Challenges unveiled

In 2022-2023, AFCA received 6,597 superannuation complaints, an increase of 32% on the year before. Delving into the complications of claims handling, it becomes apparent that conventional styles are now inadequate. What’s needed is a deep reimagining of the approach, one that places member experience at its core while employing technology, empathy and innovation.

At the heart of this transformation lies the recognition that member-centricity must be paramount. Within the daunting maze of forms, applications and processes, members seek clarity, empathy and prompt resolution. Yet, the current terrain is filled with inefficiencies and disconnects, aggravating member frustration and diluting trust.

Technology: the enabler

To effectively address these challenges, it’s imperative to leverage technology as an enabler. Advancements in intelligent automation, AI support, robotic process automation (RPA), digital transformation, microservices architecture, integration and APIs offer promising avenues to streamline processes, reduce processing times and foster collaboration among stakeholders. Still, it’s essential to acknowledge that technology alone isn’t the answer. A member-centric approach, demonstrated by empathy, expertise and experience, is equally vital.

Power of empathy, transparency and innovation

Empathy lies at the heart of effective member service. By investing in the recruitment and training of compassionate professionals, superannuation funds can ensure that every member interaction is invested with care and professionalism. This was explored at ASFA’s Spotlight on Insurance event in Sydney earlier this year when we looked at the power of member connection amidst digital transformation and the significance of blending technology with the human touch.

Transparency and open communication are also critical factors of successful member administration. The most common type of superannuation complaint AFCA received was the administration of accounts with 4,369 complaints in 2022-23, up from 3,009 (45%) in 2021 – 2022. Members deserve better; members deserve real-time updates and insights throughout the claims process, requiring the transformation and integration of distant systems and the dismantling of silos. This holistic approach creates a flawless experience for all stakeholders, enhancing trust and satisfaction.

Insurers, trustees and administrators play a crucial role in facilitating this transformation by aligning their practices with the evolving needs and expectations of members.

Innovation is crucial to driving meaningful change in superannuation administration. Super funds must challenge conventional thinking, explore new technologies and revise outdated processes. By fostering a culture of trial and collaboration, industry players can transcend traditional boundaries and unleash new opportunities for growth and differentiation.

Strategies for cost reduction

Consider the potential for cost reduction through operational efficiencies. By streamlining administrative processes and automating routine tasks, super funds can achieve significant cost savings. This allows for the redistribution of resources towards initiatives that directly benefit members, like enhancing investment returns or expanding member services.

Member loyalty and retention

Likewise enhancing member retention and loyalty is paramount. By delivering flawless and transparent administration services, super funds can cultivate stronger connections with members, fostering trust and satisfaction over the long term. This, in turn, can lead to increased member engagement, advanced retention rates, and a more flexible and sustainable fund.

Eventually, the path to excellence in superannuation administration requires a combined effort from all stakeholders. It demands a commitment to continuous improvement, a willingness to challenge the status quo, and an unwavering focus on putting members first.

As industry leaders, it is up to us to seize this opportunity to redefine the future of superannuation administration—one centred on member needs and illustrated by empathy, efficiency and innovation.