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Always on: how Boundless' daily use of Hotjar powers their user-first approach
Boasting over 100 years in operation, Boundless, the UK's leading membership club for people working in or retired from the civil service or public sector, has proven its prowess for delighting members. Today, Andy Came, Head of Digital Products, ensures it stays that way by making Hotjar an everyday part of the business’s user-first strategy.
Boundless 🤝 Hotjar: a summary
The challenge: too many members were dropping out of the join and renewal journeys
The goal: understand the nuanced ‘why’ behind user behavior to help increase member conversions and proactively shape the future strategy
The solution: the Boundless team used Hotjar Feedback, Surveys, and Recordings to identify high-priority pain points on the platform, attract new members, and continuously monitor user behavior to make user-centric optimizations
The results: after several UX improvements, users rating their membership renewal process as ‘Very easy’ increased from 75% to 83%, and users who rated it ‘Not easy’ fell from 3% to 0%
Founded in 1923, Boundless has been helping its members make the most of their free time for 100 years by providing experiences, member savings, exclusive events, and a variety of free benefits. The business now has over 160,000 members.
Despite its rich legacy, Boundless isn’t exempt from digital-era challenges like evolving user experience (UX) best practices, technological advancements, and new customer demands—all of which underscored a need for change.
The obstacle Andy and his team faced, however, was understanding the ‘why’ behind these challenges. He also wanted a user-centric solution that wasn't only project-based, but offered continuous monitoring of both granular, day-to-day insights and big-picture analysis.
So, Andy turned to Hotjar.
We want to put the user at the center of what we do, and Hotjar is a brilliant way of doing that because it allows you to stay connected to your customers on a daily basis.
Harnessing Feedback to prioritize current user pain points
Andy's first objective was assessing the baseline user experience and identifying which customer pain points were isolated incidents and which represented larger, more pressing issues. To do so, he needed a way to differentiate and prioritize.
As responses poured in, Andy began constructing an overarching view of user behavior patterns and highlighting priority pain points.
For example, feedback revealed that while Boundless’ website offered valuable information, a significant portion of customers found it disorganized and difficult to navigate—a critical quantitative insight that previous analytics tools had missed.
He then reviewed the Hotjar Dashboard to gauge each problem’s significance. As a result, Andy could successfully benchmark the current user experience on the Boundless website, enabling his team to communicate key qualitative and quantitative insights and prioritize the product roadmap.
Regularly observing user behavior gives you massive clues about what's going on with the customer experience, and therefore where to focus your efforts.
Leveraging Surveys to understand—and attract—new customers
Beyond serving the existing customer base, Andy also sought to expand Boundless’ reach by attracting new members. But first, he needed to better understand the motivations and behaviors of this lesser-known audience.
Why they joined
What benefits attracted them to Boundless
How they heard about Boundless
He then shared these insights with stakeholders to sharpen Boundless’ unique value proposition, refine their marketing and content strategies, and introduce new membership incentives.
At the same time, Andy’s team also implemented a ‘Sign-up Ease’ survey on the Boundless platform to detect hidden barriers new customers encountered during the registration process.
For example, raw data indicated high exit rates on the payment page, even after users had taken the time to input their new member details. But the numbers alone didn’t reveal the ‘why’ behind this behavior.
After reviewing survey responses, it became clear that the format of the credit card expiration date input field caused confusion.
The original date input field was set to accept a MM/YYYY format without a dropdown option. Users saw the field and copied the expiry date across from their card. The problem? Most cards use MM/YY format, not MM/YYYY. This resulted in the wrong information being input—a perplexing mismatch that prompted customers to leave the page out of sheer frustration.
Andy’s team adjusted the page design to include a user-friendly drop-down menu for the date input. They then monitored subsequent user behavior and feedback in the Dashboard to verify that the optimization decreased page exits and alleviated user frustration.
The fundamental principle of user-centered design is that if you gather data from users and incorporate your findings into product design, you are more likely to create products that people will like.
Using Recordings and Surveys to boost member retention
After establishing an always-on infrastructure for engaging new users, Andy shifted his focus to customer retention—especially at critical junctions like member renewals.
Survey statistics revealed that a whopping 25% of Boundless users found it challenging to renew their membership. Furthermore, recordings showed frustrated users aimlessly navigating through the platform, getting lost and eventually leaving. The problem? Boundless didn’t have a dedicated landing page for renewals.
Andy’s team prioritized building a renewals page and incorporated user-friendly optimizations derived from recording insights. These optimizations included
Adding a link to the renewals page in the user dashboard
Improving platform search results for the term 'renew'
Renaming the relevant section from ‘Membership Fees’ to ‘Fees and Renewals’
Once the page was live, Andy embedded a survey within the FAQ section to continuously detect any lingering questions about the renewal process.
As a result, 10% more users rated their membership renewal process as ‘Very easy’, and users who found it difficult to renew dropped to 0%.
Boundless implements an always-on survey in their FAQ section to continually enhance the customer journey
Putting customers at the heart of decision-making
Incorporating Hotjar in everyday business operations empowered Andy and the rest of the Boundless team to open an ongoing dialogue with their members, prioritize company goals based on real-time user feedback, and fine-tune their services to meet evolving user needs and preferences.
By putting their users at the center of their decision-making, Boundless does more than merely provide a service—they craft memorable experiences that continuously delight their members.