How Hesta used co-creation to help members

Chief experience officer talks through how she's uniting brand, customer and employee experience in complement

Helping members at scale by co-creating its way to a new kind of digital experience is one step Hesta’s experience team has taken to help the wider organisation lift customer satisfaction.

In a presentation during this week’s Forrester CX APAC Summit, Hesta chief experience officer, Lisa Samuels, shared how the superannuation firm is working to align brand experience with member and employee experiences.

A key way of embedding customer experience across the business is through ‘Encounter owners’. These cross-functional teams ensure customer experience improvements happen across the business, not just as the result of one team’s efforts.

One such squad, called Help, has been focusing on ways members are trying to get their questions answered. This ties into its brand purpose of helping members build financial confidence.

“Some of this help comes in the form of financial planning advice. If members have an opportunity to get this advice, they have a high satisfaction score,” Samuels told attendees. “The problem is, not many can get that kind of advice as we have limited resources to deliver that via face-to-face or via phone. If we wanted to have an impact and move the dial in relation to financial confidence, we needed something to deliver that at scale.”

Financial services firm have plenty of financial assistance tools built by calculators, which can be helpful to members but often aren’t highly used. So Samuels’ team orchestrated a co-creation exercise between staff and members, resulting in a more conversational ‘Future planner’. This also allowed the team to bring in more brand-oriented language.

Research then showed the team hadn’t put in a way to celebrate member achievements for following the advice.

“We realised we did all this work to get people to take action to get to a better retirement… but then we didn’t confirm it was a good decision,” Samuels explained. “We never celebrated those decisions, which were quite hard for people to make. So we built that digital celebration, where we said good decision, this is helping you move closer to better retirement readiness.”

‘Future planner’ launched in mid-2021. Having initially expected up to 40,000 members would use it in first year, Hesta has already surpassed 100,000 interactions.

“We can see customers have much higher financial confidence after using the tool,” Samuels said. “Also, thousands of members more took action than what we could ever have delivered via face-to-face advice. My team didn’t build the tool, but we facilitated the co-creation piece. This helped build CX capability outside our team and across many others.”  

One of the challenges for CX teams is not wanting to tell all the other teams what to do, Samuels continued. “This is a way to build that, using information you have without telling them what to do and by empowering them to make the decision. That’s really important.

“This was a great way of us bringing our purpose to life and really help members face the future with confidence.”

In pursuing the co-creation exercise, Samuels said it was vital to prepare people before members arrive in room through data, verbatims, measurements and hypothesis you want to test and conceptualise.

“It can be confronting,” she commented. “You have to think about support before and after some of these sessions. We run sessions around members who have been in traumatic situations. It’s a lot for people to hear their story, process and think about to support those members.”

Hestra uses Qualtrics for customer and employee feedback. In the early days, Samuels said her team gave people Tableau + data sets in order to democratise the ability to create your own insights.

“That didn’t work at all,” she admitted. “So we brought people back in to tell us what they were trying to do, what they do in their day-to-day work, then built dashboards for different teams and types of employees.”

Helping fuel insights across the business is a segmentation model, which Samuels also saw as critical to getting customer alignment across the business.

“This gives us a deep understanding of who members are, attitudes, opinions and how we can support them,” she said. “We had a lot of goes at how we invented this in the business. The marketing and people teams can really help – build training modules, tone of voice, videos that help to embed insights across the whole business.”

Samuels’ team is now in the throes of deep work around Hesta’s purpose and what impact the organisation wants to have in the world.

“You can’t have experience conversations without good conversations around purpose and how that unites business,” she said. “This helps with alignment.

“We looked at the best companies around the world for purpose and learnt they have something called purpose pillars sitting under statements, which articulates impact they are trying to achieve,” she said.  

At Hesta, three purpose levels exist: A member purpose, focused on helping members face the future with confidence; a community purpose, which is to be a gutsy advocate for a fair and healthy community; and a societal purpose, to deliver excellence with impact.

“This [purpose] helps us attract and retain talent, grow customers, and we make sure all is built into and experienced through customers as well as employees,” Samuels said.  

A recent step to centralise performance measurement also provided more clarity to teams around purpose and what Hesta is trying to deliver. Importantly, this is helping staff make decisions quickly.

“Companies that have an advantage are the ones that can move quickly. A lot of clarity means you know very quickly what to do,” Samuels said. “For example, if the media is coming to us for comment on something, we can ask if we should comment based on whether it’s important to us, versus something that isn’t about who we are and what we stand for. Speed is really important in this environment.”

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