Direct Line redesigned its website last year, putting a larger focus on the rapidly growing number of mobile users wishing to access traditionally difficult to obtain information.

Just a few years ago the idea of obtaining a home or car insurance quote on the mobile web seemed at best a pipe-dream, at worst a massive hassle not worth attempting.

Now things are very different, and this focus on giving consumers exactly what they want, wherever they may be, means putting mobile at the heart of everything they do.

Direct Line is making this very claim and things have certainly improved in terms of the customer experience the insurer provides across devices, extending beyond mobile optimisation to other tools and channels.

Lets take a look at how Direct Line’s digital transformation improvements are benefitting its visitors and customers.

Site redesign

Let’s take a quick look at how the site looked earlier last year…

Although I have seen much worse, even from insurance providers still, this certainly needed a refresh. 

There’s a lot of clutter, many repeated links taking up unnecessary space and so much red. To the point where you can’t really make out the calls-to-action (CTAs).

Here’s how the site looks now.

It’s clean, there’s lots of space, subtle lines divide each product enough to make them distinct from one another with creating starkly different areas. All in all it’s a fluid, modern design where the CTAs couldn’t possibly be clearer.

And of course most importantly it is mobile optimised…

Responsive design

Direct Line has stated this is a gradual process that its still working on, so therefore not every part of the desktop experience is mobile optimised yet.

The homepage however is a work of minimal beauty. 

There are only four buttons here, all completely obvious. The top ‘get quote’ button pulls down a simple menu that directs you to each product described in one word.

The ‘get quote’ button takes you directly to the car insurance page. Car insurance is given primary place here, as it is the main area that is mobile optimised, other products are accessible by swiping down.

The car insurance form is a pleasure to navigate. Here’s how I looks on a desktop.

The number of steps it will take is clearly signposted, text entry fields are kept to a minimum, relying instead on drop-down menus. You also have the option to look up your registration details and Direct Line will fill in the form for you.

Autofill is also enabled, and you’re clearly warned immediately if you’ve filled something in wrong.

Now I mention all of this here, because every single one of these conveniences is available on the mobile version.

The experience hasn’t been sacrificed for the mobile, in fact it’s been built with mobile in mind.

It’s just a shame that this hasn’t been carried over to the home insurance form yet.

Hopefully this will be adapted soon, as the car insurance page form is excellent. Especially when it comes to offering help on other channels.

Here the number is click-to-call and there is a mobile specific live chat tool. More on that next…

Live chat

We’re a big fan of live chat on the blog, it’s fast, it’s convenient, there’s no waiting around on a busy line, and if you do have to wait at least you can make better use of your time.

Direct Line’s live chat is clearly available throughout the journey, appearing as a bright green hovering tab.

Here’s my attempt to use it…

The reply was immediate, and you could see that I was being dealt with because of the useful ‘agent is typing’ micro-UX.

This whole conversation took place within 30 seconds and it exceeded my expectations in terms of helpfulness and efficiency.

Even more impressively, this is freely available on mobile too…

Social customer service

In March I carried out an investigation into how insurance companies handle customer service on social, the results were mixed, but it is difficult for financial service brands maintain an efficient customer service channel that fully complies with banking regulations and is also human.

Part of Direct Line’s commitment to its multichannel customers is to provide service wherever it is needed, and these days Twitter is increasingly a channel where people expect just that.

Direct Line has a Twitter account, specifically stating it is there to help and clearly states its operating hours.

The customer service team here manage to reply within a few minutes, and often after hours. 

This is a particularly good example of its friendly, helpful manner, which no doubt did wonders for its brand perception.

Unlike retailers, financial service brands have a problem in communicating over Twitter due to the sensitive nature of most enquiries, however users are asked to DM their details via the same channel and will receive a reply by the same customer service agent.

Video content

As more and more people are accessing video content on their mobile devices and using video to influence their purchasing decisions, Direct Line has made a concerted effort to offer more video content to our customers.

Videos like the one below can be found embedded on their respective product pages and they each do an effective job in identifying with the viewer and explaining the benefits of the product simply.

Customer reviews ratings

The biggest advocates in any service industry are the customers themselves. In order to build trust and integrity, customer reviews have been added to the site in the form of Reevoo, which currently has a score of 8.9 for both home and motor insurance.

Again these can be found on each product’s page. 

In conclusion…

According to Direct Line, by placing more emphasis on user experience, its Net Promoter Score (NPS) has increased while complaints have reduced and customer retention has also improved.

As a customer, the quote retrieval process is fast and smooth, and I feel as if I’m being looked after through each step with plenty of support in place.

Econsultancy's specialist Digital Transformation team has helped Direct Line group and many other brands transform their businesses. Get in touch to find out more about our digital transformation services

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 25 May, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)

Jason Hick

Jason Hick, Director at Freelance

I'm one of the developers on this project and it's been a pleasure to work on something that's pushing the boundaries of what's possible on a mobile site, and also helping to make something that's quite mundane more exciting and accessible. The whole team have adopted a mobile first strategy which is really exciting, and there are lots of projects in the pipeline which will transform the legacy quote and buy journeys into things of beauty!

over 2 years ago

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