How Equity Release Supermarket and ONP Group are using research to prepare for 2023

December 14, 2022

With half of all marketers indicating that CX is a strategic priority over the next 2 years, delivering a seamless customer experience remains top of the agenda for brands looking to drive effective transformation in 2023. 

In our final Code Talks of the year, we hosted a lively discussion with our Head of UX Jess Sherratt, Mark Gregory, Founder at Equity Release Supermarket and Waseem Haq, Chief Digital Officer at ONP Group to hear about the customer and market trends they are expecting in 2023, and how research has been a fundamental part of their transformations in preparation for the year ahead and beyond.

What are the biggest digital challenges and opportunities facing your sector now? 

Speaking on the digital challenges and opportunities facing the Equity Release sector, Mark said:

The country's economic stability in the market is a massive factor in our sector, which provides an overall challenge at the moment. From a digital point of view, there are two areas in our business. 

One is the client experience: How do we make sure that customers feel comfortable in the experience they are going through and have trust towards the advisor taking them through any questions? 

The other is that our transactions require so many different partners - banks, mortgage brokers, other lawyers, and land registry service companies. There is an opportunity in finding a technical solution to integrate these different players efficiently and automating a lot of that integration so that ultimately the transaction is more efficient.

The main opportunity is to make the client's journey slick and simple. We're in a market where our clients are over fifty, which is a demographic not usually associated with technology. The pandemic has shifted this a little, but we need to embrace those demographics in our journey with the UX and UI we do. 

Lastly, the technology we build also has to meet the criteria and standards set by the FCA and the equity release council.‚

How has research played a part in your transformation?

Commenting on how research has been fundamental to ONP’s digital transformation, Waseem said:

“It’s been enlightening. When you put research into a framework where experts can look at actual customer journeys, look at the bits that don’t quite work, identify the customer mindsets, and have it played back to them, it gives them a springboard to feed into more.

“For us, it’s been a momentum change in regards to how people are thinking, how they are talking, how they are working together and collaborating about that client experience.

“We used to have perceptions about what our customers want. It’s only when you start doing user testing, breaking things down, such as pages on your website, and putting them in front of your customers that you get the true story. Then you can test and fine-tune and check your final results.

“For us, it’s been a big learning curve and we are doing more in the validation space because of it.”

What are your key priorities for improving your CX in 2023?

“The pandemic has been interesting in that it has made people less human by interacting with digital. Now people are trying to get back to having more human interactions by going back to the office or speaking to people more, Mark said.

“We’ve got a real keen focus on how to get that right blend of digital and human interaction in the services we offer. Technology is there to help you, but it’s not always the solution. There are particular people where a phone call is better than an e-mail or just a confirmation.

“Getting the combination of digital with a human touch is what has worked for us, and understanding that the balance changes with each demographic.

“I think communication is a massive priority for us. It’s using the right content or communication channel at the right time with the right level of education to help people through their journey.

“Our priority will be to keep all of these points in mind when enhancing our customer journey.”

You can watch the full Q&A with Jess, Mark and Waseem here.

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