Green Flag

Improving retention through implementation of new renewals process

My brief:

As Direct Mail and Retention Manager at Green Flag, I was tasked with improving renewal rates across all files as they had been gradually declining overtime with increased competition.

Whilst this project was from a while ago – the lessons learned are still valid today, but with greater flexibility and channel options. I have recently developed and implemented a renewals process for Digital Protect for their first year renewals which is already showing a marked uplift in response.

"To improve most renewals processes and retention rates, it just takes a bit of common sense. Make it easier for the customer to renew, put yourself in the customers shoes and don't take it for granted that once you acquired the customer that they will automatically become loyal!"

Tim Barber


– Lightfish

My Approach:

There were 4 key elements to my approach:

To look at the existing renewals process and review what was sent out and when. Then to test messaging, timings and creative to find the optimum renewals cycle.

To investigate implementing an element of mid term engagement to remind customers of plan benefits and create loyalty to the brand (it’s too much just to assume people will automatically renew).

To incentivise customers to switch to direct debit or continuous payment – where we knew renewal rates were significantly higher.

To look at lapsers, research and log their reasons for lapsing and consider developing a process to re-activate them at a future date.

Making it happen:

Renewal invitations, reminders, final notice, telemarketing calls and back stop mailings – were tested at different timescales.

Creative was developed where rather than having to complete an application form again to renew (from pre my days!) – where we sent laser personalized packs where Policy Documents were sent out and the customer just had to tick one box, sign and send payment or phone, or go online to renew.

A series of mid term, on and offline communications were tested such as Winter Motoring preparation tips, benefits reminders or affinity deals/offers. Tests again proved this engagement activity more than paid for itself.

Discount offers were sent out via a range of channels and piggybacked onto communications to encourage switching to Direct Debit, again this proved successful.

Lapsed customers were asked to complete a form or called and reasons for lapsing logged. Key reasons for lapsing were Too expensive – so we cold make a discounted offer, Free breakdown cover with a new car – where we could log to contact them again 2 months prior to their free cover expiring, Bad service experience – where we had the chance of turning a positive into a negative and  Car temporarily off road – where we could log estimated time and contact again at a later date.

The Results:

Increased renewal rates across all files – which had a massive effect on company profitability

"It was frustrating that with renewal testing that results can often take up to 12 months to mature, but after perservering I believe this project was a great example of what direct marketing is about. The results spoke for themselves and this common sense approach to renewals reaped great rewards for the business.”

Tim Barber


– Lightfish