PAYG Marketing Marketability Ltd HomeServe renewal documents 2

How I wrote renewal documents for HomeServe that generated a 4.15% uplift

Testing is vital.

I was brought as a copywriter in HomeServe's Retention team in 2008.

One of the key retention challenges for the business at that time was their non-continuous customer base (i.e. the customers who didn't pay by Direct Debit). Their renewal rate was significantly lower than the continuous base.

Non-continuous customers were encouraged to renew via a suite of four renewal documents - two sent prior to the renewal date and two after.

If the customer renewed at any point in this cycle the renewal letter journey would end - and the customer would receive a renewal confirmation letter.

The existing letters were mechanical and the content repetitive. They all featured the same basic information:

  • That the policy was due for renewal on X date

  • The features and benefits of the policy (listed as bullet points)

  • A call to action to renew - by telephone or reply slip (to drive them to Direct Debit)

I wanted to infuse the letters with some life and humanity - which I felt was missing.

I also wanted each of the four letters to have a unique identity.

The team gave me a couple of days to work at home to write the documents.


It was invaluable.

When writing the letters - I put myself in our customer's shoes when brainstorming the concepts.

When I have a plumbing or central heating emergency - what was my thought process?

"I need someone reliable - can I trust myself to choose that person from a local directory or Google".

"I need someone fast - I can't sit on this leak or loss of central heating for days".

"How much is the repair going to cost me? I wish I was insured".

With these thoughts and emotions in mind - I went about writing the letters.


Each had a unique focus:

  • Letter one - focussed on the level of service HomeServe offered vs the relative unknown of the 'white van man'. We aimed to be with customers within two hours, we offered guaranteed repair work from approved, reliable engineers and all repair costs were covered by the policy. A fleet of vans were included on the letter to visually represent the robustness of our offering

  • Letter two - focussed on the length of time it took to renew your policy - five minutes - and the number of customers who were unable to make a claim the previous year because they had let their policy lapse. An alarm clock emphasised the time element

  • Letter three - focussed on the cost of repairs without cover. A receipt was included on the letter breaking down the cost of some of the most common repairs which was balanced out against the per day cost of cover at the bottom of the receipt

  • Letter four - focussed on the cost of the policy on a per day basis. Various everyday items were mentioned in the letter to emphasise the value - milk, newspaper and a loaf of bread (which was pictured to draw the reader's attention)

Once written, I worked with the in-house studio to get the letters designed and put through the Legal and Compliance sign off process.

My new letters were then tested against the existing suite head-to-head.

Retention testing takes time to get significant volume through, which was compounded by the over a month long letter cycle we were testing.

But the results were worth the wait.

My letters generated a 4.15% uplift over the existing suite in test - which was worth £1 million.

Letter one was the most significant contributor - generating a 9.82% uplift on the existing letter.

As a marketer - it is important for me to have my ideas validated by a rigorous test and learn process to quantify the impact my words and creative concepts have had.

I recommend testing wherever possible now.

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