In this article published in the June 18, 2018 edition of Employee Benefit Adviser, Rob Carnaroli, Sutter Health Plus vice president of Sales, provides tips to brokers on how to attract and engage clients.
Building a successful book of business requires diligence, strategy, foresight, and good communication. Here are four ways brokers can attract and retain clients — before, during, and after the sale.
Tap into technology
Leading up to and during open enrollment, consider adding digital tools to your communications strategy. An increasing number of brokers are hosting webinars and creating online tutorials. Today’s technology can help build stronger relationships and enhance one-on-one and group meetings.
Make information readily available on your website or other commonly accessed client platforms. Offering key materials for clients to view on their own time and at their own pace shows you value convenience. As a benefit to brokers, information on digital assets can be updated in real-time, without incurring the cost of printing new materials.
While websites and social channels are strong communication vehicles, don’t neglect the tried and true traditional mediums like phone calls and in-person discussions. This type of personal touch helps build strong connections and trust between you and your clients.
Utilize big data
Brokers are privy to a gold mine of information that resides with carriers, providing aggregated data on employee benefits utilization. Understanding trends and how customers are using their benefits can help guide future plan offerings. For example, you may learn most employees in a group are at risk for specific chronic health conditions or have high pharmacy utilization. Using available data and leveraging employee behavior can help you develop an open enrollment strategy to fill gaps that may exist in current plan offerings.
Before and during open enrollment, use relatable messaging. It’s important to make sure employee benefits—a key recruiting and retention tool—are easily and broadly understood, especially when referring to terms that may be unfamiliar to most audiences.
People relate to examples that mirror their own real-life situations. A common scenario is a family of four who has low health care utilization beyond preventive and routine care. Explain what their out-of-pocket costs might look like in a typical year. Then, show what their costs could be with a couple of urgent care visits, a new baby, or surgery. This specific illustration can help consumers understand the total cost of care if the year doesn’t go according to plan. Understanding the potential out-of-pocket costs help consumers choose the right health plan based on their particular family situation, finances, and preferences.
Communicate early and often
It’s vitally important to communicate clearly, especially when setting expectations with a new client. Map out the transition, if there is one, to address responsibilities for all parties. Solid planning before enrollment goes a long way toward ensuring success during the process and beyond.
Don’t stop communicating once a contract is complete. The success of your business requires keeping clients in the loop. Communication outside of the open enrollment season can strengthen relationships and maintain client retention. Your clients and their employees need to know your service extends throughout the year. Remain available to answer questions regarding benefits and eligibility, member enrollment, or regulatory topics. Consider ways to connect throughout the year, such as quarterly Q&A meetings with employees, or check-ins with your clients. Providing a year-round presence will reinforce your commitment and bolster your value.
Successful brokers take a varied approach to client engagement. With a plan of action and a little creativity, you can pave the way to long-term success.
Vice President of Sales, Sutter Health Plus | LinkedIn