LONDON – WUA ran a comprehensive market customer experience benchmark study to understand how UK consumers research and take out a mortgage. Respondents in our survey of 300 consumers searched using their own desktop computer or laptop. Starting on a blank web page, each respondent was asked to complete the following task as they normally would:
“Imagine you want to buy a home with your partner. Your situation is as follows: You and your partner each have an annual gross income of £22,000 a year, so your combined annual income is £44,000. You have managed to save £20,000 for a deposit. The asking price for the property you want to buy is £200,000. Go online to orientate yourself on mortgage options and providers.”
With this benchmark study, WUA is able to determine customer experience and preference, and how real consumers experience the online research process for a mortgage.
During and after discovering at least 4 websites that offer mortgages, WUA asked the 300 respondents:
- Which providers (e.g. lenders, brokers, comparison sites) did you encounter? Which websites did you find?
- Why did you continue on this website? Or, why did you give up?
- Which website is your final choice? Why? Which is your second choice? What could they do to improve?
- Did you use a comparison site? If so, which lender did you end up choosing?
- What did you like and dislike about the application process?
- And many more customer experience related questions.
The online customers have spoken! Halifax.co.uk rose above the competition. For the task they were given, consumers said Halifax.co.uk provided the best overall customer experience. Below the complete Digital Sales Score rankings you will find additional insights. These are only some of the quantitative findings of our study.
Digital Sales Score
Name study: MortgageMeasurement: January 2018Country: United Kingdom
- 1 Halifax.co.uk 65
- 2 Nationwide.co.uk 63
- 3 MoneySuperMarket.com 61
- 4 Barclays.co.uk 56
- 5 Santander.co.uk 55
- 6 HSBC.co.uk 55
- 7 MoneySavingExpert.com 53
- 8 LloydsBank.com 53
- 9 NatWest.com 53
- 10 CompareTheMarket.com 54
- 11 YBS.co.uk 50
- 12 TSB.co.uk 48
- 13 GoCompare.com 47
- At the base of each Digital Sales Scan® lies the Digital Sales Model. With this model, the details of the orientation process are mapped. Eventually the performance of a website is reflected in a single, overall score: the Digital Sales Score.
Some of the quantitative findings of our study
The January 2018 Digital Sales Scan provides a snapshot of digital excellence in the UK mortgage market. With a Digital Sales Score of 65, Halifax.co.uk is ahead of the competition when it comes to findability (45%), followed by Nationwide.co.uk (36%) and Barclays.co.uk (32%). The ranking is dominated by the banks, with the exception of comparison website MoneySuperMarket.com in 3rd place.
Nationwide.co.uk and Halifax.co.uk have by far the highest preference (14% and 13% respectively), followed by MoneySuperMarket.com (9%). Nationwide.co.uk was visited by 34% of participants, showing a conversion rate of 39%. Comparison websites MoneySuperMarket.com and CompareTheMarket.com ranked 2nd and 3rd when it comes to conversion (34% and 33% respectively).
When consumers look at a website, they usually form a first impression based on what we call the customer experience themes of Look & Feel, Product Offer, and Brand. They then decide to either continue on the website to take a further look, or give up and visit another website.
- Halifax.co.uk has the highest findability and second highest preference, but does not get the highest score on any of the customer experience themes.
- MoneySuperMarket.com and Nationwide.co.uk have the highest scores on Look & Feel in both the First Impression phase and the Further Look phase.
- When it comes to Product Offer, Nationwide.co.uk scores highest in the First Impression phase, whereas MoneySuperMarket.com and TSB.co.uk have the highest scores in the Further Look phase.
- MoneySavingExpert.com has the highest Brand score in the First Impression phase, and Nationwide.co.uk in the Further Look phase. These two websites share the highest Overall Opinion scores as well.
An interesting observation is that visitors are much more likely to use a mortgage calculator tool on websites of banks than on comparison websites. Our study also showed that the two most important factors when it comes to choosing a mortgage are the interest rate (86%) and the deposit required (62%).
These are only some of the quantitative findings of our study. In each Digital Sales Scan, WUA discovers the why behind the analytics. In this Digital Sales Scan, we answer the following questions and more:
- Why did Halifax.co.uk rank as #1?
- What are the best practices in the market?
- Why did consumers choose to continue on particular sites? Why not?
- How do consumers experience certain websites copmpared to others?
- Which website improvements will drive the most conversion, and ultimately sales?
Market performance over time and multi-country studies
WUA also carries out repeat measurements that offer valuable market insights over time. This enables you to track how your position within your market is changing, and the impact of any changes you have implemented since the previous measurement.
This is our first mortgage study in the UK. However, we have already carried out various mortgage studies in The Netherlands with some interesting results, and we are planning a mortgage study in the USA as well.
Digital Excellence: Who gets the highest preference?
Overall, Nationwide.co.uk is the number 1 choice for 14% of respondents. The next best preference score is 13% for Halifax.co.uk. The top 2 providers in this study are second choice for 9-12% of respondents, and third choice for 7-9%. Relatively little effort is required to get preference from these groups of consumers as well.
Aim of this study
The aim of the study is to precisely identify the digital experience of consumers when they search for a mortgage. Who do they choose to buy from, and mainly: Why? Using a proven model WUA has worked on over the past eight years, we map out what it is exactly that consumers want, what the best practices are, and what the areas for improvement are. The following websites were assessed by consumers in the study:
All websites listed have analytics and insights in the update report. Not all websites were assessed by a statistically significant proportion of the respondents and thus could not be included in the ranking. For those interested, WUA can ask additional consumers to evaluate your website to be included in the benchmark. If interested, please contact us.
>> More results from this research can be read in the free Mortgage Insights Update January 2018
To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience
This study shows once again that Digital Excellence is an absolute necessity. To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience in the entire customer journey, and take the number 1 position when it comes to preference. Being found and scoring high in Google isn’t enough. Here’s an example.
WUA can give you insights to increase your conversion and beat the competition
In the study, WUA’s online experts reveal problem areas and areas for improvement for all customer experience themes, based on the Digital Sales Model.
We offer conclusions and concrete recommendations to a limited number of providers in a tailored report. Who can benefit from this study?
- Everyone who is commercially responsible: The winner takes it all.
- Management: For the right direction and mindset.
- Online marketing professionals: Get started immediately with the recommendations for higher conversion.
- Research: Thorough research with validated model is the foundation for digital success.
- Proposition/marketing: In addition to Look & Feel, the themes of Product Offer and Brand are key factors in the purchasing process.
Would you like more insights into the mortgage market? We have a crystal-clear image of your position and results.