Skip to main content

Consumer Duty: How to test the Customer Understanding outcome

Firms having products and services falling within the scope of the Consumer Duty have a specific obligation to take steps to ensure customers actually understand the products and services they are buying. This obligation essentially takes compliance beyond the previous ‘clear, fair and not misleading’ approach to communications in that it requires firms to evidence the steps they have taken to ensure understanding.

Very recently (February 2024) the FCA issued guidance on the implementation of the Consumer Duty, with a particular focus on good practice, stating that it had seen ‘firms…develop ways to test understanding such as surveys, experiments and interviews’.

This is important because under the Customer Understanding objective, the biggest challenge facing firms is to how to demonstrate that customers actually understand the key elements of regulated products and services.

How to test and evidence the Customer Understanding outcome

In conjunction with Thinks Insight & Strategy, a leading behavioural insight agency whose work is specifically referenced in the Consumer Duty, we have developed a unique product that enables firms to gather objective and rigorous evidence of customer understanding.

Within just eight weeks of instruction, we will provide your firm with robust empirical evidence of customer understanding, together with documents that have been maximised for customer understanding whilst maintaining compliance with your regulatory obligations.

We will do this by following three simple phases:

  1. Establish - We work closely with you to establish and agree the key documents for review and, within those documents, what are the key outcome measures for testing. This is an important part of the process to establish the key items of information that are most likely to result in foreseeable customer harm if they are not understood (known as the outcome measures).
  2. Optimise - We will optimise the selected documents using established behavioural science techniques combined with our in depth experience of drafting regulated communications, with a specific focus on ensuring the outcome measures are as clear as possible
  3. Evidence - The documents (both the existing and optimised version) will be tested using a randomised control trial involving 1,000 participants (500 for each document), which will establish the level of functional understanding of the documents and provide objective evidence of any improvement.

How to improve communications following Customer Understanding outcome testing

At the end of testing you will receive a report identifying the improvements in the understanding of the outcome measures, together with details of the steps that were taken to achieve those changes. These outputs are specifically designed to be:

  • Actionable: the specific recommendations we will provide can usually be applied to a range of documents across your business.
  • Rigorous: all recommendations are based on randomised control trials (RCTs) using a large sample size, which is the method used in much of the research referred to in the Consumer Duty. RCTs provide robust statistical based evidence, which gives you confidence that the results will withstand scrutiny. 
  • Repeatable: the process is quick, simple and repeatable. Testing can establish a baseline against which future tests (against the same or other documents) can be assessed, including as part of an ongoing continuous improvement process.
  • Transparent pricing: no hidden costs or downside surprises. The all inclusive Consumer Duty project price starts from £30,000.

How we have helped clients with their Customer Understanding outcome

We undertook analysis and testing of a large retail insurer’s personal lines and SME renewal packs. Testing over 2,000 participants established significant improvements in terms of customer understanding including, very importantly, their ability to:

  • correctly understand the increase in their policy premium.
  • identify how to contact their insurer with queries or if they needed to make a claim.

Contact us

For further information and to purchase our unique customer testing solution, contact Tim Johnson on the details below.