New Metropolitan Website Makes Financial Services More Human

At a time when robo-advice and DIY investment apps are making financial services more impersonal than ever, Metropolitan’s new-look website gives finance a refreshingly human touch. The customer experience team at VMLY&R share the thinking behind this transformation.

  • Metropolitan

Here’s the rub: everyone needs financial products – retirement investments, rainy-day savings, a university stash for the kids, all that stuff. But log onto a financial services company’s website and you may struggle to find what you’re looking for if you don’t speak Finance. Thankfully, Metropolitan’s new-look website has changed all that, making it easy for existing customers and potential customers to find what they’re looking for, fast.

The Vision
Metropolitan is far from the same company that it was 10 years ago. They wanted a website that reflected their new corporate identity, offered a better user experience and had scalable potential for their future plans. Most importantly, it needed to be client-centric, ensuring that both prospective and existing clients would be able to interact seamlessly on desktop and mobile.

As more and more South Africans venture online, we recognised our website would most likely be their first port of call or interaction with Metropolitan, so we wanted their experience of Metropolitan to be memorable, engaging and satisfying,” says Metropolitan marketing manager James Boulton. “We wanted customer insight and usability to be the foundation of the design and for all visitors to feel equipped and informed after visiting the website.”  

Transformation Loading
To achieve these objectives, Metropolitan partnered with VMLY&R, an agency known to have a strong customer experience (CX) game. “We started by understanding the target personas and their needs - how they consume financial content and would prefer to take action,” explains Germari Steenkamp, head of customer experience at VMLY&R. “We then immersed ourselves in the products and how they are designed.” The aim: To draw out those aspects of the products that would be most relevant to a user and present them in an accessible way.

 “People are driven by life goals, not a desire to get products,” says Steenkamp. With this in mind, the team designed key journeys for the website and tested these with real people – again and again and again. “This ongoing and rigorous usability testing helped us to test not only the experience but the content, and we kept testing until it was just right.”

Another key aspect was close collaboration between agency and client. “This project was a joint effort in creating a solution that the internal Metropolitan team can absorb and expand on – we collaborated heavily and trained the team as we went,” says Steenkamp. This will keep the website growing and evolving, rather than languishing once the agency has left the building.

Big Reveal
After beginning work in January this year, the team rolled out the new-look site in two phases – phase one at the end of April and phase two a month later, with additional features still coming.

At first glance, the new-look website feels uniquely Metropolitan and is not what you’d expect from a financial services company. Users commented that it feels “fresh and welcoming”. All financial jargon has been stripped away and replaced with simple language and content that’s streamlined and engaging. Users don’t have to navigate a labyrinth of links to find what they’re looking for, thanks to content that is scannable and informative. Submitting a query or request is just as quick and easy. 

It shows in the stats:

  • Page load times improved by 47% indicating that the site is performing better overall.
  • Bounce rate decreased by 17% (actual) and average session duration improved by 25 seconds, reinforcing the fact that customers are more encouraged to spend time on the site, engaging with the content.
  • Conversion rate was 1.5% above KPI – proof that the new website is a more effective lead generation tool.

 “The new Metropolitan website reflects our ambition and provides a strong proof-point which demonstrates that together we can plan for and achieve our clients’ financial life goals,” says Boulton.

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