What you mean to say is not what your customers are hearing.

A survey released by Invesco in January shows that your language matters and it affects how customers feel about retirement investment plans. The survey sought the views of millennials, Generation X and boomers. Turns out everyone prefers personalized, plain English and positive, short descriptions.

“Our research found that many participants find their retirement plan to be confusing and wish for clearer language to help them better understand their plan’s design, investment menu, and post-retirement choices.” said John Galateria of Invesco.

A U.S. survey of more than 800 people of various ages, genders and income levels validated the results of focus groups that captured emotional responses to language used in actual plan communications and other commonly used words and phrases.

“Language matters,” according to Mr. Galateria. “Using the right words provides clarity to participants, which can lead to increased confidence. For plan sponsors looking to evolve their communications to raise member engagement and encourage good decisions along the way, we found using personal, positive and plausible words in plain English can make all the difference.”

Some key points on what customers want:

  • Brevity is good, but clear and full descriptions are also important;
  • Talk straight talk and personalize;
  • Positive statements work better than phrases with negative connotations:
    • “stay on track to achieve my goals” was preferred over “managing risk”
    • “more conservative over time” was preferred over “less aggressive over time”.

The evidence is mounting that smart businesses use clear and forthright communication that prevents misunderstandings.

Learn more about the results here: http://ir.invesco.com/investor-relations/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Invesco-Defined-Contribution-Language-Study-Finds-Disconnect-Between-What-Plan-Sponsors-Say-What-Participants-Hear/default.aspx