Pension communications aren’t often held up as examples of best practice. But things may be changing, as an article in Money Marketing explained this week.
Are we nearing a revolution in retirement communications? And will other financial services customer materials follow suit?
Changing the way we talk about pensions
It can take a long time to achieve change in the world of pensions.
The article calls it ‘a tortuous slog’, citing the three years taken to bring in a cold-calling ban.
The long campaign for a ‘pensions passport’ – a one-pager that makes it easier for people to shop around for pension products – is another good example. The passport idea has just been adopted by the FCA as part of its Retirement Outcomes Review, 10 years after it was first suggested.
Launching the results of the Review, the regulator said that it is ‘aware of the risk of ‘information overload’ for consumers’.
- How should providers and intermediaries tackle this?
- What information do pension consumers need, and how do they want to receive it?
- And how could changes here be replicated to improve other financial services comms?
Less documentation = better outcomes
Research shows that less is more when it comes to pensions documentation. The article reports the results of a trial in 2017 to assess the impact of displaying information in different ways.
The trial involved different providers signposting links to the Pension Wise website in different ways – upfront in a pack of information, in a letter printed on orange paper, and in a one-pager that replaced a lengthy (50-100 page) pack.
While the first and second trials had no effect on clickthroughs to the website, the third had a large positive impact. 11% of people accessed the website when presented with the one-page document, compared to just 1% in a control group.
The people in the third group were also asked to complete a questionnaire after the trial. Although based on a small group, responses to the questionnaire showed that those people were:
- Significantly more likely (13.1%) to find it easy to know who to speak to about their decision
- Significantly more likely (21.1%) to phone around other pension providers
- Significantly more likely (25.2%) to visit a price comparison website
- Significantly more likely (24.1%) to say the information they were sent prompted them into thinking about/taking action
What does this tell us?
That less is more when it comes to the effectiveness of pension communications.
In January, we identified pension comms as one of the big issues for regulated firms this year. New rules on pension transfer advice are due to be published in October (and if this is an area you want to improve on, you can read our advice on ensuring your pension transfer advice is up to scratch).
And if ‘less is more’ is the case in pensions, it probably holds true across other financial services communications too.
A move to a simpler approach
Will the FCA use these findings to drive a more general push towards simpler comms?
The regulator has already tried to make a start, publishing new rules on current account communications in August 2018.
The article says, ‘Modern app-based banking companies are showing what is possible in creating genuine interest in banking and personal finance’. Banks and other financial institutions that want to engage their customers need to follow suit.
Don’t be among the UK marketers failing when it comes to innovation. Not all new channels or delivery methods will suit your business – but explore which can help you to deliver simpler communications that your customers will welcome.
Ask yourself whether you’re making the most of the digital options available. Our tips on exploiting digital transformation in banking and minimising risk in digital transformation might be helpful if you want to get ahead here.
A recent survey on satisfaction with banking also has some good insights you can use to improve your own performance.
Investigate the innovations that can support you. Automated solutions can help you to design, produce and deliver streamlined, personalised communications. If you’re a regulated business, our tips on how to innovate in a compliant way will help you make the most of digital while keeping on the right side of the FCA.
To find out more about the ways automation can support your marketing – making production faster, content easier and compliance more robust – you can read a copy of our whitepaper on The benefits of automated workflow solutions. The whitepaper’s free, and you can download a copy from our resource library.
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