“The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 81%, up from just 35% in 2011”

Pew Research Center

If you are here reading this, chances are you are doing it from your smartphone. From the break of dawn till lights out, smartphones stay with us. Millennials spend as much as 3.7 hours a day on their phone; GenX and boomers not too far behind. It’s not just fun they’re after. Smartphone users install apps that help them monitor their health, finances, plan their day, navigate routes, etc.

For retirement plan administrators and recordkeepers, this presents a significant opportunity to educate, engage and encourage participants to plan their future better. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what mobile apps can do in your industry and how you can improve your participant’s retirement planning experience with them.

4 ways to deliver a superior customer experience (CX) with mobile apps

#1 Improve financial literacy

It’s common knowledge that a majority of Americans do not have adequate retirement savings. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to educate participants. Plan administrators can enable a mobile app to build a personal connection with the participant, educating them of the nuances of retirement planning, one thing at a time.

The mobile app can have articles, blog posts and even videos explaining complex ideas with simple visuals. You can introduce calculators and planners for users to do simple math on the go. You can also invite questions from users themselves and bring experts to answer them. You can build the mobile app to be the one-stop shop for all information about retirement planning.

#2 Provide clear real-time visibility

Financial knowledge and processes have always had a notorious image for being difficult to comprehend and generally inaccessible to the common public. The simplest way to bring more and more people into the fold of retirement planning is to offer transparency. Some of the ways in which you can do that with a mobile app are:

  • Investment dashboards to see where their money is
  • Funds tracking to understand their portfolio better
  • Reports of trends to show growth of funds
  • Visualization of their retirement plan

It is also useful to allow other third-party apps like Mint to link to the retirement plans you sponsor to give a unified view to the participant.

#3 Offer personalized retirement planning advice

Let’s take the example of Acorns Later, an app that gathers information about the customer’s investment goals and funds to recommend an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and portfolio that is right for them. Personal Capital, on the other hand, uses a robo-advisor platform to make recommendations.

While considering building a mobile app, plan sponsors and administrators can significantly impact by offering personalized advice. A chatbot or a voice-assisted app can collect information from the user — their needs, goals, existing investments, dependents, lifestyle etc. — and build a retirement plan for their needs.

#4 Automate retirement planning habits

The most common obstacle to solid retirement planning is the inability to save regularly and consistently. In essence, people don’t have the habit of saving. There are two things plan administrators can do to encourage this.

  1. Regular reminders: With notifications and alerts right on their mobile, you can ensure that participants remember saving money and transferring it to their retirement funds month on month.
  2. Automation: The more effective way is to automate this entirely. For instance, the app Digit analyses the user’s propensity to save and automatically transfers a small amount of cash periodically to the digit account.

Some apps transfer change to savings account at the end of every transaction. For instance, if a coffee costs $3.45, the app will automatically move 55 cents to savings, dovetailing savings to every expense. When the participant is able to see the long-term compounded value of these small investments, they are more likely to persist.

That’s not all. Age-based risk allocation, funds consolidation, customization, scenario planning, college savings plan — the possibilities of engaging participants with a mobile app are endless. It has the potential to interact on a personal level with its customers, building life-long relationship.

We at Congruent believe that the future will be mobile. The flexibility and access that mobile applications offer are unparalleled, which is why CORE 2.0 is built with a mobile-first approach. Read more about our new CORE 2.0, record-keeping platform for the retirement plan industry here.

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