What’s happened to Pension Wise? After all the secrecy and the consultations and the big reveal – the sum impact on our nation’s financial awareness appears hard to measure, as in “hard to discern”.
Looking at TPAS’ latest stats, the nation’s capacity to pick up the phone and ask pension questions is growing fast
April 2014 – 6,000 calls taken
April 2015 – 9,000 calls taken
April 2016 – 13,000 calls taken
Every time i look at TPAS they’re up to something new. If it’s not web chat , its soft phones. I had to look soft phones up. A soft phone is a piece of software that allows the user to make telephone calls over the Internet. Clever is you want to work from home and charge the bill to your boss. I think it’s a posh phrase for Skype.
If TPAS have been a big winner from the Pension Freedoms, the same cannot be said for the Money Advice Service which is in the throes of being re-established as a website. As for the Citizens Advice Bureau’s face to face service, I have yet to hear of anyone using it.
So much then for face to face advice for everyone. As I’ve said here before, it is almost impossible not to intimate what you really think face to face. Body language and eye contact are the giveaways as to what people actually think, the great advantage of the phone and web is that they deliver information without the emotional vias.
But the big win for TPAS is that they employ people who can actually help and are not upgraded BOTS programmed to deliver “not advice”.
Which brings me from the past to some view of the future.
If we are to believe the noise, the Pensions Bill will have a section in it devoted to Pensions Wise (v 2.0), which lets hope is a little more helpful and a little less constrained than what we’ve had before.
Taps’ top tips for making Pension Wise 2.0 a success
- Give it a new name which includes the words pension and advice
- Give it a promotional budget -just cos you’ve built it doesn’t mean they’ll come
- Man and woman it with specialist pension experts with experience
- Get those offering advice to challenge their customers to engage with key issues
- Make sure the tax-payer gets VFM by focussing on the services people use – telephone, web chat and video-calls.
Let’s learn from last year and lets re-launch whatever we call v2.0 with enthusiasm and energy. The very good news is that Charlotte Clark has been made the Senior Regulatory Officer for whatever emerges and she doesn’t let things fail.