Early communication key to member retention

Industry fund HESTA superannuation members are four times more likely to stay with the fund if they have received automated onboarding communications over their initial 12-month period.

Speaking at an International Business Review webinar, Georgie Obst, HESTA general manager of customer loyalty, said members of the fund received timed messages over their initial 12-month period.

“Messages are consistent, engaging and regular, absolutely key to our retention plan and this is really the first brand experiences our members have with us,” Obst said.

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Obst said members would receive a one-year anniversary email which supported them with their current stage of onboarding, whether that meant reminding them to register for their online account or to consolidate their super.

HESTA also employed a “shopping cart” strategy, as Obst explained, whereby members would receive messaging tailored to information they had searched on the site or reminders to complete unfinished tasks like booking appointments.

Obst said the challenge then was to adapt their processes to make sure it aligned with what the customer really needed.

“The follow up communications have been offering help, but I don’t think we’ve quite got to tailoring it enough yet,” she said.

She said recent changes to Apple’s iPhone operating system had decreased the rate at which members opened the messages.

An important consideration for super funds, according to Obst, was to have the courage to admit to failures and discontinue strategies when they do not work.

She said HESTA had recently switched off financial advice messaging for older people with smaller balances than those eligible for its retirement product in response to a higher rate of unsubscribing from this segment.

HESTA was considering how else it could help this segment of its members with their broader retirement strategy.

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