiment, you need a clean analytics tool with data you trust. That way you can work out where the issues are on the site, where you want to optimize, and where it makes the most business sense to begin optimizing. So the first step is always having a good data analytics set up so that you can do that analysis.
rah Cridland from REO
Sarah Cridland
Lead Optimization Strategist at REO

3Being user-centric is key

Changes in consumer demand is forcing the insurance sector to undergo a digital transformation.

Even so, Forrester reported that nearly 60% of users are not satisfied with how insurers are serving digital experiences.

Richard noticed over the last couple of years that more and more customers wanted to interact with them online, as opposed to in call centers or more manual methods as had previously been commonplace.

This forced them to think about the online customer journey and create an experience that truly aligned with what their users wanted.

He maintains that in everything that you’re doing, you need to put the users at the center of the experience, even if it means making significant changes.

There's always things that you can do to be more customer driven. Any data management strategy nowadays has to come back to the customer rather than any platform that you've got or any particular product or journey.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

4You’re often optimizing an experience users don’t want to have

The reality of working in insurance is most of your customers are having experiences that they don’t necessarily want to have.

Richard gives the example of purchasing motor insurance. Auto insurance is a legal obligation, rather than a desire. For most people, it’s about simply going through the motions.

Optimizing these journeys then becomes about making sure people are having a good experience, finding the information that they need, and feeling empowered to make decisions on their own.

In these instances, optimization comes down to creating an easy and accessible experience where everyone has equal, or just as much ability, to navigate these journeys as anyone else.

Optimizing an experience people don’t want to have means making sure users have access to the right information, that they're comfortable with the product that they're buying, and that they understand the product. That will form a lot of the themes of experimentation moving forward.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

5Insurance companies lag behind in experimentation because they don’t know where to start

According to Forrester, 40% of insurers collected customer experience data from digital interactions. Of that 40% however, only 54% acted on it to improve customers’ digital experience.

That means nearly half of insurers are collecting data without doing anything with it.

Richard suggests this may be because they don’t know where to start. There are a number of barriers to entry that insurers may face when starting out with experimentation, from incorrect configuration to unreliable data.

But once the systems are in place, then the problem becomes figuring out what to use and where to begin.

Richard suggests looking at the size of the audience and the value against them. If you are sophisticated in the way that you can capture or identify that value then that’s the best place to start.

If the insurance industry is lagging behind in terms of using data, we may actually be early when it comes to experimentation and being customer focused. It might just come down to where to start.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

6Creating an experimentation culture comes down to mindset

Creating a culture of experimentation is not always easy.

Over the years, DLG has managed to successfully create a culture at their organization where experimentation can flourish.

This means:

  • Sharing insights and learning from other’s results
  • Communicating openly about blockers or challenges
  • Encouraging learning and removing the fear of failure

Ultimately, a culture of experimentation is created through a change in mindset - from viewing A/B testing as a thing that takes up too much time, to something that will enable your team to be more agile in the long run.

When you run an experiment, you're showcasing your own quality. You've come up with an insight, you're delivering it as an experiment, and you're proving its value. It's that closed loop of delivering value - but equally losses are as important. Not only can you say that you've saved money because it would've harmed your business if you run it, but also you've learnt from it as well.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

7Experimentation can be the answer to changing world situations

The insurance sector has seen its fair share of challenges in the last couple of years, from the pandemic to the economic downturn.

Richard recalls experimentation stopping almost completely when the pandemic hit nearly three years ago. Now, however, he says that experimentation is the way to optimize your efforts despite whatever challenge the world throws at you.

By doubling down on testing and improving its customer experience, DLG is able to capture feedback, act on it, and make things easier for its customers.

Changes in world situations can be answered a lot by experimentation. It can help us find the right route for us and for the customer.
Richard Carter from Direct Line Group
Richard Carter
Customer Data & Interactions Manager at DLG

There are many potential challenges the insurance sector faces when looking to adopt experimentation.

In this digital age however, it is absolutely necessary to keep up with consumer demand.

Learn more about how Kameleoon can help insurers and teams in BFSI create better customer experiences.

Ready to book a demo? Reach out to a member of our team today.

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