Results from the latest CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking report showed no improvement in customer experience in the previous 12 months, after suffering a large decline last year.
In February 2022, Net Promoter Score (NPS) for All Funds dropped 11 points (+26 to +15) from July 2021. Overall Satisfaction fell from 8.1 to 7.7; Ease of Dealing fell from 8.3 to 8.0; And the Likelihood to Switch funds rose from 17% to 23%.
Twelve months later, the February 2023 CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking report, comprising surveys of 4,667 individual fund members from 66 Superannuation funds conducted in February and March 2023, found no increase in satisfaction scores.
In fact, CSBA CX Director of Finance, Sam Monteath warned there was an emerging negative shift in sentiment which was concerning.
“Not only have average scores flatlined, but we also see a shift in the distribution of scores over time. Fewer members are rating Satisfaction and Ease highly (scores of 9 and 10), offset by more members giving lower ratings (scores of 0 to 6),” she said.
Intention to switch funds remained high
The report found that 25% of members with recent fund contact were at high risk of switching funds, compared to 23% in the same period last year.
The key reasons for Switching were Poor returns, High fees, Lack of transparency, Difficult processes, and Poor customer service.
Younger members aged less than 55 years, members in their fund for less than five years, and those in a Default investment mix were at the highest risk of switching.
The importance of Trust
Trust remained a key factor in driving ratings for Overall Satisfaction and NPS.
Recent Contact members rated ‘Trust’ as the single most important factor, excluding returns, that would encourage them to stay with their fund long-term, and the most apt descriptor of their fund.
Funds that proactively reached out to members were found to experience smaller or no declines in performance measures. Moreover, funds that displayed transparency around fees, investment options and communications rated well in terms of trust.
Retirement empowerment remained weak
For retirement empowerment, 31% of members with Recent Contact disagreed that their fund “empowers me to plan and prepare for my retirement” – unchanged from February 2022.
The 35-44-year-old cohort was again the weakest link, with 34% disagreeing that the fund empowers them to plan and prepare for retirement. Disagreement was also higher for Default investment mix members compared to Custom mix.
Take members along the journey
Clarity, transparency, and reassurance are pivotal in building trust and loyalty – all integral to a member-first approach to lift member sentiment, explained Monteath.
“Members want to be proactively kept up to date with performance and understand what actions their fund is taking to mitigate the impact of external market forces,” she said. “Providing context for any fluctuations in performance is important to instil confidence during periods of uncertainty.”
“And if you need a deeper understanding into the behaviour and attitudes of your member cohorts around retirement, consider conducting independent exploratory research to develop your retirement strategy and communication further.”