New insights from the CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX benchmarking program
The customer experience of Super fund members suffered a substantial fall, the latest results of the CSBA FEAL Superannuation CX Benchmarking report has found.
Customers were impacted in part by the announcement of the failures of the APRA performance test of MySuper products, and increased merger activity in the sector, said CSBA CX Director of Finance, Sam Monteath.
The report, comprising surveys conducted in February and March 2022, found that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for All Funds in the study dropped 11 points to +15 from July 2021. Overall Satisfaction fell to 7.8 – its lowest since February 2020 (when the pandemic hit, and sentiment deteriorated). And Ease of Dealing saw a similar pattern.
The survey responses were collected from 5630 individual fund members from 20 superannuation funds. Online surveys of members of large funds were also completed to provide further benchmarks.
The impact of negative news and merger plans
Explaining that uncertainty among members and the use of the media and third-party sources impacted Sentiment, Monteath said it was more important than ever before, that funds communicated directly and clearly with members.
“With members continuing to rank Trust as the key driver of Overall Satisfaction, it was no surprise to see a decline in Sentiment across key metrics across the sector,” she said.
“Loyalty was also in decline. Switch consideration in the past 12 months, as well as likelihood to switch in the next year increased by five and six percentage points respectively.”
All demographic groups, except for longer tenure members, saw at least one in five being likely to switch funds in the next year, though for female members, and those under 55, this rose to one in four.
Trust and Excellent Financial Returns remained the key drivers of Overall Satisfaction and NPS (advocacy). However, the average member rating for Trust fell sharply by 0.5 points, from 8.4 to 7.9, compared to July 2021.
The relative importance of Trust (15%) and Excellent Financial Returns (13%) as key drivers of Overall Satisfaction increased by one percentage point each; while the relative importance of Trust as a key driver of NPS (advocacy) increased by three points and is now equal to the main driver, Excellent Financial Returns (17%).
Making Members Feel Valued remains the third key driver (12%).
In the area of retirement empowerment, female fund members had the lowest agreement across all the demographic cohorts, with over one-third (35%) disagreeing with the notion that their fund empowered them for retirement. This rose sharply from 27% in the previous survey (July-August 2021). Agreement among younger fund members also fell further; 34% disagreed their fund empowered them to plan and prepare for retirement (from 31%).
Younger members rated lower than their older counterparts, with the average satisfaction at 7.6 out of 10. Younger members are typically more difficult to engage as retirement is often considered too far in the future with action appearing less tangible due to the long-term nature of super and retirement investments. Younger members also often have competing priorities, cost of living pressures, and lack of knowledge regarding superannuation, which all contribute to less loyalty.
The importance of Reassurance
Effective communication is key to rebuilding trust and loyalty among members.
“Don’t shy away from discussing trust in a climate of volatility,” says Monteath. “Put a human lens on the topics that are important to members. Be specific – use relatable examples that engage with your different member cohorts.”
“Members want proactive information and reassurance that they are with the right fund for them.”