Profile Pensions: Creating a truly customer-centric fintech business

Profile Pensions is an award-winning pensions advice company, aiming to help millions of people across the UK improve their future retirement income. Profile are faced with a unique challenge; despite being one of the largest and most important investments that most people will make in their life, pensions are shrouded in negative headlines, mistrust and consumer apathy.

The negative image of the pension industry is manifestly affecting the decisions people make about their future financial security; but Profile firmly believe that positive customer experiences can help people cut through the inertia, re-engage in their financial future and make better financial decisions.

In this article, Profile share a little about how a constant investment in internal culture, a clear social purpose, technology that makes things feel more human and an operational obsession with customer feedback drives the business.

The State of the Nation

A 2017 survey by consumer group Which? found that trust in pensions is lower than in banks and energy companies with less than a quarter of people surveyed saying they trust long-term financial products such as pensions. A sense that consumers are not getting enough information from providers about their pension pots nor sufficient support to make good retirement income decisions has created a knowledge gap; a poor customer experience that leaves people feeling disengaged, lacking in knowledge and cynical about the industry. This situation was corroborated by a recent probe by the FCA which found that general mistrust in pensions was driving some potentially unwise financial decisions by the over-55s.

So it’s hardly surprising that 28% of people admit to never reviewing their pension; consumer confidence is low, trust is even lower and, in general, the pension industry is not doing enough to address these fundamental issues.

But there is a better way

Providing an antidote to this bad customer experience and opaque information is at the core of our proposition and there are three key ways our business is geared to providing a positive customer experience:

Work on behalf of the customer

This may sound obvious but in an industry where there is a lack of truly impartial advice; we have seen how important it is to people to have a simple, unbiased service.

As such, our proposition is geared around helping people feel like they have greater control. The entry point for most of our customers is through a completely free pension tracing service that provides valuable information about a customers’ pension and is reviewed against the whole market. This means that we can research pension products on an ongoing basis across all the available products and providers to find the most suitable recommendation for customers as opposed to being restricted to a particular company or group of companies.

Therefore, the only way we get people to graduate to become a paying customer is by delivering a quality of service unavailable anywhere else.

Always provide human interaction where we can

Technology allows us to assess the whole market, to deliver advice at low cost and serve a large number of customers; but our service experience is delivered by our people. At every stage of our customer journey we ensure that there is a Profile employee there for customers over the phone or online.

Technology as an enabler of a human experience

Our technology enables us to rapidly search the whole market to find the best pension deal for customers. Because this heavy lifting is automated, we can make it affordable for everyone to speak to a human pension expert and receive advice that is specific to them and their situation.

We are influenced by the customer data we collect which enables our technology to be data driven rather than process driven, providing a more intuitive and frictionless service experience for customers.

The right way isn’t always the easy way…

Knowing how to create better customer experiences and actually delivering on that promise are two different things. Committing to being a truly customer-led business requires transparency and constant work and means that we are only ever as good as our last review. To keep everyone focused on that principle we integrate our delighted.com Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback into our company Slack channel in real time and open the channel to everyone in the business. Staff are openly praised for good reviews as they occur which drives healthy competition amongst customer facing staff; NPS is a core component of employee compensation.

Employee training is ongoing and centres around understanding who our customer is and what is important to them and focusing on the potential difference we can make to our customers’ lives.

But when you get it right the rewards are worth it

We are seeing the benefits of doing things the right way both in terms of our employee and our customer experience. We were included in the 2017 Times Top 100 Best Small Business to work for and by the end of this year we will have helped 50,000 customers better understand their pensions and 14,000 customers switch to a better pension.

Our customers are responding to our constant focus on improving the customer experience. Our current NPS score of 71 is much higher than the average score for across the financial services sectors with Banking averaging 35, Investments 50 and Insurance 37. In fact, our NPS score is comparable with leading customer experience brands such as Apple (72). Additionally, we have an average rating of 4.5/5 from over 600 reviews on Trust Pilot.

In conclusion

Our pension industry is rife with apathy and cynicism but we’re forging a new way to connect with people about their pension and we’re seeing the fruits of our labour. These are our top 4 things to do to create a truly CX-led fintech business:

  • Technology must make the customer experience feel more human
  • Use game mechanics to keep your teams obsessed with reviews and feedback
  • Nurture a culture of collaboration with internal teams
  • Totally transparency of customer feedback internally and externally; always share customer stories both positive and negative