Guest comment: Difference of definitions

In our interaction with organisations we give and are given various titles; members, customers, clients.

We do not normally pay attention to what we are called, provided the service meets our needs.

But definitions are important as they often determine the way we are envisaged by the service provider.

For instance, members: Individuals belonging to a group or organisation, customers: Persons who buys goods and services, clients: One to whom services, usually professional, are rendered.

In defined benefit pension schemes, individuals are viewed as members, which results in a tendency to ignore the fact they are also customers and clients.

This narrowing of terms leads to a myopic vision in which the pension scheme takes a paternalistic stance of doing what is best for the member, while ignoring their viewpoint.

This positioning was exemplified by a recent survey that showed only 26 per cent of pension schemes prioritised membership engagement.

Does this matter when in the same survey the priority for pension schemes was maximising benefits and minimising costs for the members?

Ignoring the financial planning needs of members and their environmental and social investment preferences does not provide the service quality a member, customer or client expects.

Pension schemes should not be defined by closed thinking.

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