Just the right amount of two-pot information
31 May, 2024

Shelley van der Westhuizen and Irene Stotko of Finiti Solutions

 

 

Ways to make useful information stick so that it serves its purpose

 

Looking at what’s being communicated to retirement fund members about the new two-pot system, we wondered if there is an amount that’s ‘just right’ – the Goldilocks of the two-pot system.

Everyone is trying their best to inform customers before the rapidly approaching implementation date while juggling essential changes to systems, processes and documentation. Some providers are saying there’s too much to be done within the timeframe.

In the meantime customers have so much demanding their attention. Two-pot system communications are competing with other news and content that people prefer to engage with.

The two-pot challenge is to find a balance between what we think we should share and what customers really need now.

 

 

It’s useful to think about information on products or regulatory changes in three buckets: now, later and never.[1]

When working out what to say now, try prioritising the customer’s perspective:

  • What will they have questions about?
  • Which information will affect their decisions?

 

Different customers have different information needs

 

Sorting customers into different groups can help you decide what to communicate and how to make it available. For instance, the handful of customers who know a lot about retirement savings rules might be interested in vested amounts whereas most won’t be thinking about it. Customers who are struggling to afford their expenses will be more interested in communication about withdrawing from their savings. Some features of the new retirement system are more relevant to some customers than to others.

In general, people only pay attention to things that are relevant to them. According to Daniel Pink, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell and others, brilliant explanations don’t help you unless the customer engages with them. If they don’t think your content is relevant, they won’t take the time to read it.

 

Consider factors that limit customer attention

 

Limited attention span affects the amount of information that customers absorb. Other factors dilute attention too:

  • other pressing financial or personal needs
  • limited prior understanding of retirement savings
  • low trust or interest in the topic

 

 

Customers will only pay attention to and remember information they need now. We’ve included the views of some communication experts to help make the case for finding the communication balance that’s right for your organisation, even under deadline pressure.

 

Selecting your core messages – the things you hope will stick – is vital

A pitfall to avoid is imagining that there’s one main message for everybody in a complex regulatory change or product. Balancing the need for focus against sharing all the technical details can be a real challenge. Anne Janzer in Writing to be Understood: What Works and Why reminds us to start with the key ideas. Consider using click-throughs and info boxes for details and background information so that they don’t distract from core messages.

Given that choosing core messages is challenging, we’ve found it helpful to start with the purpose of supporting customers to make good and informed financial decisions. Any communication can be tested against this useful benchmark.

Regardless of your efforts, many customers won’t engage with your content until they need it. Make sure the information you think your customers need to make an informed choice is available to them then. For example, be prepared to guide them through what they need to know, why it’s important, what they should do and how when they’re wanting to withdraw from their savings pot. We’ve found that guided information journeys are helpful to customers making financial decisions.

 

Choose your words carefully

Effective communication is relevant, available when customers need it and understandable. We’ve seen two-pot communication that refers to ‘annuitised’, ‘market volatility’ and ‘lump sums’ though. It’s best to use ordinary rather than technical language when communicating.  Donald Murray proposes the use of shorter words, sentences and paragraphs at the point of greatest complexity.

Infographics work well for sharing complex information. However, some are more effective than others. Keep in mind that infographics based on graphs or pie charts are still a form of technical communication. Most people also struggle with fractions like one-third and two-thirds. Choose infographics that people without financial training can relate to. User testing communication with your target audience is helpful here.

Most customers don’t have financial qualifications, so the job to be done is to translate the new regulations into understandable and relatable communication.

Goldilocks two-pot communication is a fine balancing act and requires a meaningful investment. It means having a conscious strategy for what we say, when we say it, why and how. Within the constraints of the current deadline and providers dividing their attention between meeting implementation deadlines and customer communication, it’s no simple task to get it ‘just right’.

 

 

ENDS

 

[1] Writing with Brevity Webinar Part 2, Erin Lebacqz and Anne Janzer, https://www.wordrake.com/business-writing-brevity-part2

 

 

Author

@Shelley van der Westhuizen, Finiti Solutions
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@Irene Stotko, Finiti Solutions
+ posts
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