A perfect storm of change has hit the superannuation sector, as three distinct trends have converged.
First, COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption as super firms’ websites and mobile apps have become hubs for their members’ retirement planning decisions. In the past year, 60% of Australian online adults checked their account balance and transaction history online, 32% viewed and downloaded online statements, and 26% viewed their investment portfolio and returns online.
Second, the Morrison government’s “Your Future, Your Super” reforms will require super firms to be more accountable and transparent. By July 1, 2021, super firms must demonstrate that they are consciously acting in the best financial interests of members and explicitly provide members with key information regarding how they manage and spend their money.
Third, Australian consumers are facing a number of financial challenges that require them to balance short-term goals, such as paying for basic living expenses, and long-term goals like planning for retirement.
Although digital platforms are one of the top drivers of loyalty for superannuation firms, only half of members said that their provider performed well in delivering digital experiences. The quality of your firm’s digital experiences will not only drive loyalty and growth, but will also impact how well your firm builds accountability, transparency, and trust in 2021. Super firms must:
- Deliver great search and clear navigational elements. When turning to a digital tool, members want to accomplish a goal — whether it’s viewing their investment returns or changing their personal details. But when search and navigation fail to deliver, users abandon tasks and feel frustrated. US investment firm TD Ameritrade excels with clear information architecture and navigational elements. Its primary and secondary menus are consistently located, and highlighting the selected menu item gives the user a sense of place.
- Offer personalised content. Members can’t achieve their goals — from checking their insurance coverage to viewing a clear breakdown of their investment portfolio — if the right content doesn’t exist. BT Panorama presents important information front and centre by showing members’ portfolio performance since inception in the homepage, with graphs in contrasting colours denoting performance over time.
- Guide members with visualisations of progress and workflow. Most goals, such as changing the beneficiary of an insurance policy, require multiple steps. Good digital experience design keeps users motivated and oriented with visual cues, smart placement of content and functionality, and streamlined task flows. AustralianSuper provides a clear, handy progress bar when users make a contribution and employs easily identifiable interactive elements.
- Provide error avoidance and recovery. Users behave in unanticipated ways that can stall progress or lead to dead ends. Companies can avoid frustrating or endangering their customers by making it easy for them to anticipate and avoid unintended consequences. Rest’s simple mobile experience helps customers avoid confusing workflows and information loss. Customers see need-to-know information, such as their member number and latest contribution, front and centre on their dashboard.
- Reinforce privacy and trust. It’s not enough to just ensure customers’ privacy and security; you must signal and frequently confirm your respect for their privacy or expect a drop in conversion rates, brand confidence, and your ability to gather private data. Ally Invest masks the customer’s account number and only shows the last four digits.
Many Australians are likely to have insufficient superannuation savings when retirement draws near. Some are more vulnerable than others and will feel the effects more profoundly. In 2021, super firms should inspire confidence by empowering members with a more holistic picture of their unique financial situation, help them improve financial literacy, and use simulations to make it real for members.