How MORE TH>N's loyalty strategy led to keeping more customers

Executive Summary

Traditionally there is very little active loyalty within the insurance market. People generally stay with their provider because of competitive premiums and/or inertia.

This reality, coupled with the fact that it is easier than ever to switch providers (through research on aggregator sites, visibility of competitor offers etc), means that MORE TH>N has an increasingly difficult task on its hands to both retain customers and live up to its brand promise.

In 2007, MORE TH>N tested a new approach. It launched MORE 4ME – a dedicated website for its customers. Leveraging its supplier network, it created a loyalty reward programme for its existing customers. MORE 4ME provides a wide range of offers and discounts for MORE TH>N customers, many of which are exclusive.

During 2010, activity on the site intensified, with 55 new offers and discounts being added, bringing the total available to customers to 72. A programme of bespoke customer communications was launched to raise awareness of the site and encourage site visits. And a project to re-launch a brand new site, hosted in-house, was launched, with the new site going live on 17th December.

The key results of the strategy were:

  • 5% uplift in retention across motor, home and pet products.
  • 9% uplift in retention amongst our highest value segments.

Background

Traditionally there is very little active loyalty within the insurance market. People generally stay with their provider because of competitive premiums and/or inertia. Whilst it is true that a good claims experience will engender some form of loyalty, most people hope they never make a claim. Indeed, in any year less than 20% of customers actually do, making it very challenging for insurance companies to develop a meaningful relationship with the majority of their customers.

The rise in price comparison sites over recent years, coupled with the advent of several highly competitive, low cost insurers, makes it harder than ever to retain customers. Price frequently determines who people insure with, which has resulted in heightened promiscuity even amongst the most traditionally loyal of customers, with a resulting decline in profitability. So instead of relying on attracting new customers through price discounts and incentives, then re-couping profits through subsequent renewal pricing and cross-sales, MORE TH>N had to start re-thinking its retention strategy. It needed a vehicle for loyalty.

In what is often seen as a mundane market which provides a service consumers begrudge having to pay for, MORE TH>N has the brand promise of ‘WE DO MORE’.

In a market that is constantly evolving, the everyday challenge is for MORE TH>N to deliver its promise, by always striving to stay one step ahead of the competition and creating services that truly ‘do more’ for their customers.

MORE 4ME is the embodiment of the ‘WE DO MORE’ brand promise.

Launched in 2007 as a test, MORE 4ME is a dedicated customer website. Leveraging its supplier network, it created a loyalty reward programme for its existing customers. MORE 4ME provides a wide range of offers and discounts for MORE TH>N customers, many of which are exclusive.

MORE 4ME is a programme that not only demonstrates to existing customers that their loyalty is being acknowledged, but also that it is being positively rewarded.

To keep one step ahead and continue to ‘do more’ for its customers, MORE TH>N needed to ensure that MORE 4ME was a site that customers wanted to visit regularly, by making it easy to use and engaging, and ensuring offers and discounts were added and refreshed on a regular basis. It also needed to raise awareness of the site, both internally and externally. For this reason, during 2010 a new and more intensive programme of activity was launched.

Objectives

Objectives for 2010 were as follows:

  • To produce a 1% uplift in retention amongst users of the site
  • To increase visitors to the site by 20% year on year
  • To increase the number of units redeemed by 20% year on year
  • To increase supplier revenue by 20% year on year
  • To add 2 new offers per month to the site

Strategy

Attractive deals

Working together, the Marketing and Opening Supply Chains (OSC) teams developed an ongoing programme of refreshed and new offers for the site. The team sourced offers that were the right fit for MORE TH>N’s customer profile. Over the year, 55 new offers were added to the site. The OSC team worked tirelessly to ensure their suppliers were providing the best available offers, and that where possible they were exclusive to MORE TH>N customers.

Prize Draws

Bi-monthly prize draws encouraged customers onto the site. This was also used for data capture, allowing us to collect renewal dates to feed into other marketing activity.

Communications Programme

  • Inclusion in every one of MORE TH>N’s monthly email customer newsletters, promoting latest offers and giving a direct link to the site
  • A bespoke bi-monthly email to those customers who do not receive the newsletter. The email promotes new and/or seasonal offers, and gives customers the details they need to register on the site
  • A quarterly Direct Mail programme, to engage with customers that have not provided us with an email address
  • Promotion in all of MORE TH>N’s customer journey and acquisition communications

Employee Awareness

MORE TH>N’s Customer Managers – who talk to our customers day in day out – are key to introducing both our existing customers and new prospective customers to the benefits of MORE 4ME. Throughout 2010 they received an ongoing programme of communications sessions and desk drops, to raise awareness of the site and give them the tools to be able to talk to customers about the site.

Launch a brand new site

At the beginning of 2010, it was agreed that MORE 4ME should be hosted in-house. This would give MORE TH>N much more control over content of the site, as well as drive significant cost savings for the business. A project was started with the aim of bringing the site in-house by the end of 2010, and on December 17th, a brand new site – designed and hosted in-house – was launched. The benefits to customers of the new site include:

  • It is an open site – customers don’t have to be logged in to view the offers, only to redeem offers. This makes it easier for anyone to browse the site
  • Customers have much easier access; once they have registered using their policy number, they can login using their email address and a password
  • The new site is easier to navigate, and it is simpler for customers to search for offers
  • The site is refreshed much more regularly with new and improved offers, and customers can take advantage of short-term and seasonal offers

2011 will see further development of the new MORE 4ME site, as well as further customer and internal communications. The new site has been developed to ensure that the customer experience is second to none. Where customers are not able to get what they want from the site, for example because they are having trouble registering for some reason or have a query about an offer, they can contact MORE TH>N via email. MORE TH>N’s marketing team deal with these queries, rather than Customer Managers, meaning that customers receive a response from a staff member who understands the site inside and out and can immediately try to resolve their issue. Customer enquiries are dealt with within 24 hours and where this is not possible, the team ensures that the customer receives a response within that timeframe.

Results

  • The site produced a 5% uplift in retention amongst users of the site, with our two highest value segments showing an uplift of 9%
  • Visitors - 27% increase year on year
  • The number of units redeemed increased by 28%
  • Supplier revenue increased by 25%
  • A total of 55 new offers were added to the site during 2010

With all their competitors shouting about prices and discounts, MORE TH>N wanted to provide their customers with more than just great value cover. MORE 4ME helps to differentiate MORE TH>N from the rest of the market, and embodies its brand promise of ‘WE DO MORE.’

MORE 4ME has become part of an integrated customer communications programme, through an online platform that is fully linked into MORE TH>N’s Marketing database. Along with the Personal Customer Manager (PCM) and Personal Claims Handler (PCH) initiatives, it forms a major part of our strategy for retaining our customers.

This case study won the award for best Customer Loyalty Strategy at The Drum Marketing Awards

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