We can’t overstate the importance of the customization and personalization of the participant experience in the retirement industry. Late starts, unforeseen life events, and market changes can impact retirement planning in several ways, which is why a personalized approach to retirement works best.

Good customer service is vital in delivering personalized experiences. Did you know that 68% of customers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences and nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is vital for them to feel loyalty toward a brand?

“We looked at the top 25 providers in the US region and found that personalization was the number one agenda. Services need to be aligned to different personas. And the number of personas is increasing. The products are stable but still evolving and driving personalization in the product,” said Ronak Doshi from the Everest Group at Congruent’s recently held webinar on The Future of Participant Experience Innovation in the US Retirement Industry.

What is data-driven personalization?

It is when you know enough about someone to deliver the right content to them at the right moment. Online retailers like Amazon have perfected the art. They provide personalized product recommendations by analyzing a user’s browsing history and purchase patterns. Similarly, retirement services can offer relevant insights to customers on investment options or budgeting, empowering them to make informed financial decisions.

“If you’re not personalizing it for the young working professionals, they’re going to move to the next provider. They’re like, you need to find data about me. If I don’t provide you with data, there’s so much data around me through my apps, different presence, employer data, and everything else. Can’t you use all of this?” said Ronak Doshi.

To add a personal touch, show them you have rich and diverse offerings.

Showing more diverse options can enhance personalization by offering users a more comprehensive range of choices that align with their unique preferences, needs, and interests.

“These are large providers that we selected as we looked at it. Almost 90% created a self-service portal with rich features; 92% provided financial wellness services. Around 80% were talking about personalization in the products they’re doing in the value-for-price offering,” added Ronak Doshi.

Leveraging AI can create a greater level of personalization.

For example, AI algorithms can identify trends in consumer behavior, interests, preferences, purchasing history, and browsing habits that may otherwise not be evident. This can help tailor the service to each user. AI can also make real-time decisions based on user interactions or adjust content based on user preferences. AI-powered chatbots can be used to engage users in personalized conversations.

“It’s so beautiful because AI is tied into this personalization engine. We have one of our clients who’s using generative AI to create communications. The beauty of this is they’ve created templates, but the entire communication gets personalized. The outbound agent can review the communication very quickly and you can do mass personalization at the end,” said Ronak. “There are tools like digital adoption platforms, automation tools, and others that people are using to make some of these more intuitive, and also using more human-centered design principles to make it more easy and seamless.”

When a service responds promptly to user queries or issues, it shows that the user is a priority.

Ways to make your service more responsive would be to offer interactive elements, such as pop-ups that offer assistance or chatbots that provide support and encourage users to explore further. Responsiveness creates a sense of trust, transparency, and reliability, which can go a long way in building loyalty and repeat engagement.

As Ronak said at the same webinar, “If I have one transaction on one channel and if I lose that transaction or that channel and I move to the next channel, I don’t have to start from the first step. But don’t you remember what I did on that channel? If I called you and you’ve seen that case, I’ve already been trying to raise a request through an email or an online portal. Please don’t ask me to do the same thing on the phone. Just use the context that you have about me through different channels. Be responsive, react to where I am in the journey, and don’t start day one.”

To learn more about personalizing services to help participants confidently embark on their retirement journeys, get in touch with Congruent.

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