April 2010

Exeter Family Friendly: What should a website do?

Is it just a digital version of your corporate brochure, or a point of sale application? Or does it try to actively engage with your customers and prospective customers?

Many companies in the financial services industry have been slow to react to change. Let alone drive it. If Apple worked as slowly as they do, the ipod, iphone and ipad would all still be in the future.

So should we accept that what works, or has worked before, will never change until it doesn’t work anymore? Or should we go forward and embrace the technology that allows us to explore new ways of communicating with our customers (or, for us, as all mutual insurers, with our members).

In our case we definitely want to break down the traditional barriers to forge ahead and have been actively doing so since merging with Pioneer in 2008. We have strived to develop our products and services - a programme of change that includes improvements and tweaks to existing products and also a much more fundamental and radical change to the nature, look, and feel of our new products, alongside how they are communicated and presented - products that send out a clear image about the company we want to be.

The culmination of a lot of hard development work has been the launch of our new consumer facing brand Exeter Family Friendly and its new website But this new venture is about much more than just a flashy new website. The major themes are covered both in words and images below – but there really is only one way to discover what it is about, go online and see for yourself.

Engaging interface

Apple would never release a product without an interface that works and engages their customers, nor did we – we literally based the website in the kitchen, the hub of every family home.


No more paper

It’s a chore opening the post from insurers, it either goes straight in the bin or gets filed somewhere. So we deliver all of our policy documentation, correspondence and communication online in a secure and user friendly “safe”. Most people bank online, so why can’t they do their insurance online too?

Quick and easy

Buying protection insurance has and often is still a painful and slow experience. With this in mind, speed and ease of application is crucial. With Exeter Family, you can apply online and answer just 6 questions. If there are no problems with medical and personal history, we will offer you cover there and then.

It doesn’t end with product

Insurers seem to think their work is done when the customer buys, but really this is the point when the work begins. This is where we have the opportunity to forge a lasting relationship with our customers. How do we do this? Simply, by offering much more than just a product, but by offering other member benefits and services and communications that make them feel that they are valued and they belong with us.

As insurers and financial services providers we have so much more to do to get close enough to our customers. Exeter Family is at the start of a new phase of our journey. The key lesson for us all, in this digital age, is that change never stops and nor do customers – stand still and we will lose them.

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