Referral program

Before the project

I was working for iúnigo insurance, the first insur-tech in Argentina and I was the designated User Experience Designer for the "experiences" team. One of our most important OKRs was to improve sales, but the team was a squad that was part of the After Sales team. So, using the some insights and information from previous research we started brainstorming about the projects that we could do in order to reach our goal.

Y axe = worth and X axe = effort 

Areas of impact of the selected projects

The problem

After some planning we decided to make some technical research and benchmarking. Outputs were very interesting and it was definitely a very promising experience. Overall, we found that referral programs on SaaS could improve sales between 13 and 17% and also have a positive impact on lifetime value. Although it was the perfect project for the team, one of the Sales Squads had have and unsuccessful experience trying to persuade customers to refer the car insurance to their F&F. The thing was that they call them on the phone and asked them the following question - Would you refer your car insurance to friends or family if we give you a free car wash? The answer was - No, thanks. 

 

In order to push the project forward we had to expose other cases. We focus on online programs and with rewards for both customers and prospects. Also we got some qualitative data of the amount of people asking for some kind of reward for referring a friend. Customer service team support was a key point. An interesting insight we obtain through a survey was that one of the main reasons for purchasing this car insurance was the recommendation by friends/family.

We got the project approved because we put together a plan to have a Minimum Viable Product running after a 15-day sprint. This plan included:  

• Rewards for clients & friends (we used digital gift-cards).

• Communication: emails, blog and banners.

• A responsive website to explain the process to new customers.

• A new functionality for the app (React).

The only way to achieve this was by working as a team and getting all involved in the processes and problems of others. So, we define a first experience based on benchmarking. We made sketches and wireframes on a blackboard. We put together a prototype with that and use the design system to go faster. We outsource the illustrations and ask for some support from the MKT team to promote the project on the networks.

Refer your car insurance to a friend

Get your online quote and buy your car insurance 

Inspect your car with the app

You and your friend get a $$ reward

Responsive website - iteration 1

Iteration 1

The data

We used Google Analytics to measure the website performance and Amplitud for the app. According to the benchmark we needed at least 3 month to get a significant improvement on our sales. At that moment the Company was selling less than 100 car insurance per day and only 20% were online sales only (no phone calls). So this project was also intended to boost online sales. 

We used Google Analytics to measure the website performance and Amplitud for the app. According to the benchmark we needed at least 3 month to get a significant improvement on our sales. At that moment the Company was selling less than 100 car insurance per day and only 20% were online sales only (no phone calls). So this project was also intended to boost online sales. 

The project goal 

We stablished a project goal: to improve sales between 13-15% in 3 month. We created a Looker dashboard to share the progress with the rest of the teams and also to manage the online gift-cards that we needed to send to clients. 

Time & team 

The initial team was composed of 2 backend developers, 1 front end developer, 1 UI designer and myself. We did not have a Product Owner so the business requirements were established together with the CEO and COO. For this first and crazy part of the project, we had 1 week for research and setting goals and 2 weeks for design and development. It took us 2 more weeks to start measuring the impact properly.

After 3 month...

The project was performing really well, we got a 10% improvement on sales, but we still had lots of things to fix. We performed several User Tests with both clients & prospects and found out that many of them thought that it was not a real reward, others did not trust on the program and others had never heard of it. So we were having communication issues and also a massive problem with digital gift-card's management. Our supplier never send them on time and Finances Team was not happy to use this kind of rewards. 

This graph shows the growth of the referral program over time. blue line: per day / green area: accumulated amount.

Time & team 

This graph shows the growth of the referral program in relation to the client portfolio.

Now what?

We thought that we should improve the program but we have an additional problem: the company was undergoing a brand redesign and also rotating squads members. So, I moved to a new team called Growth and proposed a Design Sprint to boost the referrals program. 

The Design Sprint

I planned a 3-day Design Sprint and we all move to WeWork so that we could work without distractions. The team was: The CTO, VP of Architecture, the VP of infrastructure, the Head of Front End,  the Head of UI, a Project Manager, a Backend Developer and external support from Finances Team and Customer Service. We started analysing our quantitative & qualitative data and we had the opportunity to have some expert talks with people leading referral programs in companies such as Uber, Fly Bondi and Pedidos Ya. 

 

After different exercises we define our main hypotheses:  The increase in invitations to purchase a car insurance would increase the number of buyers. 

After 2 days of very hard work we got a wireframe prototype, a flow map and a very clear idea of what we wanted to test. So we invited some clients and tested our prototype.

Main differences with the previous program:

• Clients get $50 discount on their monthly fee just for sending their link to possible buyers. This was valid for the first 5 invitations.

• For each person that purchased a car insurance using the client's link, both get one free month discount. 

• Clients were able to track the status of their invitations and get reminders such as -Anna is interested but she did not purchase her car insurance yet. 

• We added a new feature, similar to a wallet, where clients could check how much money they accumulated and how this impacted on their car insurance monthly fee.

Final steps

The final result was divided into several stages of implementation and we created a roadmap to deliver the whole experience in . Likewise, the functionalities that were released continued to increase sales exponentially.

Web - Iteration 2

App - Iteration 2

Iteration 3

After 3 more months...

The project continued growing in a very healthy way, increasing sales by 5% over the following 3 months. I conducted a series of surveys to understand the perception of the referral program in clients and non-clients, and User Tests to continue to improve content. I collected many insights regarding end to end purchase process and I also discovered that: 95% of the clients who had referred, invited more than 1 person, 74% send invitations again after 1 month, and 82% followed up to see if the person hired after receiving the invitation.

This graph shows the growth of the referral program over time. blue line: per day / green area: accumulated amount.

This graph shows the growth of the referral program in relation to the client portfolio.

Takeaways

There are 3 big learnings from this entire process: 

  • Plan metrics carefully. It is very easy to forget something and in the case of metrics that can be very important. For example, not measuring a button can have a strong impact on understanding why a project is successful or not. In this project we did not measure correctly the first 15 days and this delayed us in being able to understand if the project was performing as expected.

  • Projects need follow up and a clear roadmap. When there is no clear path to implement things the team gets confused. Time and effort are lost in discussions and unnecessary meetings. This generates a lot of frustration. In this project I realised that putting together a roadmap with everyone's consensus makes the process smoother and that discussions take place only when necessary.

  • Keep the focus where it matters.I think the most important thing I learned is that without focus is very hard to move forward. When there is everything to do and many good ideas it is difficult to maintain a clear direction. That is why it is so important to keep the project goal in mind and always ask the team - Is this going to help us reach our goal? It sounds like something very basic, but in this process I realised that it is very easy to get distracted by things that do not have an impact on the success of the project.

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