Turn a script into a conversation

Re-thinking mortgage applications


If you want to buy a house, you’ll probably want to speak to a mortgage advisor first. Did your heart just sink a little? Because speaking to a mortgage advisor can be a slow, difficult, and emotionally draining thing to do.

One of the UK’s largest mortgage providers realised that. And came to us for a rethink.

A process that’s better for customers, advisors, everyone. Offering better advice, more transparently, and twice as fast.


Service design
Visual design
Product design
Organisational design

Trial and error

We started with a fresh perspective – and weren’t afraid to experiment. That’s how we found new insights, and a better experience for customers.

Happy customers,
happy business

We made the process 2x faster. That made for satisfied customers and advisors, and boosted revenue for the business.

Autonomy for advisors

Advisors are no longer stifled by process. They can make the most of their instincts and experience – safe within a framework that covers regulation and law.

Flexible, yet focused

How did we get there? We began by learning everything we could about the existing process. We watched applications. We sat down with staff and prospective buyers to find out what worried them, and what they really needed.

Where's the opportunity?

Taking that research, we mapped out the entire journey – the business processes, regulation requirements, and our customers' thoughts and feelings at every step. We used this to look for potential improvements and shape a strategy.

As we analysed more deeply, we quickly realised a key issue: how rigid the whole thing felt. Advisors couldn’t deviate from the journey or answer any questions outside their script. So customers didn’t get the best experience.

How could we offer advisors that flexibility, but still keep to a structure required by law?

By thinking of the application less like a process, and more like a conversation.

“Flexibility was crucial, and became one of the driving principles behind the project.”

Anna Belz, AL Project Lead

The best way to understand customer conversations? To have them. So we put ourselves in the hot seat. We brought in advisors and role played those conversations again and again – making improvements, testing out those improvements, continually refining the process.

And we created a prototype: an intuitive application for advisors that wrapped up the whole mortgage application process as a simple, clear, and adaptable conversation.

Prototyping for the real world

It’s vital to test any change in the real world. But that comes with a whole set of problems. Our tests still had to meet regulatory requirements. And they couldn’t disrupt the existing system – the most profitable part of the business. And one of its most significant too, supporting customers as they made huge, critical decisions.

So we worked with the client to run prototypes in live situations, with no system changes and minimal disruption.

Prototype to pilot to production

Running a pilot taught us a lot about what worked (and what didn’t). Take, for example, our lo-fi paper prototype – a temporary thing, we figured. But some advisors loved it so much we’re now launching a paper prompt alongside the new, digital interface.

Next steps

If this new service has any chance of surviving, we need to teach people to use it.

So now, we’re creating a training programme for 10,000 people – across the whole organisation.

In short, we’re re-inventing our client’s mortgage business from the inside out.


Twice as fast

The process used to take over 3 hours. It’s now less than half that. So advisors can help more people in less time.

Smooth and steady

Before, there had to be an 
enforced break – customer steps away, advisor spends 20 minutes choosing the right product, customer steps back in. Not any more.

Better quality

Now, advisors can go into detail where they need to, and skip less relevant sections. So applications are now more detailed – and better tailored to their customers’ lifestyles.

Fewer credit checks

Before, you couldn’t talk specifics without a credit check. Now, customers can 
get relevant information without the hassle or side-effects of unnecessary credit checks.

Advice in plain English

Advisors are empowered to give clear advice. Customers leave knowing exactly what they can borrow, and on what terms.

Autonomy for advisors

Advisors are no longer stifled by process. They can make the most of their instincts and experience – safe within a framework that covers regulation and law.

Let's create something amazing.