Moving home really teaches you lessons about bad UX

By Mark Hollander on Friday, 19 March 2021

I moved home a month ago. Overall pretty painless, despite Covid.

The bain of my life, changing address on bank accounts, credit cards etc was now much easier UX-wise than 5 years ago when I last moved. But there were some joyous exceptions.

Contents insurance was the assassin in the woodpile. Easy you’d think. It started well. I spent 30 minutes online on an aggregator keying in lots of understandable detail – and plumped for a household name insurer. And while I’d listed my few family baubles on the online form, I went for one with an easy-to-buy £total value ‘ceiling’. Happy with my choice, I pushed the Pay Now button.

The gates of purgatory now creaked open for me. I was asked to call their 0800 number (I imagined, to pay in person). Oh no. The nice English brand now connected me with Colin in Nova Scotia. Colin definitely didn’t want my bank details yet. Trained in person by Torquemada of the Spanish inquisition, 65 minutes of misery ensued. Although he had my fully completed online form in front of him, I had to broadly start again. Now providing detail about the precise retail value of items bought 15 years ago, details about my home’s construction I doubt the architect would have known … and on and on. Colin also needed me to calculate for him the precise value of everything I own using his room by room calculator (what’s the value of an 8 year old sofa? Or a watch you were given 20 years ago?). Colin genuinely refused to complete the policy without a scientifically derived figure from me.

The call was completed 65 minutes later, my frustration levels so high sharp objects and pets were removed from my reach. And while I gnawed on a chair leg, I wondered… Why ask for that level of detail on the online form, when it was effectively unused in overall information-gathering? Are companies genuinely happy in 2021 (or even 2001) with a 65 minute human experience on an advice-free purchase? Are some companies not mapping customer experience across single – or multi-channel touchpoints?

No wonder our UX team is so busy.

You’ll be pleased to hear my car and buildings were effortless, despite having both an online and human element.

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