Voices from Accenture Public Service

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On average, we check our smartphones every six minutes. Some estimates put the heaviest smartphone users clicking, tapping or swiping their phone 5,427 times a day[I]. Recent research by the AARP[ii] shows that in the US those over fifty are enthusiastic smartphone users, with 70 percent of them sending messages, getting on social media, watching videos and even managing healthcare via their mobile devices.

Some 74 percent of us use mobile as our go-to channel for customer support, and 87 percent of pension members say that they would use an app to access customer support if it were available to them. Mobile is already changing how many industries operate and interact with their customers. For one leading US bank, for example, mobile is their most used channel and 22 million of its customers use the bank’s app, logging in more than 3.5 billion times a year between them.

So where are pensions organizations today? While many have developed effective websites that allow their members to manage their plan online and get support for their queries, the future clearly points to mobile apps as the channel of choice. And if they haven’t already, pension plans need to start preparing and providing for that future now. Here’s why.

Overwhelmingly, people prefer mobile apps to a mobile-responsive web experience. For example, smartphone users spend 88 percent of their time using apps and only 12 percent on a mobile browser. Using an app offers optimized use of the technology inherent in a smartphone. Take the camera, for example. With an app you can use the camera so that uploading a document is literally as easy as taking a picture. It’s possible to make payments directly from an app. And as the interfaces on mobile apps become smarter and more intuitive, the use of apps will continue to increase, making features easier to access and capabilities richer.

In contrast, a website adapted for mobile simply doesn’t enable or engage people to use services in the same way. In addition, apps also allow pension providers to manage their customer support operations far more cost effectively. On average, every call center call costs nearly $8 dollars. The same queries managed via a mobile app cost closer to $0.40 each. What’s more, with people handling many basic queries via self-service, advisors are freed up to spend their time addressing more sensitive and complex issues – i.e. providing support and advice rather than simply answering requests for information. It’s a win-win: members are more engaged and costs to serve are lower.

For pension providers, it’s never been more important to understand where their members are and deliver services and support accordingly. And today’s current and future members? They’re on the move.

What do you think? Add your comments, thoughts, and suggestions at the bottom of this blog. To learn more, visit www.accenture.com/pension and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

[i] https://www.networkworld.com/article/3092446/smartphones/we-touch-our-phones-2617-times-a-day-says-study.html

[ii] https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/technology/info-2018/2018-tech-trends-infographic.doi.10.26419%252Fres.00210.002.pdf

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