A major pension provider engaged us to investigate and establish whether the customers had made an informed decision about the retirement options.
Our client, a major pension provider, wanted to test customer outcomes for their post April 2015 business through their outbound non-advised contact centre.
We were engaged to investigate and establish whether the customers had made an informed decision about the retirement options they had selected in response to the changes made to pension options.
The calls were made to existing cutsomers that had selected the pension freedom option.
We interviewed 80 customers as part of an outbound customer call exercise to understand whether they had understood the implications of their choice. Over 1,500 call attempts were completed with 340 customers successfully contacted. To achieve this number, we introduced “after hours” slots for customer.
The initial call to the customer was to explain the purpose of the interview. If they agreed to proceed with an interview we would then arrange a convenient time to call back and take them through a call lasting 15 / 20 minutes.
We tested the following six outcomes aligned to the typical end-to-end customer journey:
Access - Was the customer able to speak to the contact centre at a time that was convenient and without undue delay?
Service offering – Did the customer understand the non-advised nature of the contact centre service, including the option to receive free impartial guidance from ‘Pension Wise’?
Existing plan – Did the customer understand the type of pension scheme they were in, including, where relevant, any associated contractual guarantees and / or benefits?
The retirement options – Did the customer understand the retirement options available to them and why the option they selected was best suited to their needs?
Other relevant considerations – Did the customer make an informed decision about the option selected taking due account of any other relevant considerations?
Timeliness – Were customer expectations appropriately set during the call, managed after the call and fulfilled in line with expectations?
To ensure consistency through the phone calls, call scripts which were tailored for each type of fulfilment (e.g. full encashment, tax free cash etc.) were created.
We provided detailed findings in the form of a report along with the 80 customer interview scripts, which provided useful verbatim customer feedback.
The engagement gave our client assurance that customers were making informed decisions about the key features, benefits and risks associated with the pensions freedom option they had selected following their engagement with the provider.
We highlighted two common findings from the conversations with customers:
‘Access’ – customers had to wait longer than expected for a call back from the firm’s agents or no call back was received at the pre-agreed time slot
‘Timeliness’ – customers did not receive their money in line with expectations and payments were delayed
This strengthened the initial view of our client who had identified risks and ensured remedial steps such as increased staff numbers and additional training had been taken to address the underlying root cause. Our subsequent findings indicate that the remedial steps taken by the client reduced the issues we found.
We have also recommended that the client would benefit from additional post-sale customer outcomes testing; a similar approach to that used on this engagement. If this approach was to be used as “business as usual” this would validate the research to test customer outcomes when engaging with the firm.