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Frameworks for testing the effectiveness of your Consumer Understanding programme

The perception that a firm's content is easy to understand may only be shared by those who created and approved that content, which is frequently centred around the legal, compliance, and other financial services professionals. People who understand the topic much more comprehensively than their customers. So, before knowing how effective our content and communication is, we need to get into the shoes of our target audience.

Effective content needs to be understood by your target audience, not just those involved in their creation.

Businesses should get into the habit of testing their content to determine whether their customers understand communications thoroughly enough to act in their best interests and make wise decisions.

Continuous measurement of performance is key to an effective content programme

When working with Personalised Video and other Video Content, we look at metrics such as view through rates (i.e. how much of a video has been watched), click through rates (i.e. what proportion of people have taken action off the back of the video), and wider metrics collected using devices such as post-view surveys.

How to approach testing

Depending on their size, resources, and operations, different firms will have varying capacities. They will therefore approach testing differently. According to the guidelines outlined above, test companies should use testing capabilities of an equivalent standard to test other facets of consumer understanding when they conduct consumer testing of communications to determine an effective strategy to maximise sales. This will help to ensure positive consumer outcomes.

Firms must test communications as necessary in order to comply with the standards governing this result.

Firms should evaluate a number of aspects before deciding if testing is necessary, including:

  • What is the purpose of the communication, in particular whether it contains important information intended to drive an action or inform a choice, and the relative importance of that decision.

  • The context, timing, and frequency of the communication (for example, it is likely to be more appropriate to test communications that could impact many customers)

  • The scope for harm if the information being conveyed were misunderstood or ignored by customers; the information needs and vulnerabilities of the intended recipients, including whether the recipients are likely to include a sizeable number of people with low financial capability who may be less likely to understand the communication; and whether it is more crucial to communicate information urgently to support positive outcomes rather than carrying out test.

Ideally, testing should be done before sharing the material with clients. For instance, when businesses are thinking about sending out an email campaign or a personalised video campaign, the messaging can be tested on a smaller cohort of customer audiences. However, there may be circumstances in which businesses must respond quickly to incidents and hence weigh factors related to testing - including the elapsed time - with the requirement to act quickly to safeguard customers from harm.

When appropriate, the degree of customer understanding could be directly assessed through the use of multivariate or A/B tests.

A company's testing strategy will be a reflection of its resources and capabilities.

All companies should be able to show they have a strategy that produces positive results. As a result, businesses should be able to prevent harming customers in the future and customers should feel more confidence that they can choose products and services based on their understanding of them and their ability to suit their needs.

Keep testing, keep learning

By applying a test-and-learn approach, businesses are able to learn from the results and modify communications to increase consumer comprehension and encourage positive outcomes by testing important interactions with customers.

Businesses should implement continuous improvement procedures based on solid proof of client comprehension. Firms should be aware of differences in the content of communications, products, and intended receivers and not rely on this strategy because the lessons learned from testing one message may be helpful in guiding the approach to take for future comparable communications.

Businesses should take the necessary action if testing or monitoring of communications reveals widespread misunderstanding or problems that indicate the communications are not producing desirable results. Adapting communications, for instance, to make them simpler for the intended audience to understand.

A company may think about taking additional action, such as changing the sales process or simplifying the product if a communication regarding a complex product is frequently misinterpreted and cannot readily be modified to promote customer understanding.

The following sorts of data could be used by businesses to assess if they are reaching this outcome's expectations:

  • Any results of testing their communications

  • The percentage of customers that respond to communications that elicit action

  • A more thorough examination of whether clients are adhering to

  • communications

  • Analysis of customer journey responses to communications, including feedback and drop-off rates at each stage

  • Product adoption rates.

  • Product substitution indices

  • Study of refused claims and claim rates

  • Specific complaint information

Actions and next steps

To ensure effective communication and positive customer outcomes, test the effectiveness of your content as needed, using multivariate or A/B testing, implementing continuous improvement procedures, and taking appropriate action if testing reveals problems.

  1. Conduct tests with the target audience to ensure they understand and can act in their best interests.

  2. Assess the content's purpose, context, timing, and frequency to determine where testing is required.

  3. Use multivariate or A/B testing to directly assess customer comprehension and areas for improvement.

  4. Implement processes for continuous improvement based on customer understanding.

  5. Take appropriate action if testing reveals widespread misunderstanding or communication issues.


And here’s a handy checklist of issues to look out for during the testing process:

  • Is there a widespread misunderstanding or recurring confusion as a result of the content simply not being clear enough?

  • Is there a risk that customers will suffer negative consequences as a result of their inability to understand and act in their best interests based on the content?

  • Can customers be harmed as a result of misinterpreting or ignoring important information conveyed in the communication?

  • Is there a risk that customers will lack clarity in their ability to confidently choose products and services based on their understanding and suitability for their needs?

  • Are you relying on a single testing strategy for all communications, products, and intended recipients, without taking into account content differences?

  • Are you able to react quickly enough to adapt your communications or take the necessary actions when testing reveals problems?

And finally – keep testing...

Check all communication materials to make sure that they make sense and update anything that might be unclear or confusing:

  • Test all communications: You should put all communication materials through testing to make sure they're efficient at getting the point across to customers.

  • Use a variety of testing techniques: Use a number of different testing techniques to guarantee that all communication materials are successful for a range of products, services, and target audiences.

  • Use consumer feedback: To find any points of confusion or misunderstanding and make the required modifications, make sure you keep asking for customer feedback on your communication materials.

  • Offer further resources: To help customers understand and act in their best interests, offer extra resources like FAQs, Explainer Videos or customer service assistance.

  • Review and revise communication materials regularly: To keep them accurate and current, communication materials should be reviewed and updated frequently.

  • Improve response time: Keep strengthening your capacity to rapidly improve messaging and take immediate, appropriate action when testing reveals issues.

Ultimately the Consumer Duty is there for a good reason, and if you stay true to your mission in giving customers the best experience and equip them with all the information they need to make the right decision, then everyone wins.

Get in touch with a content specialist for help building an effective personalised video explainer programme:

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