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The hottest lead ever

Author: Matt Johns

With the sheer volume of new members that have defaulted into KiwiSaver, it is somewhat understandable that many default providers have treated these new members just like every other customer. 

This is a mistake. Or at least it will be if providers continue to treat all customers the same.

Unlike with traditional products or services, these new “customers” have not yet made any conscious decision to choose you as their provider. And the chances are they will remain passively ambivalent about their relationship with you until you give them a reason to think otherwise.

It is likely these new customers will only decide whether or not to continue their business relationship with you as a provider following their first active human interaction with your company, either face to face or more than likely over the phone. If the conversation goes well you earn the right to continue as the provider. Get it wrong and you might as well have been put on notice.

Or worse still, whilst you wait passively for your customer to dial in with a problem or query, another hungrier provider decides to get proactive and gives them a call. The opportunity you had to develop and nurture a successful long term business relationship is now likely to be lost, with the likelihood of your customer switching dramatically increased.

So why wait that long? Why waste the biggest opportunity Fund Managers have had in living memory. We already know that on-going active engagement is important enough for our customers who have made conscious decisions to choose a product or service. It stands to reason that the effort needs to increase to engage those who have not made any choice at all.

Failing to commit to an on-going robust relationship with default members just makes no sense. The opportunity cost is immeasurable.

Let me put it another way. Imagine a prospective customer walks into your lobby and says she wants to talk to someone about investing her funds with your organisation. She has the money with her and is all ready to sign the paperwork. If no-one from your company takes the time to meet with the customer, it is likely that she will give up and leave. I suspect if you found out about this poor customer service, you would rightly be angry and look to hold someone to account.

Yet with default members, this happens on a daily basis, and on a grand scale. And somehow that is acceptable? Surely not.

Default KiwiSaver members should be treated like the hottest lead ever. They are already on the books, making contributions and just need a reason to stay.

Embracing your new customer requires more than sending out an automated welcome letter and a one size fits all annual statement. It takes time and effort to understand who this new member actually is and how best you can be of service to them. It is important to appreciate that not all customers are the same; in fact the sheer number of members in KiwiSaver means your customer base has become more diverse than ever – as will be their needs and expectations.

To maximise the likelihood of profitable long term business, it will be crucial to develop a robust customer segmentation and communications strategy. Not only to implement tailored reactive communications, but more importantly to drive proactive messages to demonstrate to the customer how important they really are to your company. If you get this right, trust and commitment will naturally follow.

Only then can you genuinely call them your customer.

Forward Focus March 2013 contents:

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