Financial wellness: The top 5 strategies to improve member engagement


Steve Freeborn

Outstanding customer experience aided by financial wellness programmes are playing a crucial part in ensuring Super funds generate deep and meaningful member engagement. This engagement is key to retention and growth. But what does it look like, and how do you get there?

From conversations with Shannon O’Shea, partner and head of member and corporate services at smartMonday by Aon, and Steve Freeborn, head of Super at Rice Warner, SS&C identified five key strategies for putting customer experience front and center of a Super fund’s strategy.

1. Leverage data, analytics and modeling to understand customer wants and needs

Member engagement is essentially members interacting or taking action within their account, small changes that are right for them, add up over a member’s working life. The first piece of financial wellbeing is ‘awareness’ – know what you’ve got, the second piece is – are you happy with it, is it enough, is it right for you. The right investment option, insurance premiums, voluntary contributions and consolidation of lost Super, all add up over the long-term. Which is why it’s important for a fund to understand member behaviour through data and analytics – to make ‘taking action’ easy.

Put customer data at the fingertips of service representatives and make sure that the right information makes its way to the right members, at the right time.

Gather data on social and economic trends that have an impact on members’ saving, spending and retirement planning habits. People want to know how they’re doing compared to their peers.

Survey, survey, survey: conduct satisfactions surveys, exit surveys, interactions surveys – take the pulse of members at every opportunity. Customers are happy to tell you what they think if you ask them.

Listen and pay attention to their answers – better yet, act on them.

2. Partner with a customer experience expert

Team up with an outside researcher or analyst that can provide objective guidance on best customer experience practices – the “why” and “how” to best target a Super fund’s efforts.

Apply research to get everyone in the organisation on board and embed customer-centric thinking in a Super fund’s culture.

Consider hiring a customer experience manager from outside the Super industry – someone who can bring the customer experience perspective to every activity.

3. Build trust by being authentic

Trust is at the heart of the customer experience. Do what you say. Follow through.

Demonstrate competence. Deliver with speed, efficiency and accuracy.

Be transparent. Make it easy for members to see what you’re doing on their behalf and how it benefits them.

Be consistent with your brand promise across all touchpoints to reinforce trust and loyalty.

4. Provide easy and appealing digital self-service tools

Customer expectations are rising. Companies that excel at customer experience have raised the bar for everyone else.

Empower members to engage when and how it suits them.

Deliver engaging, relevant and personalised interactive experiences via digital channels.

The strongest connections are emotional. Members want to feel valued, understood and confident. Design experiences that elicit an emotional response.

5. Engage with your community and align with causes customers care about

People want the companies they do business with to be responsible citizens. Is the fund giving back to the wider community and making a positive environmental contribution?

Apply customer data to learn what they care about and what will motivate them.

Let members know what you stand for. Prove it through your actions.

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