Pre-Home: part 1

How we were able to increase the conversion rate of a product with limitations

First of all, what is Pre-Home?

Sumary: Pre-Home is a “temporary site”, where user arrives, get information, do the validation process and go to the Client Area.

Getting into details, Pre-Home is the area where new customers lands after they register in our website.
There, they can validate their ID as our customers and find information about the company and its online services.

After the validation, users are redirected to the client area.

*Client area: place where customers can solve issues related with their products (pay bills, check invoices, request technical assistance and etc).

Pre-Home for mobile and desktop devices

The goal

The main goal of Pre-Home is to help users in the process of their id validation.

The problem

Among all users in Pre-Home, only 9% were completing the main goal.

With that problem in mind, we asked ourselves:

  1. Why is the conversion rate that low?
  2. How to help more users validate their IDs?

Research

To have a better understanding about what was happening, we did a research with the help of our colleagues in the call center. We wanted to be aware about users pain points when using our website. To do that, we listened to users’ phone calls made to our operators.

Call center

We wrote a script that operators should ask users during the phone call. Whenever the subject of the call was something that could be solved online, we asked to users if they did try to solve it using the client area.
We focused on users that said they did try but had a trouble. Then we asked if they saw anything regarding a validation request or ID validation and then what happened next.
The provided answers gave us insight into what was happening.

These were the main findings of the research:

  1. Users didn’t know what Pre-Home was;
  2. They didn’t know why they were there;
  3. Why did they need to validate their ID;

This pointed to us that our product (Pre-Home) didn’t had value for users.

What were users doing at Pre-Home then?

If only 9% were completing the goal, what were the other 91% doing?

It’s important to know that, in Pre-Home, users could do other things besides the main goal.
We took a look at the website data and it showed us that users were doing “everything” but validate their ID.

Here is the list:

  • Completing secondary goals;
  • Visiting apps’ landing pages;
  • Tracking phone installation status;
  • Reading FAQ;
  • Leaving without taking any action (bounce).
What are users doing at Pre-Home?

This image is just a representation. The numbers are not shown for confidentiality reasons

To complement our investigation, we read this article at NN Group that says: “As the number of choices increases, so does the effort required to collect information and make good decisions.”
https://www.nngroup.com/articles/simplicity-vs-choice/

With these information in hands we realized that, with so many options, users were dispersing from the main goal.

Understanding the current scenario

Realizing that these options were working as a distraction, we first thought about remove it and let only the validation stage there. However this wasn’t an option because these “distractions” were (secondary) goals, also important for business matters.

The idea (hypothesis)

So if removing options wasn’t possible, what about adding more?

The first impression is that it doesn’t make any sense, but it is very simple to understand actually.

Let me explain:
The validation stage is a path to users achieve other services options in our website. For example: if users want to pay a bill, view a invoice or change their account charging date, they need to first do the validation process and then reach the desired option.

So basically what we did was to add more options that led users to the validation stage, instead of more distractions that could take them out.

The following flow helps to understand:

Idea: adding more options

After going through the validation stage, users were able to reach the “option #” that they first choose.

So what do users want?

Our next task was to find which services we should add.
To help us with that, we spoke with the customer contact team and the client area management team. This part of the job was faster because they already had the answers that we were looking for. All we had to do was ask.

They gave us a 10 items list regarding the most requested services in the client area.

Breaking into smaller parts, reducing the effort and prioritizing

With the information in hands, it was time to apply it on the interface.
However we didn’t want to make a big effort without knowing if this would work or not.
We realized that if all the options were added at once, it would require big changes on the interface, since it’s structure was limited for receiving new informations.

So we decided to prioritize and choose the most representative option on the 10 items list: item #1, “Invoice”.

User interface

Now that we knew that to do, it was time to make the changes on the interface.

Following Pre-Home’s guideline we included a button on the sidebar (at left) and a page for the content (at right).
The content had a title (same used on the button label), a simple text and a combo box where users click to start the validation process.

This is what it says:

To access your invoice, we’ll just need a validation by code.
It’s quick and simple!

Invoice

Interface with the new option added: invoice.

Validation

To validate the idea we wanted to do an A/B testing. It would be faster and easier to validate. However, we didn’t had any tool for doing this at that time. So we did a progressive validation.

How it works: we first choose a city, usually a small one, where the risk is controlled for us. It means that if something goes wrong there, it won’t cause any big damages. Then we release the application and measure its performance, compared with the average of the other cities (displaying the original version of the page).

If it returns a bad result, this is what we do:

  1. Analyze it (what was wrong?);
  2. Make changes (try new hypothesis);
  3. New release;
  4. Measure again.

Now, if the results are positive we choose another city to display the modified version and make the same process.
Once we have a full region /state running our application we release to another one, repeating the process all over again, until we reach the national level.

Releasing region after region until the entire country receives the new version of Pre-Home.

Results

After the first release to a small region, the conversion rate went up from 9% to 40%.
The next releases had the same pattern. We have now a solution that increased the number of users doing the validation process in 344%.

Conclusion

Sometimes limitations are good and helpful on shaping ideas and strategies. It make us to obtain more from ourselves in terms of creative problem solving and, in this case, it also helped us to deliver value to customers through our product.