MELBOURNE: Many Australians are struggling to save enough for their retirement, but one superannuation fund is keeping the issue front of mind with a focus on storytelling and customer rewards.

The Health Employees Superannuation Trust of Australia (HESTA) has 820,000 members:  nurses, aged care professionals, and early childcare educators, as well as people working in community services. Many of them work part time, or are low income - the average savings for a HESTA customer at retirement is just A$50,000, far below the amount needed to retire comfortably in Australia.

"After a career spent caring for others, some are at risk of poverty in retirement. We don't think that's good enough. We believe they deserve to retire with dignity," said Lisa Samuels, Executive – Marketing Strategy for HESTA, at the Customer Experience Innovation and Tech Fest in Melbourne. (For more, subscribers can read WARC’s exclusive report: HESTA brings purpose, storytelling to superannuation in Australia's health industry)

On the customer side, HESTA has turned paper statements into a personalised video for each and every member containing relevant facts, insights and calls to action. HESTA was also one of the first super funds to change its consolidation experience, moving from a form with 34 fields to a one click process which saw a shift from 1% conversion to 30%. 

The company is also on track to launch a chatbot in July that allows customers – many of whom are on shift work – manage their retirement and engage with HESTA in their own time rather than during traditional business hours.

"Your brand is really your promise to your customers. Your customer experience is how you deliver that promise. Your brand and your customer experience are either building on each other or detracting. They are totally connected and can't be separated," Samuels said.

A focus on telling the stories of its members – many of whom are on the frontlines of community service – has also made the brand more human.

"Rather than browbeating the consumer with persuasive messaging which immediately triggers a defence mechanism, storytelling activates neurones that create empathy between the storyteller and the subject facilitating message receptivity," said Samuels.

"We ask our new members who are already doing it to tell the story of why they make extra contributions," said Samuels.

Data sourced from WARC