Experiment: Proactive messaging to increase renewal rates for permanent resident cards

Research Question:
Does an e-mail reminder increase the likelihood that clients will submit requests to renew Permanent resident cards before they expire?
Project Summary:
In 2019, Permanent Resident (PR) card-related client enquiries accounted for a large portion of calls to the Client Support Center (CSC). Some of these could be considered unnecessary as the enquiry related to 'how-to instructions' already covered on information displayed on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. Can simple proactive notifications be used to increase PR card renewal rates and decrease the number of enquiries to the CSC? We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assign 43,729 clients to one of four groups: 1) Control group - No email reminder, 2) Intervention group 1: call for action email, 3) Intervention group 2: call to action + highlighting the necessity of having a PR card for out of country travel, 4) Intervention group 3: call to action + highlighting the necessity of the PR card for travel and the its advantages over other travel documents that can be used to enter Canada. The results of this trial suggested that an email reminder could increase PR card renewal rates by 8% -10%.
Design Details:
We examined the impact of sending clients email reminders on PR card renewal rates. Recipients included clients whose PR cards would expire within 5 months. We tested three variations of an e-mail reminder against a control group (no email reminder) and the total sample was 43,729 clients.
We randomly assigned 43,729 clients to one of four research groups: Group 1. No e-mail reminder (business-as-usual) Group 2. Call to Action: We tested a short and simple call-to-action. Behavioural insights suggest that people are more likely to act in response to simple and concise messaging that is easy to process and understand. Group 3. Call to Action + necessity of PR card for travel: We tested the basic call-to-action message for Group 2 that also highlihgted that a PR card is needed to enter Canada after foreign travel, and the costs involved if a client does not have a valid PR card for entry into Canada during such travels. Group 4. Call to Action + necessity of PR card for travel + limitations of using an alternate travel document for entry: We used the message from Group 3 and highlighted the limitations associated with using an alternate travel document for entry into Canada if a valid PR card cannot be presented.
We tracked PR card renewal request and the effect of timing of the email (in relation to PR card expiry) on PR card renewal. We also tracked e-mail open and click-through rates for the experimental group through our email management system for descriptive purposes.
Did the e-mail reminder increase the likelihood that clients will submit PR card renewal requests?Yes, the e-mail reminder was effective at increasing PR card renewals (46.1%-47.1%), compared to the control group (43.1%) that did not receive an email reminder. Specifically, it resulted in an 8-10% increase in PR card renewal rate.
Experimentation Area:
Service Delivery
Experiment Status:
Last Updated:
Nov 19, 2020
Local Branch and/or Unit:
Client Experience Branch
Reference No.:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada