Here are six proven strategies to help drive better Consumer Understanding outcomes using communications and content.
1. Be relevant
The intended audience should always be able to interpret communications and evaluate their alternatives by weighing the costs, risks, and benefits of various solutions in relation to their specific requirements and personal financial goals. Personalisation and tailoring of content can help deliver complex and relevant information in an easier to understand format, as well as explain any specifically relevant context.
Businesses should take into account the proper level of detail for each message.
When making decisions, they should think about what their recipients would need to know, what information customers need to know, and any potential areas of uncertainty. Information about a straightforward, low-risk product, such as a personal current account without an overdraft, aimed for mass market consumers, is likely to include a different style of communication than would be acceptable for a complex investment or pension programme.
Firms should steer clear of pointless disclaimers.
If unnecessary detail is included in a communication, it may cause consumers to miss important information, and information overload may discourage them from responding to communications. Communications that are brief and to the point are more likely to be read and understood, compared with long and technical content - which may be overwhelming or confuse readers. Businesses should assist customers in navigating the information they offer by clearly defining any jargon or technical words and providing context where it is relevant.
Companies are required to identify a target market before designing a product or service.
Businesses should take into account the traits of the consumers in their target market while communicating about the product and personalise communications to fit their information demands. For instance, a complex investment product's target market could have different information requirements than a simple, mass-market product's target market.
2. Use Signposting
Companies should think about how the presentation of information, including any navigational signposting that may be necessary, might either facilitate or impede understanding.
Businesses should make sure that important information is unambiguous, obvious, and readily available — not buried in a sea of writing or difficult to locate on a website.
3. Use information hierarchy or layering
It can be especially effective when vital online information is presented up front with cross references or links to more material.
The most important details are probably going to be whatever the consumer needs to do and any negative effects of doing nothing.
The main characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, dangers, and costs of a product or service are perhaps the most important pieces of information for a client to consider when making a decision. This is crucial because, according to research by the Financial Capability Lab, customers frequently base their decisions more largely on the first bit of information they come across. Consumers are less inclined to read information that is concealed or difficult to get, according to research conducted by the FCA for the Asset Management Market Study.
Companies should make sure their information is coherent. For instance, if key product features are highlighted in a package of information to a client in a cover letter, those aspects should be described in a way that is consistent with all other content. If not, the total package of information won't be coherent, making it more difficult for customers to understand.
Businesses need to layer information in a useful way.
It's doubtful that offering partial upfront disclosure of pricing or dispersing this information across numerous publications will aid in consumer comprehension. A more effective strategy may be to gather all pertinent data on a specific topic in a single interconnected content location.
4. Drive engagement
Communications should be created in such a way as to inspire interaction from the audience. This is especially relevant when the communication urges the consumer to take action.
The most important details ought to be obvious.
Using the headers, layout, bullet points, display, and text font characteristics. Design elements that make communications more engaging, such as tables, graphs, diagrams, graphics, audio-visuals, and interactive media, can also increase its effectiveness.
For instance, a study by the Behavioural Insights Team discovered that presenting important contractual terms in the form of questions and answers increased consumer knowledge by 36%.
Additionally, reducing the quantity of information provided in one go by summarising essential phrases and illustrating them with explanatory icons enhanced customer understanding by 34%.
5. Keep it simple
Information should be presented logically in effective communications. Jargon and technical terms should be avoided whenever possible. Where the use of jargon or technical terms is unavoidable, firms should explain their meaning in plain language that consumers are likely to understand.
Avoiding jargon also helps build consumer trust.
Absolute costs and standardised terms can help simplify communications and aid comprehension, allowing consumers to compare various options available to them.
6. Make it timely
Firms should communicate with their customers in a timely and appropriate manner, such as at contractual breakpoints, and at key milestones throughout the product lifecycle, giving them an appropriate opportunity to take in the information and, where relevant, assess their options. This will assist in putting customers in a position where they can make informed decisions.
Products and services can change over time, for example, when introductory rates expire or contracts are modified. Customers' circumstances can change over time as well. Both of these elements can lead to products and services that no longer meet their needs and objectives.
A company should offer relevant information at key milestones along the buying journey and product lifecycle so they can review it before determining whether or not to take action. This will make it easier for them to make wise choices to achieve their financial goals.
Get in touch with a content specialist for further help implementing a personalised video explainer programme: firstname.lastname@example.org