Engaging with customers in the digital age

08 August 2014 / Published in Your Money

The way Kiwis communicate with each other has changed markedly in recent years – as has the way New Zealanders want their bank to communicate with them. ASB’s Head of Wealth Products, Roger Clayton, talks about how ASB has led the way in engaging with ASB KiwiSaver Scheme members.

How do you see the advances in technology changing the way ASB engages with ASB KiwiSaver Scheme members?

“It’s no longer acceptable to just send out bank statements. The adoption of new technology means we’ve got to jump on board and engage with people in the ways they are using devices. It’s changing fast.

Our research shows desktop use peaks during the traditional working day, while mobile and tablet use increases in the afternoon and evening. It’s important to know how your customers like to receive and digest information in order to engage with them.

There is a difference between how customers are generally communicated with by their bank – predominantly by snail-mail or driven into branch – and how they’d like to be contacted– which is by email or online. Our customers want banking to be easy and convenient for them. Digital channels can enable this and we’re moving to meet their needs.

It’s important – digital channels can be a key point of difference if you’re good at executing with them.”

What has ASB done to respond to these changes?

“We’re developing a suite of digital tools.

We launched the capability to transfer savings from an ASB transaction account into your ASB KiwiSaver Scheme account through the ASB Mobile Banking app a few weeks ago; we’ve developed the ability to change funds online, in FastNet Classic (our online banking service), which is launching very soon. And over the next few weeks you’ll be able to convert True Rewards Dollars earned with an ASB credit card into a contribution to your ASB KiwiSaver Scheme account.

We’ve also released changes to FastNet Classic making it easier for members to make voluntary contributions into their ASB KiwiSaver Scheme account. These are some of the conveniences we’re developing to meet the digital needs of the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme members.”

How has ASB responded to the rise of social media?

“An increasing number or people are using social media – a communication channel that needs to be embraced more in the superannuation industry.

ASB is at the forefront of using social media and technology to promote our products and services. We also communicate important and relevant information to New Zealanders through this medium.

We’ve got one of largest followings of any bank in New Zealand on Facebook, and we also have a strong presence on TwitterGoogle +LinkedInInstagram and Four Square. We also have our own channel on YouTube.  It’s important that we communicate with New Zealanders in the way they want to be communicated with.”

How does ASB engage with so many different types of KiwiSaver customer?

“By providing relevant information, via the most appropriate medium, when and where the customer requires it.

We’ve done some research into the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme membership base and we’ve found that the members can typically be generalised into four groups.

The first group is about ‘Engagement’. These customers have defaulted into KiwiSaver, they haven’t chosen a fund, typically have very little investment experience. A lot of them are saving for a first home – not retirement. Giving these customers the right information and the necessary tools, particularly in the online space, can help engage them with their KiwiSaver savings.

The next group is about ‘Education’. These customers have little or no experience with investments. They think KiwiSaver is great, think it should be compulsory but they’ve got no idea about where to invest, and so are hungry for financial education. Video, for example, is a great way to provide educational content.

The third group is asking for ‘Tools’. These customers are typically younger, technically savvy, and highly engaged. They’ve chosen their own fund and just want the tools to manage it themselves. Online calculators, payments and fund switching tools and reporting are important to this group.

The last group is about ‘Performance’.  Typically an older audience, they are well educated, have higher income than average and own their own home.  Their experience with investments means they also chose their own investment strategy.  Regular fund updates will be on their radar.

The messages for each segment within the membership base are quite different. There’s no point sending out the same message in the same medium. You might send a letter to one person who reads it, while another may throw it in the bin and reach for their smart phone to share an article on LinkedIn or update their status on Facebook. It’s important for us to understand this.”

Roger is speaking at the Workplace Savings NZ National Conference. Follow the conference on Twitter here.


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