Increase in click-through rate to the Premium Bonds prize checker via navigational changes
Reduction in customers choosing a non-digital journey where available
Increase in site 'helpfulness' on help articles
NS&I revamp digital touchpoints with experimentation
With 25 million customers and £157 billion invested, National Savings and Investments (NS&I) is one of the largest savings organizations in the UK. Providing savings and investment products since 1861, NS&I has been on a journey of digital transformation in recent years. Knowing that some customers might find sorting out finances to be complicated, NS&I aims to provide a simple and straightforward online customer experience. The organization has been working with ATOS and Optimizely to expand and improve its digital services and to move away from time-consuming, paper-based channels and processes
Challenging the status quo
To consider this project a success, NS&I and Atos had to achieve three core goals: optimize the customer experience, shift customer engagement to self-serve on digital channels and ultimately lower the cost overheads associated with forms and paper communications.
Originally engaged to undertake a three-month proof of concept, NS&I created an agile five-person WebOps team to develop and test ideas. Knowing that radical development to customer-facing touchpoints cannot work in a vacuum, the team used existing analytics and insight and liaised with key stakeholders to identify pain points in the customer journey.
The team continued this data-driven approach and through collaboration generated ideas of how to improve the online experience. Variations of these ideas were then implemented by the UX teams and designers to test which variation serves the customer best. This included thorough testing of aspects such as changing layout, content, icons, and links, and moving calls to action (CTAs).
Putting experimentation to the test
The team used Optimizely Web Experimentation to incorporate a wide range of online experiments to test changes to the NS&I website, a portal that provides existing and potential customers with comprehensive information about the organization’s range of products.
While the help section on the website was developed to enable customers to answer frequently asked questions and resolve issues quickly, the customer satisfaction within this section of the page was low, resulting in customers turning to expensive and time-consuming offline channels for help.
Through the Optimizely platform, NS&I reviewed the way customers interact with its library of content, streamlining the user experience. The team was able to run several versions of a page or customer journey at once, testing and measuring customer response and overall effectiveness before making these changes permanent.
By experimenting with all of the variables concurrently, the WebOps team enabled NS&I to achieve specific goals, such as improving click-through rate for various products, reducing the number of customers who choose a non-digital journey, and increasing traffic to the app stores to download the NS&I app.
To keep leveraging the benefits of continuous improvement and experimentation NS&I and Atos have been working to embed these concepts and the culture within their organizations. The WebOps has been one example, and has acted as a catalyst to other teams within the operation taking their ideas into action to improve internal and customer processes.
Return on investment
Following the initial stage of the project, the WebOps team gathered insights from 1.2 million NS&I customers a month, across all demographics and locations. This data, coupled with the capabilities of the Optimizely platform, enabled the WebOps team to make a total of 54 fully-tested and validated website changes to the NS&I website in seven months, compared to just nine changes made in the whole of 2016.
Overseeing this process, Ben Murphy from Atos noted: “In just a few months our WebOps team has delivered outstanding improvements in website usability and discoverability. These improvements are coming to market eight times faster, delivered in two-weeks, down from 16 weeks, and results in savings over £750,000.” Within this short time frame, the program drove the following tangible results:
- 715% increase in click-through rate to the Premium Bonds prize checker via improvements to the navigation menu - identified by NS&I as the number one reason for visits to the site
- 39% increase in customers choosing a digital journey (where available) from the downloads and forms page rather than downloading a PDF to complete and return via post - saving considerable effort and money
- 45% increase of site ‘helpfulness' on help articles and reducing deflection to offline channels and cost to serve
- More than 14 million NS&I customer visits to a WebOps experiment variation. This equates to around 7p per customer insight, compared to ~£400 per insight via customer labs
- Product pages saw a 68% increase in customers clicking to top up their Premium Bonds account
- More than 70% increase in click-through to the app stores by improving the layout and design of the page and repositioning the icon