Making customers of a popular savings brand 80% happier

the Story

A savings brand with a financially savvy customer base recognised that growth isn’t all about dazzling new customers. Long-term customers are valuable… so long as you give them a reason to be loyal.

So, when they spotted their complaints rising and unhappy customers closing accounts and taking their savings elsewhere, they dug into the data to find out what was going wrong.

To their surprise, one letter was causing these behaviours.

The letter was ordinary enough – it simply told customers that their introductory savings interest rate was due to time out soon. They could respond to the letter to reinvest and get another attractive rate, move their money to a different account, or do nothing and keep saving with the same account, but at a lower interest rate.

The trouble was, the letter had all the hallmarks of bad behavioural science – cramped with content, full of jargon, with no visual tools to guide readers through the detail or make it easy to see which option might be best. The ‘thing you need to do’ was buried somewhere in the long text on page 3 and worst of all, the narrative lulled the reader into thinking that doing nothing would be just fine. Naturally, most customers didn’t respond… until they picked up the phone in irritation a few months later, having realised that their hard-earned savings were earning hardly any interest.

So, to understand how to turn the ship around, we did what we always do: started with a behavioural science audit.

the Science

Short attention spans – people skim read. Every time. And they’re usually thinking about something else while they do it. If a communication grabs their attention at a glance, they’ll read in more detail. If not, it’s game over. If you’re not writing with short attention spans in mind, you’ll make it easy for readers to miss crucial information, like actions and deadlines, and ignore you.

Salience – If messages aren’t in the right order and framed in the right way to make readers understand in a split second why they should care, you’ve already lost.

Present bias – Procrastination isn’t just the thief of time… it steals good savings rates if communications don’t do a good enough job of convincing readers to do what they need to do right now.

Loss aversion – The idea of losing out is a powerful motivator. In the original letter, readers had no idea that they’d lose money by doing nothing, so that’s exactly what they did… and it’s what made them angry when they found out.

the Share

After the audit, we started the communication from scratch, building in BeSci basics:

  • We brought the stuff readers would care most about right into the headline and subheadings, and wrote the letter on their agenda, not the brand’s.
  • We cut it down to one page – with dry subjects like finance, less is always more.
  • A colourful call out box summarised the critical info, making it easy to digest.
  • Colour coding draws attention to the reader’s options and make the reply form quick and easy to fill in.
  • We made it really clear what the cost of doing nothing was – creating a powerful incentive to get on with it right now.

80% fewer complaints

35% more customers stayed loyal and reinvested in a new savings account

40% fewer customers ignored the letter

That’s 40% more people making a positive, informed financial choice

Growing the brand’s NPS (Net Promoter Score) from 50.6 to 60

And one Nudge Award for using behavioural science for the power of good.

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