1. The first step in developing a lifelong relationship with your members
is an engaging and effective new member process. EMILY BREEN
provides insight into how you can refine your current process, with a
look at Mercy Super’s new member strategy.
– are you missing the boat?
Superfunds October 2016 25
irst impressions count. Yet many
super funds who spend plenty on
member acquisition still send out
lengthy, text-heavy welcome letters that
do nothing to inspire new members.
Most initial member communications
are a tick of the compliance box rather
than the first step in a rewarding,
lifelong journey of engagement with the
For super funds, the onboarding
process is an opportunity to:
• provide a memorable introduction to
your fund and what it stands for
• encourage key actions that benefit
the member and the fund
• educate and explain super in simple,
• ensure a user-friendly, personalised
In 2015, Mercy Super established a new
onboarding process with a series of
engaging, personalised communications
for members during their first 12
months in the fund.
“We wanted to create a better
experience for our new members;
one that provides a positive start to
their relationship with us,” said Craig
Keath, Mercy Super’s marketing and
So, what can be done to engage
members from the start? Here is a
road map to help improve your fund’s
member onboarding process.
MAP YOUR EXISTING PROCESS
You can’t improve your process until
you know exactly what you have to work
Firstly, you need to get a clear picture
of what your members experience when
they join your fund. This includes all
letters, communications and anything
they receive via their employer. It’s also
important to include your online joining
process and any automatically-generated
You’ll also need to find out where
the data for your current process comes
from, what the mailing triggers are and
who owns it within your fund (is it your
operations team, administrator or other
area of the business?).
It can take some time to put all the
puzzle pieces together, but you’ll end
up with a complete picture of your new
member journey including its process,
content and responsibilities.
Key tip: Check whether you have
metrics on existing new member
communications such as open rates,
responses and action. These can
help you identify weak spots and
opportunities for improvement.
WORK WITH YOUR ADMINISTRATOR
Usually, the communication and/
or marketing team will have the job
of putting a new onboarding process
in place, but your administrator may
be responsible for issuing welcome
materials and for workflow processes
and CRM systems.
It’s important then to understand
how the administration system works,
what you can change and how, as well
as its limitations and opportunities. You
may be able to refresh the existing letters
and documents your administrator
sends, but may not have the scope to
send emails or personalised mailings
that have multiple variables.
This was the case for Mercy
Super, so the fund opted to overlay a
campaign process over the top of the
administrator’s existing mailings.
“To get the level of personalisation
and flexibility we wanted, we needed to
design and send the campaigns direct
from the fund,” said Keath.
“This has allowed us to be more
agile in tracking and adapting the
engagement process along the way.”
Key tip: Make sure you work with
your administrator to explore your
options. Some changes to workflow may
take time to implement and may need to
go through a series of approvals.
CHECK IN WITH YOUR
Funds work hard for their default status
but may not be getting the most out of it.
Some employers hand out information
to new employees for multiple super
funds or may encourage new employees
to bring their existing super fund with
them. This means your employers may
not understand the default process or
the benefits to their employees if they
join your fund.
Take the opportunity to speak with
your key employers and identify new
opportunities to communicate with
their employees. Ask whether you
can add material to their offer pack,
participate in staff information days or
attend pre-employment events.
Where possible, track metrics – how
many employees join your fund from
the prospective pool of new employees?
This information can be used to help
you set some goals for acquisition.
Key tip: Don’t assume! Ask
questions and find out how your
employers talk to new employees about
DETERMINE YOUR KEY ACTIONS
Work out what actions you want
to encourage and how you want to
communicate them to members.
Focus on simple, easy to understand
communications that clearly explains
why members should care enough to
26 Superfunds October 2016
3. For Mercy Super, the key activities
for new members include online
account login, member contributions,
search consent, rollovers, getting
financial advice and nominating
beneficiaries. These topics are explained
using case studies and examples with
clear calls to action.
“We want our members to have a
personalised experience that matches
their needs,” said Keath.
For Mercy Super, this means
sending communications with variable
information tailored to a member’s
situation and builds on their past
While not all funds will have this
capability, it’s worth exploring your
options around personalisation. For
smaller funds, a personalised approach
may mean picking up the phone and
talking to new members.
Lastly, make sure the medium fits
the message – for example, online
login lends itself to email rather than
hard copy. You can use A/B testing to
determine which delivery methods gets
the best results.
Key tip: Think outside the box when
it comes to ways you can improve your
member experience. Try outbound calls
or personalised videos to welcome new
members to the fund and encourage
REVIEW. REFINE. REPEAT
Once you’ve bedded down your new
process, you need to track performance.
Mercy Super uses a range of
measures to track the performance of
their new member process; this is largely
based on member activity in each of the
areas related to communications and
covers all member touchpoints. The
fund also tracks the behaviour of new
members against that of their existing
To capture and collate this data,
you need to flag campaign activity and
action on an individual’s record, which
is something not all funds have the
ability to do. It’s worth exploring how
you can track this data in your own
“Since we introduced our new
member onboarding process, we’ve had
a significant increase in search consents,
rollovers and interaction with our
contact centre and advisers. However,
we haven’t had as much lift with
beneficiary nominations. This is one of
the areas we’ll look at as we refine our
content,” said Keath.
Key tip: Don’t set and forget!
Identify and keep track of your key
metrics. If something isn’t working,
change tack and refine your approach.
An effective new member process
will evolve over time as you factor
in new mediums, technologies
and sophistication in terms of
“We’re always looking at ways we
can move forwards and improve our
member engagement,” said Keath.
For Mercy Super, this improvement
means exploring new mediums and
channels, such as personalised welcome
videos and tailored pre-employment
Having an engaging and effective
new member process is good for funds
and their members. It’s a valuable
opportunity to educate and encourage
them to make good choices about their
super. Plus, it’s the first step in what is
hopefully a lifelong relationship.
Emily Breen is a senior consultant at
Superfunds October 2016 27