Trust is the key to sustainability in financial services. At Equip, some of our key performance metrics are around the actual and relative levels of trust that our members vest in us as providers of superannuation and financial advice.
Understanding what the drivers of trust are and how, where and when to connect with customers is therefore critical to anyone in this sector. It also sets a very high hurdle for achieving a return on marketing investment for those in superannuation and wealth management.
Building sustainable customer relationships on a foundation of trust requires us, through the delivery of relevant and timely connection and interventions, to demonstrate that we have empathy with where each and every customer is on their financial journey.
Within your organisation, it often means challenging and dispensing with mythology and long-established practices through sophisticated analysis and modelling of customer data.
Informing your communications with behavioural segmentation
In expert hands, this analysis enables behavioural segmentation of customers, enriched where it is useful to do so by third party research. Behavioural segmentation does not entirely dispense with the more commonly used and less challenging demographic segmentation which can still be influential.
But what it does is better inform your communications, education and service modelling in the context of your customers’ personal relationships with money. This is because their relationships with money are as much as part of their individual DNA and experiences as they are a product of their age, gender or other characteristic.
In a practical sense, this analysis and segmentation work can provide you with customer connections that would be lost in a simple demographic carve up.
Exploding the myth that people under 40 are disengaged
For example, in superannuation, behavioural segmentation explodes the myth that people under 40 are disengaged. At Equip, we have three behavioural groups in which a substantial proportion of members are under 40 and regularly connect with the fund through the website, call centre and other touchpoints.
Many of them have strong convictions about their investments and make choices accordingly. Many see super as part of a tax-effective investment strategy without necessarily considering in the traditional context of retirement, which for many younger people is an increasingly abstract concept anyway.
In earlier days, these members would either have received a generic mass communication piece including content on everything from starting a new job to making the most of their retirement, or would have been omitted from target segmentation altogether based on their age and the assumptions we made about them.
Now we connect with these members according to their interactions with the fund – not just transactional, but as reflected in their response to campaign emails, seminar attendance and a whole range of inputs that reflect their personal attitude to managing their wealth.
Mapping your customer journey
Of course, your success will not just be defined by better targeting your communications. The expectations and motivation generated by your outbound activities can easily be destroyed by poor execution and disappointment at your customer interfaces. So mapping your customer journey, identifying and eliminating pain points by improving back-end processes will be equally important to your success.
This is because, when you look at customer satisfaction metrics across almost any industry sector, you can distil the metrics down to two fundamentals: utility and care. Do you make it easy to do business or transact with you and do you show you care? If not, you’re still a long way from creating the most valuable asset of all – trust.
Geoff Brooks will be speaking on ‘Winning your customers’ attention in a world of information overload’ at the Digital Marketing Strategies for Superannuation, Insurance and Wealth Management conference, taking place in Melbourne this September.