Where we were
When I joined in 2017 we were ten people working on a couple of desks in Haggerston. We’d just received some funding, and our aim over the next two years was to become the largest will writer in the UK and grow 10x.
This ambitious goal meant we needed to redesign our will writing experience to both broaden who we can write a will for, and increase the proportion of people who finish writing their will.
Getting to know our customers
I started by getting to know our customers and will writing inside out. I trained as a will specialist, so I could both check wills and take shifts on our customer support line. I complimented that with in-depth interviews with both customers and people who were considering getting a will. Finally, we also held regular sessions (colloquially referred to as Will Wednesdays), where customers were invited to finish their will in our office, with our help.
We saw that there were three major problems to solve:
- People lost motivation before they’d even signed up
- People were confused by the post-purchase experience
- Couples were confused about how to write a will together
Let’s walk through how we tackled each one of these.
Making our onboarding more motivational
We saw in our analytics that only 40% of people who started our onboarding actually signed up. Helping more people get started writing their will felt like a massive opportunity.
Through watching people going through the flow, we came up with a working hypothesis: Whilst our onboarding flow was functional and easy to use, it wasn’t meeting people’s emotional needs. When they were hit with the sign-up page, they still had lots of questions about what getting a will would mean for them and their family.
Using this insight we created a prototype that asked more questions about people's unique situation, such as their children, partner and house. Through this we could offer bespoke information about how Farewill can help in their particular situation - whether that’s choosing guardians for children or passing on their home.
We also know that some parts of the process are a pleasant surprise. For example, many people don’t know that you can write down your funeral wishes.
I worked with Ethan (a writer), to create a list of three points for each unique situation. These are designed to be not only reassuring, but also reveal something unexpected.
We show people this list, demonstrating that we understand their situation, just before asking for their details. This gives people the reassurance that a will is worth doing, and a little energy boost before the hard work begins.
As well as these broader changes to meet people’s emotional needs, we tightened up the flow on mobile and simplified each question and answer as far as possible - splitting inputs out onto their own pages. Despite the new flow being much longer we saw our conversion rate double. This proved our hypothesis that by meeting people’s emotional needs they’d be more likely to get started.
A clearer post-purchase experience
Once we’d made the improvements to our onboarding flow, we dedicated effort to finding out why people start but don’t finish their will.
We emailed people who’d finished their will but hadn’t sent it for checking, offering a chat to help them finish. So much useful insight came out of these conversations, but one conversation in particular sticks with me. It was with a customer living with a terminal cancer diagnosis. We found out that they were reluctant to send their will for checking because it felt like a sort of finality, which to them was like admitting defeat.
Whilst this isn’t a situation most of our customers are in, we realised that the lack of certainty about what happens next could be stopping others from finishing their will too.
In fact, with Farewill you can update your will and get it checked at any time after purchase. So there’s no reason to put off sending your first draft for checking. Another misconception we encountered was that Farewill was a ‘digital’ will. All wills in the UK must be printed and signed with a pen to be legal.
To remedy this confusion and misconceptions we redesigned our overview page, the first thing you see when you log back in. Rather than just pushing people to the next step, we wanted to give people a much clearer overview of the whole process, start to finish.
I sketched out some initial ideas, which then went through a few iterations with the help of the rest of the product team.
To give us confidence to roll the redesign out I wrote a research plan, and tested out a low-fi prototype with some potential users. Off the back of this we tweaked some of the content for clarity. After A/B testing the page to positive results we rolled it out to 100% of users.
A better way for couples to get their wills done
Finally, we found out that most couples think of a ‘couples will’ as a single document. However, the law says that every person must have their own will. Some solicitors will push couples to write ‘mirror’ wills, but we felt it was important to allow each person to customise every part of their own will.
Our existing will writing product only allowed people to refer their partner using our generic referral scheme, leaving couples confused. We realised we needed to bridge the gap between people’s mental model of a single ‘couples’ will, and the benefits of each person having their own Farewill account.
To start, we mapped out the existing couple’s journey by interviewing couple’s who’d recently written a will with us.
Through this research we discovered that there’s often an instigator in the relationship. Usually this person will do all the research about how to write a will before inviting their partner. We realised we needed to let people add their partner at any point in the journey, rather than forcing them to do it at the beginning.
This was one of the things that went through a few iterations before we got it just right. At first we tried to explain too much about the process up front. Our next version simplified the couples step in onboarding and made it much easier to defer the decision till later.
We also discovered that whilst many couples write bits of their will separately (particularly the more personal parts like gifts and funeral wishes) most couples finished their wills together - often sitting down with their joint bank card to pay for both wills at once. So we redesigned our payment process to allow whoever finishes writing their will first to pay for both wills.
Finally, we found out that many couples write their wills on a shared household device, often a desktop PC. We heard that it was sometimes confusing to know whose account you were logged into. To address this, we added the account holder’s name into our main navigation.
Where we are now
2 years later, we’ve met our ambitious target to become the UKs biggest will writer, and won National will writer of the year for 2 years running. We’ve also got an industry beating NPS of 86 and thousands of 5 star reviews on Trustpilot.
We’ve built out our wills product to offer a phone service, and a Lasting Power of Attorney service too. Mostly I’m proud to have been part of a team that’s made planning for your own death a little bit easier for thousands of people in the UK.