Jacs Davis is a customer experience specialist, and Voice of Customer Lead for AustralianSuper. In this article, she outlines the thinking behind the fund’s enterprise wide customer feedback program.

Jqcs Davis Headshot Image

‘People pay you to do that?’

My uncle was incredulous. A veterinarian for more than 40 years, he couldn’t fathom why AustralianSuper—or any employer for that matter—would need to coordinate customer feedback so meticulously.

In his profession, feedback happened informally, on the spot, as part of every interaction he had with his customers. He knew immediately if someone was less than satisfied and, as a microbusiness, could quickly act to fix the problem.

The tyranny of distance

As a business grows, its decision-makers can become progressively more removed from frontline sales and service. The customer feedback they once may have received directly as was the case with my uncle, might no longer be passed on, or if it is, the message may be diluted or interpreted in different ways by different individuals or departments.

Without a standardised approach to collecting and analysing feedback, a business or organisation may lose touch with the customer experience, limiting its ability to make sound strategic decisions or identify and correct shortcomings.

Recognising the need to stay ‘close’ to its 2.2 million members, AustralianSuper piloted an initiative in 2016 to consolidate, coordinate and standardise the gathering of feedback. Known as ‘Voice of Customer’, it is today one of the largest programs of its type in Australia.

Before and after

Before Voice of Customer, member surveys at AustralianSuper were managed at a business unit level. There was no consistent approach, no data integration, and thus no opportunity to identify membership-wide themes or trends.

Now centralised, the opposite is true, with the program using online surveys to gather feedback at 27 touchpoints across three distinct levels—strategic, episodic and channel-specific—all of which can be cross tabulated.

Overall thoughts about the fund are captured by the strategic surveys, which are sent to one twelfth of the membership every month. Episodic surveys are sent to members at the conclusion of operational sequences, like joining the fund or rolling money in. And finally, Channel-specific surveys are conducted immediately after standalone interactions, such as phoning the contact centre or using the member web portal.

A measure of success

Each survey includes a mix of what we call universal and context-specific metrics. Universal metrics are the standard Net Promoter Score questions: ‘how likely are you to recommend us on scale of 0-10?’ and ‘why did you give that score?”.

The first of those questions yields a number we can monitor over time, and also use to trigger alerts that ensure poor member experiences are followed up, escalated if necessary, and quickly resolved to the satisfaction of all—a process we call ‘Closing the Loop’.

The second question yields insights that we can cluster to reveal themes. We can identify the top-of-mind reasons why members recommend the fund, for example, across the entire membership and within specific age, tenure and balance cohorts. Similarly, if we’re not explaining a certain aspect of the fund clearly enough, or making it difficult to perform a particular action, member feedback will soon bring this to our attention.

Case in point

Voluntary contributions is an area that demonstrates just how effective our Voice of Customer program can be at identifying issues.

Feedback from the relevant episodic survey alerted us that members were having difficulty locating the details needed to pay money into their account. This insight led to a simple change to the AustralianSuper portal layout to make those details obvious the moment members log in. The process of making voluntary contributions is easier and the survey results since reflect that.

I have to say that not all issues are fixed quite so easily! But as someone once said, the first step in solving a problem is recognising there is one—our Voice of Customer program is certainly helping us do that.

To see what AustralianSuper offers customers, visit australiansuper.com