Results from the latest CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking report showed a significant rise in member loyalty over a six-month period.

The report, comprising surveys of 7,202 individual fund members from more than 100 Superannuation funds conducted in July and August 2023, found that Intention to Switch improved from 25% in February and March 2023 to 18% overall (down seven points). Intention to switch was at 23% in both the February/March and July/August 2022 reports.

“The tide has finally turned with loyalty at its strongest in three years,” said CSBA CX Director of Finance, Sam Monteath, explaining that improved financial performance was a key factor.

“Those at the highest risk of switching, referring to members who gave a rating of 9 and 10 out of 10, fell from 9% to just 5% – the lowest level we’ve seen since 2018,” she said.

In terms of demographics, Intention to Switch fell across all member segments, although members with a Default Investment Mix improved the most – falling 14 points from 31% to 17%. Shorter tenure members (in their funds for less than five years) fell 10 points from 32% to 22%, and younger members (aged below 55 years) fell nine points from 32% to 23%.

“Outside of performance and returns, Trust (26%) and Competitive Fees and Charges (23%) were the single most important factors driving loyalty, with both factors at their highest levels in the four years since measurement started,” said Monteath.

Underestimate the middle-aged segment at your peril

Overall results were on an upward trend in the last six months, with Overall Satisfaction moving from 7.7 to 7.9; Ease of Dealing from 8.0 to 8.1; and NPS from +15 to +17.

However, those aged 45 to 54 years, approaching retirement, remained the weakest when it came to Member sentiment, rating lowest on almost every Customer Experience (CX) metric and attribute. Namely:

  • Overall Satisfaction at 7.4 (compared to 7.9 overall)
  • NPS +4 (compared to +17 overall)
  • Feel Valued 6.9 (compared to 7.3 overall)
  • Retirement Empowerment 64% (compared to 71% overall)
  • Retirement Confidence is 6.1 (compared to 6.5 overall).

Monteath said there was a large untapped opportunity for funds to sharpen their focus on members who were approaching retirement.

“The Retirement Income Strategy is an obvious starting point,” said Monteath. “However, the critical question that trustees must ask themselves is: how much do I know and understand the members in this segment?”

A recent review by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that 12 out of 15 trustees acknowledged gaps in critical member data and only four had concrete plans to address these data gaps.

“The effectiveness of any program will depend on the depth of your understanding of the behaviour and attitudes of your members,” she said. “Good engagement can only be built on a sound knowledge base.”

Quality of service attributes get the lowest scores 

‘Making me feel like a valued member’; ‘They proactively help me understand everything I need to know about my super’; and ‘When I contact the fund, they go the extra mile’ scored the lowest among all measured attributes at 7.3, 7.3 and 7.4 out of 10 respectively.

Putting the results into context, Monteath explained they were weaker than financial attributes which usually scored the lowest.

“Comments from members who regarded their fund highly on going the extra mile cited clear service-related themes such as personalised service, knowledgeable staff, and efficient response times,” she said.

Meet members where they’re at

As Monteath explains, the CSBA FEAL report has clearly shown a gap in engaging with at-risk segments including those nearing retirement. Similarly, the APRA ASIC report found that most trustees in their study had not conducted an in-depth analysis of their members’ income needs in retirement; not used any metrics to track effectiveness; and not integrated retirement strategies into overall strategic and business plans.

“Now’s the time for funds to act. They need to dig deep using independent qualitative research. This will allow them to understand the attitudes of all their member cohorts, to deliver exceptional experiences that add value and support,” said Monteath.

“The Retirement Income Strategy is a huge opportunity for purposeful engagement with those in or nearing retirement. Schedule information sessions; offer personalised attention; give them access to subject matter experts – meet them where they are.”

For more information on the CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking program, email


About CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking

The program began in 2009 as an initiative between CSBA, FEAL, and Melbourne Business School, to provide fund executives with comparative scores for key customer experience measures using a robust and consistent methodology on a regular basis. The latest six-monthly study, conducted in July and August 2023, comprised feedback from members of more than 100 Superannuation funds and employers of four Superannuation funds. A total of 7,202 individual members and 500 employers were surveyed.

About CSBA – The Customer Experience Experts

For more than two decades, CSBA has helped organisations of all shapes and sizes create better customer experiences through independent, specialised CX strategy, research, insights, quality assurance, and training.

CSBA now works with more than 150 clients across 15 different industries, including specialised programs for higher education, local government, superannuation, energy, and water sectors.

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