Open Enrollment Success: When to Call for Backup

Open Enrollment Success: When to Call for Backup

With limited time and resources, electronic benefits management is a must — especially when it comes to open enrollment. Unfortunately, even the best self-service technology won't magically make every single employee self-sufficient. You'll always have people who want and need that human interaction and confirmation when they're making important decisions like enrolling in benefits. 

Think about an automated phone system. Have you ever pressed "0" for an operator instead of choosing another option? Or have you ever just said "operator" when the machine didn't understand you? While that operator is likely to make the same transfer the system would, sometimes you just feel more confident when a human does it. 

The same could be said for employees enrolling in their benefits—no matter how much direction and resources you provide, you're still going to have employees who won't take action (or correct action) without a little extra help from a human.

It's not necessarily a bad thing for employees to have questions. But do you have the time and resources to handle all of them? Even if you do, is that really how your time and resources are best spent?

If your answer is no to either of those questions, it's time to call for backup. With a dedicated employee benefits support center, you can give employees reliable answers to their common — yet very important — questions, without putting unnecessary strain on your company's benefits team.

But before you do that, make sure the partner you work with is going to create as seamless an experience as possible for your employee. Here are three things your dedicated employee benefits support center absolutely must do in providing reinforcements for your open enrollment:

Speak the right language

Interpretive language services are a must when you have a large population of workers that either don't speak English or speak English as a second language. Benefits are a complex topic, so it's always better if they can be communicated in the employee's native language. 

It's also important that the support team understands your company culture and benefits brand, so they can convey that when communicating with your employees. The ideal scenario would be that employees can't tell the difference between their support team and someone in your company's HR office.

Understand your benefits program in and out

You're turning over a high volume of questions to a dedicated support team. They need to be trained in your benefit plans, as well as the technology your employees are using, to be able to handle questions efficiently. The last thing you want is for an employee to call in and sit on hold for 15 minutes while the support team is busy looking through benefit manuals and trying to figure out the technology. 

The best support teams are going to be those that are also experts in the benefits field. Look for a support center that has formal training programs and certifications in place, both from internal sources as well as external sources like the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. 

Offer flexible service options

You want to be sure your employees are getting the support they need, when they need it. For some workforces, that means enrolling in benefits after work hours. Your support center should be available during the hours you're not. 

Outside of open enrollment, employees will have questions like how to make changes during life events or even as simple as how to file a claim. But maybe your team just needs that extra boost during open enrollment. Or maybe you want the full-service support that also includes help with your administrative tasks like dependent verification, QMSCO administration or qualifying life events. The ability to scale your level of support when you need to is essential. 

Use this as a checklist to evaluate your current or future call center support partners, so you'll know employees have a reliable, go-to source without compromising your team's efficiency. 

Want more tips for open enrollment success? Watch this on-demand webcast to find out the simple steps you can take to save time while helping employees better understand their benefits.