Do Super funds have a case of “Keeping up with the Jones'”?

When we consider the adoption of technology, we typically categorise people, or companies, as:

  1. Innovators
  2. Early Adopters
  3. Early Majority
  4. Late Majority
  5. Laggards

Fast Followers

Within each of the above cohorts, there’s a subgroup eagerly watching the adopters before them, referred to as “Fast Followers”. They don’t want to be the guinea pig within their sector or vertical, rather the benefactor should the adopters before them demonstrate success with technology. Only then will they jump on board. However, the claim of the “Fast Follower” loses its pace the closer the Early Adopter is to the Laggard.

Super funds, in my experience, usually consider themselves a Fast Follower of banks. You could argue that super funds are in fact, at best, medium-paced followers. Banks tend to adopt emerging technology early, as they are always on the lookout for a new edge within their highly competitive markets. However, due to their highly regulated environment and the need for the highest level of security, they tend to take a long time to implement and realise value.

The impact of being a “Medium-Paced Follower”

Super funds are known for keeping up with the Jones’s – the moment one fund does something remotely innovative, many follow. Making them medium-paced followers to unoriginal, medium-paced followers.

When you’re looking sideways, you’re not looking forward. Funds are too busy looking over the fence at other funds’ shiny new toys (in many cases, outdated technology), that they fail to see the brilliance that is often right in their own backyard. Super funds are uniquely Australian and envied by the rest of the world – so why do they look at overseas customer experience companies for solutions to something that only represents Australians? For over a decade my excitement in the potential for new technologies pushing the boundaries (often for lower investment) on clear use cases for super funds shifted to frustration.  The risk of change and reward of possible cost savings in the members’ interests is trumped by not having the size and scale of the big players – particularly when it came to cloud, software as a service (SaaS). 

Customer / Member Experience

Let’s take a topic close to my heart – Customer Experience (CX).  Most CX organisations survey their customers’ experiences in a post interaction manner. There is nothing wrong with this, except for the fact it feels like every company is doing this, and customers have survey fatigue.

Super fund members no longer want to do post-interaction surveys which inherently ask all the same things – “Rate your experience out of 10”, “How likely are you to recommend your fund to a friend or family member?” etc. Sound familiar? If so, how can you blame an individual for wanting to opt out of this “service”? The surveys tend to include generic questions that require effort from the customer, and are often used for internal reporting purposes, but less often to inform initiatives to actually improve the experience itself.

To combat this ever-fading response rate, super funds need to change the conversation, right? Sadly no. Instead, they arbitrarily throw incentives at members to complete these surveys – not only forcing members to provide responses for the wrong reasons, but also spending more of members’ money to get results that offer little insight and certainly don’t enhance the member experience.

Change the conversation

Am I being harsh? Maybe. However, in the words of Don Draper from Madmen “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.”

That is exactly what Evolved Superfund Listening does. It has conversations with your members – at scale. It’s not just a traditional survey or a regular chatbot. Why is this a game changer? Well, surveys and chatbots start wide and aim to funnel the member towards an answer.

Evolved Superfund Listening does the opposite; it uses Conversational AI to ask questions and have a meaningful engagement that leads to broader responses – essentially flipping the funnel upside down. This provides not only great insights and context – it’s also a better member experience. For super funds, it makes the one-to-one conversation scalable and delivers greater insights – in some cases, important ones they were not even looking for.

So, if you’re a super fund and want to move from monologue to dialogue with your members, then stop looking over the fence. The Jones’s are fast following someone else. Time to be an innovator.

Find out more

To find out more about Evolved Superfund Listening, check out our website, or feel free to shoot me a message via LinkedIn.