Simplifying the pricing of a service
quitt.ch is an online service company that helps people who hire household staff tackle the often cumbersome administrative paperwork by moving the whole process online.
One of the challenges we dealt with was the question of how to communicate the rather complicated pricing model of the service.
With the recent re-design of the website we were already able to bring some clarity into the pricing model, but it was clear that a more profound change would be needed. The main challenges were:
quitt.ch’s offer is to deal with all the paperwork linked to hiring household helps. Additionally the company is a re-seller of insurance. The service aspect, which explains the higher prices, was not obvious in the initial pricing.
Difficult, bureaucratic language
Even though quitt.ch’s promis is to make the hiring process easier the sign-up process was text-heavy, rich in technical terms and with sometimes contradicting content.
The initial pricing presented itself in three plans. The first plan being a fixed price, the second a variable (based on the salary paid to the household staff) and the third one being a flat rate version of the second. From the technical point of view this pricing made sense, but for the users it was not comprehensible.
How to communicate complex pricing?
In order to tell our potential customers a definite price we had to know some information from them, such as the age of the household help they were going to hire or how much they were going to pay them. Insurance companies deal with the same problem. So I searched for some outstanding solutions in that field.
In the beginning two different concepts were discussed. On the one hand there was the “insurance agent” approach, which would consist of a conversational user interface, that would spit out a price after the user completed all questions. On the other hand there was the “informed decision-maker” concept, where prices would be transparent resulting in a more complex UI and forcing the user to get informed about details in order to be able to take a decision.
I prepared two prototypes to test the concepts. Axure was my tool of choice because it allowed me to prototype the change of output triggered by user input.
I tested the two prototypes with five people in face-to-face and remote usability tests. Against my expectation the “insurance agent” was not appreciated. People felt unsure whether they were really getting the best offer and were missing the possibility to see how their input (e.g. the employee salary) impacted the final price.
With the “informed decision-maker” approach users felt more in control over their purchase. However, it turned out there were more misunderstandings about the contents of the service they just bought.
Based on the tests I decided to continue with a questionnaire solution but add a price display that should update in realtime with the users input.
“I don’t like that I can’t see why the price is going up.”
The final proposal was a simplified questionnaire that would calculate and display the prices in realtime as the user is changing the input. Additionally, in the price-display area the service offers and insurances are clearly separated.