Lifeskills: Digital statements and a star chat-bot

Digital member statements, live chat agents and Roger the chat-bot have all helped REST Industry Super improve members’ engagement with their super and insurance.

In 2016, REST Industry Super launched digital annual member statements. Through data and insights, we learnt what information members want and how they want it, including some valuable revelations into their engagement with insurance. In the first year we offered it, 1.4 million of our 2 million members opted to receive a digital statement.

Our first digital statement was designed to be industry leading – optimised for all devices, visually appealing, easy to read and more interactive, to drive better member outcomes. One of the best parts of going digital was that we saved our members $900,000 a year in print costs, recurring year on year. Of course, members can continue receiving paper-based statements if they wish.

Highlighting insurance

The digital statement helps members see easily where insurance sits within their superannuation account. It includes an interactive display of personalised insurance benefits and our member centre contact details, should they wish to change their cover, update their personal details, or nominate a beneficiary.

Digital distribution also enabled us to deliver statements in real time, which means we are now able to track who has received theirs and send reminders to those who didn’t. Detailed reporting and analytics track member interactions, such as the log on time and time spent viewing the statement.

Given the relatively young age of REST members, improving digital member services is an obvious priority, but it is not just for young people. In 2016, 85 per cent of our pensioners opted to go digital.

Positive response

In the months following the distribution of our first digital statement, we surveyed members about it. They told us they found it easy to log on, navigate and understand the information. Many told us they preferred the digital statement, citing their ability to view and save it easily, as well as their accessibility to further information, as the main reasons.

Those are all positive things. But it was also incredibly valuable to find out what areas members wanted us to improve. Some said they still wanted a paper statement. So, we built in an option to print the statement direct from the digital version. Others told us they wanted more information about investment fees and returns, so we built in more hover buttons with explanations.

New channels

More generally, members told us they were confused when it comes to super and insurance – they don’t understand it and they want more help.

In an effort to assist our members, we’ve added a direct link to chat with one of our live agents while also introducing more content into our virtual agent, ‘Roger’.

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We launched Roger the chat-bot in December 2016, and he has been doing a good job answering questions via the website 24/7. Roger has answered 2500 insurance queries so far. Questions like: What insurance do I have? How do I start an insurance claim? How long before I can make an income protection claim? Does the income protection cover pay me if I’m made redundant? How do I reduce or increase my insurance? And how can I cancel my insurance?

This combination of Roger and real-life chat agents has been extremely successful for REST, with both channels receiving a consistent customer satisfaction rating of 95 per cent or higher.

Our next area of focus, which will further improve our digital relationship with members, is social media. We see social media as an opportunity to continue to connect with our members, educate them on our insurance offering and alleviate any concerns they have relating to their super.

Beth Parkin is general manager, customer service, at REST Industry Super.