Wholly owned subsidiary of ICICI Bank and part of 65-year old ICICI Group
Increased traffic with revamped website
Better engage with customers in tier-two and tier-three cities in India through digital
Enhance and simplify the home search process for customers
Gain visibility into how customers are interacting with the business online
Increased website traffic with revamped website delivered in six languages
Delivered platform for housing marketplace with search and compare feature to help make the right choice
Improved fixed deposit loan application journey, resulting in decrease in drop-offs
ICICI Home Finance Company (ICICI HFC) wants to make it easier for millions of people in India’s smaller cities to buy a home. Many people who live in what is categorised as tier-two and tier-three cities are shop owners, which makes it difficult for banks to underwrite their loan application and in turn makes it more challenging for them to obtain a secured home loan.
As Head - Marketing & Digital for ICICI HFC, Sandeep Gambhir was tasked with building a digital platform to give people in tier-two and tier three cities greater access to home loans and also make it easier for residents in India’s top seven cities to find properties. While the company had an existing website, customers primarily interacted with ICICI HFC by going into branch offices. To better serve customers across areas and increase use of its website, the company wanted to enhance digital experiences.
“A critical piece of the website rebuild was better support for searching housing projects,” says Sandeep. “We also needed to reach communities in their local languages, since many people do not read or speak English. In addition, it was also important to be able to convert text into video and voice formats so people could more easily understand our offerings.”
ICICI HFC engaged with DWAO, an agency specialised in Adobe applications, to develop and deliver a new website built on Adobe Experience Manager, along with analytics and personalisation capabilities powered by Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target.
“We set out to quickly roll-out the new ICICI HFC website,” says Ketav Sharma, CEO of DWAO. “By leveraging reusable components in Adobe Experience Manager, we accelerated creating a responsive, easy-to-navigate website in six languages in just weeks.”
Equally important, DWAO was tasked with improving access to information on thousands of housing projects from builders and real estate agents across the country. With the previous version of the website, builders provided project details to ICICI HFC via a spreadsheet, which would be manually entered into the database by the company’s sales team. This resulted in delays and outdated information, particularly if a project was sold out or prices changed.
Through a series of brainstorming sessions, DWAO helped map out a solution to streamline the flow of information between builders and customers. By deploying Adobe Experience Manager, the website now supports a seamless workflow to give customers up to date information as they search for a home. Builders access a portal where they can directly enter all of their project details. A moderator on the ICICI HFC team does a quick verification and then pushes the information live.
“Our builder partners feel empowered and with the ability to quickly update information, they are assured that their project details are correct and current on our website,” says Gambhir. “Our customers also trust that their search results are reliable and they’re more confident in their decision to work with us. The result is a pioneering marketplace for housing projects across the top 7 cities.”
Head - Marketing & Digital, ICICI Home Finance Company
Shortly after the website went live, the global pandemic hit. India issued a nationwide lockdown in March 2020 and all of the ICICI HFC branches were forced to close. At the same time, the Reserve Bank of India issued a moratorium (also known as “morat”) to allow lenders to give their borrowers a three-month hiatus from paying loan instalment, providing borrowers with some financial relief during the pandemic.
Because the branches and call centres were closed, the website became the primary channel for customers to place morat requests. “Had the website not gone live in March, we would have struggled to handle these requests,” says Gambhir. “The website immediately became a critical digital channel and as customers used the website more, we started to see a significant behaviour change. This had a huge impact on our business.”
With the housing market experiencing volatility due to COVID-19, customers were turning to other avenues to invest their money, such as fixed deposits. Historically, this had been a primarily physical process requiring customers to come into branches to open accounts, but ICICI HFC had been planning to take the process online. Working with DWAO, the company accelerated its timeline for fixed deposits and it became the first major product deployed end-to-end on the website.
DWAO also was instrumental in moving another in-person based product online - the gold loan. To obtain this unsecured loan, customers are required to carry their gold into a branch for evaluation; however, this service was not promoted online. DWAO helped ICICI HFC quickly shift to a digital service where customers are now aware of this option to help manage short-term cash needs.
Says Gambhir, “Gold loans suddenly became very popular online, which surprised us because it used to be a totally physical process. By moving more services online, we were able to guide our customers for their gold loan needs much faster and more easily.”
Head - Marketing & Digital, ICICI Home Finance Company
While the website provides ICICI HFC new opportunities to reach customers, Adobe Analytics gives the company more visibility into what their customers do online and areas where digital experiences can be improved.
For example, DWAO examined the fixed deposit customer journey and found a significant number of drop-offs on the first page. One of the key decision factors in choosing a fixed deposit is the interest rate, which was not on the application form at the start of the journey. The team found that customers would drop off the application form, go back to the website to look at the interest rate and then might or might not go back to the application form. DWAO suggested moving the interest rate to the application form, improving the journey and reducing drop-offs.
When it comes to the benefits that ICICI HFC has seen since moving to Adobe, Gambhir says, “It may sound cliché but there is no better description - Adobe brings agility. Whether it’s onboarding a new builder to our search database, adding a new product, creating and measuring new experiences or having the right set of analytics and insights to make changes on the fly - Adobe offers speed and responsiveness so we can give our customers great digital experiences.”
Looking ahead, ICICI HFC will continue to work with DWAO to improve the customer journey, adding personalisation to reach more customers who dream of owning a home.