May 2017 – Customer Assistance

​Effective help resources are a pivotal component of any private site and a key factor in building a streamlined and pleasant customer experience. Comprehensive help resources that cover annuity basics, contract management and technical support ensure that clients can take full advantage of account services and transactional capabilities and efficiently locate relevant content. Further, thorough help resources often prevent clients from calling customer support, saving them the time and hassle of interacting with call centers. This month’s Annuity Monitor Report examines the types of help resources available from all 19 firms in our coverage group with a focus on findability, presentation and content value.

Since we last covered this topic in September 2014, several firms revamped their private sites, while our coverage group expanded from 16 to 19 firms, affording us the opportunity to view a fresh spectrum of help resources and organizational strategies. About a third of firms (37%) successfully provide effective, findable help resources throughout their private sites and received grades in the A-range. Vanguard stands above the rest for its comprehensive, centralized help center in addition to contextual help resources. Every firm in the coverage group offers the bare minimum of a Contact Us page and customer service support phone numbers and hours. Most firms (79%) also offer FAQs. Annuity Monitor firms adopt differing organizational strategies—from dedicated help centers on the private site (32%), to centers accessible to the public (42%). Nearly a third (32%) provide page-specific (32%) or section-specific (16%) help. Ideally, firms should offer a combination of these strategies.