By Brandon Wood, President of Client Experience
Our tech can’t survive without our service, and vice versa. So, I felt somewhat uneasy when I saw a particular question come through from an attendee during a recent webinar where we were discussing the ways employees gain financial security with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The question posed: “Does Benefit Accounts technology simply automate the employee experience? I’m worried I won’t receive the service I need to support my team and employees.”
The truth is technology cannot be truly smart or do its job if the service just isn’t there. In employee benefits, a great “user experience” is much more than the software interface. According to a survey conducted by American Express, 78 percent of consumers have ended a transaction due to bad customer service.
Smart service requires transparency
I’ll admit it, the term “transparency” can come across as just another buzzword. But, transparency is essential when it comes to customer service. Smart companies are well aware of how important it is to their clients. It’s what has proven to make companies like Zappos, who host tours and Q&A sessions in their headquarters, so successful. With 94 percent of consumers expressing loyalty to brands that offer complete transparency it’s clear transparency must be the norm.
While technology that helps employees manage their benefit accounts may not be considered as fun as buying a new pair of kicks from Zappos, the focus on transparency is just as important. One of the best ways to know if your Benefit Accounts solution provider is truly transparent, is to look at their company’s culture. For instance, do they put an emphasis on honesty from the beginning of the relationship – even when it does not reflect well on the individual or team? Have they openly admitted to their weaknesses during the sales process? If so, it may be safe to say that they won’t try to hide any issues from you as they arise. In fact, they will likely identify the problem before you even have a chance to notice and will notify you of the action plan they are already executing to provide a resolution (that is if they haven’t already fixed it).
Smart service includes a partnership approach
Our Client Experience Team feels very passionately about the partnership approach to service. Never wanting to be thought of as just another “vendor,” they approach their work with a partnership mentality and act as an extension to our clients’ HR teams.
Too often vendors have people answering calls who are simply meant to be messengers between the client and the person responsible for fixing the problem. That’s why an Accenture survey found 89 percent of customers report frustration when faced with the need to repeat issues to multiple client service representatives. Our clients’ main point of contact, the Client Relationship Manger, would never answer calls and throw the problem over the fence for someone else to fix. They’re the ones who look directly into the issue and either resolve it themselves or hunt down the answer.
Smart service can predict the future
No, it doesn’t require a crystal ball. However, it does require a sincere focus on the member experience to ensure the best possible engagement with their Benefit Accounts and the least amount of hassle. One solution is to offer members a way to manage their HSA or FSA the same way they manage most things in their life – via their smartphone.
We all know that most people rely heavily on their smartphones. They offer hassle-free ways for us to get information on nearly anything, most of which is via the use of mobile apps. In fact, apps account for 89 percent of the time people spend on their mobile devices. Offering a hassle-free mobile app provides members with a familiar way to manage their account anytime, from anywhere. A smart service mentality will be clear in a mobile app by offering features that allow members to easily upload and submit photos of receipts for reimbursement and simple, clear ways for members to contact someone for support.
Smart service must be a priority
If you’re currently working with a Benefit Accounts provider who doesn’t make service as much of a priority as their tech, it may be time for a change. (me)BENEFIT ACCOUNTS™ is our consumer-driven account solution that makes each account (i.e. HSA, FSA) easy to choose, access and manage year-round. For more information on (me)BENEFIT ACCOUNTS and resources on how to optimize your Benefit Accounts strategy, visit: maestrohealth.com/smarterbenefits.