As a busy employee benefits consultant, do you have time to talk with multiple vendors about product details? Probably not.
However, is it important to your business? Yes. Do you need to find time to learn about new ideas and solutions to meet the challenges you and your customers face? My guess is the answer is, “Absolutely!” You likely consider that to be a good investment of your time.
So how can you quickly determine if a vendor offers a true solution? Based on my experience, below are 4 tips to efficiently learn about new vendor solutions, products, ideas…
1) QUICKLY DISCOVER “THE WHY”
When faced with another new product, many want to start with the WHAT of the product - attributes, pricing, packages, etc. Instead, ask WHY this product or service is a solution for you and/or your customer. If you’re able to clearly and quickly understand WHY it can help, then you can make time to discover more.
For instance, I might say this to a broker about freshbenies: “Do your customers need more flexibility in medical plan design? Could employees use better/faster/less-expensive access to primary care and specialist physicians? How about help reducing out-of-pocket costs? Do they need tools to become better healthcare consumers? Are your clients’ HR teams overwhelmed with employee insurance/medical questions?”
If these issues were important to you and/or your clients, then WHY you’d want to find out more has been addressed. This could be done in a 2 minute conversation. The faster you get to the WHY, the faster you can determine if it’s worth spending more effort to learn about a product.
2) QUICKLY DISCOVER “THE WHAT”
The next thing to dig into is WHAT is being offered and whether it supports WHY you have decided to make time to investigate. Here, you need to quickly understand the benefits and pricing.
I might say this about freshbenies: “Our benefits will give employees 24/7 access to no-cost primary care doctor visits by phone or video (and they can get a prescription, if medically necessary), no-cost specialist visits online via personalized email, advocates to help employees navigate the system to locate providers, price procedures, and reconcile medical bills, and more. All for $10 or less per employee per month.”
Be sure the carrier rep gets to the details that matter to you. If you are now convinced WHAT is being offered will result in making WHY a reality, then you are on the way to uncovering a true solution to your challenges.
Again, all that could be done in a few minutes. If these solutions were important to your clients, then you might want to set up a time to talk in more depth. If the WHY and WHAT have caught your attention, then you’ll want to learn about HOW it’s implemented.
3) QUICKLY DISCOVER “THE HOW”
The next big question is, “HOW will the benefits be delivered?” The conversation wouldn’t get this far if you weren’t interested after the WHY and WHAT discussions. You might really like the idea of the benefits because they’re innovative and will fill a need for your client. But how much time and work will it take to implement this new product?
Again, I might say this about freshbenies: “We’ve bundled 9 different benefits from 9 different vendors into 1 ID Card, 1 employee experience, 1 account management team, 1 billing and eligibility system, and 1 employee engagement process. To get started, we need a Census and a one page List Bill Agreement. If we have it by the 15th, we can have member packets in-hand by the 1st.”
Would that help you to understand HOW the product is implemented? Determine if the product will save you time and deliver a valuable solution to your customers. Did the vendor convince you their product can be delivered efficiently. Now is also a good time to ask for testimonials or a reference.
In a few minutes, we have discovered WHY, WHAT and HOW this solution can help you and your customers. Rather than thinking “it’s one more vendor I don’t have time for,” focus your approach to quickly determine if it’s worth pursuing.
4) CONSIDER A BUNDLED PRODUCT AS ONE SOLUTION
Back in the day, benefits consultants presented a nice mix of medical, dental, vision. Today, you have to deal with a cadre of products and issues such as compliance, HSAs, pet insurance, telehealth, Ben Admin sites, identity theft protection, long term care, etc.
You have to find ways to be more efficient. Consider bundled product to make your life easier and meet your clients’ needs. You’ve seen many ancillary carriers with such options for mid-sized and small employers. You’ll typically find better pricing, easier implementation, and multiple issues being solved at one time. Not to mention more income for you.
Bundling inexpensive and unique benefits helps employers offer a more valuable total benefit package. They can deliver value to their employees with minimal work (for themselves and you).
With small non-insurance services, like we bundle into freshbenies, you don’t have time to contract with multiple vendors. It would be much more efficient to deliver one product/experience that consolidates the offerings of multiple vendors.
While we are all busy, we must continue to make time for new ideas and strategies that are delivered efficiently. WHY, WHAT & HOW are the questions to ask!