6 Ways to Tell If Your Benefits Tech Vendor Is More Than Just a Vendor

So you're thinking about making the jump to specialized benefits management technology. Good news! You're on your way to transforming your benefits program into a cost-effective recruiting and retention machine.

But getting good technology is only part of the process.

It's crucial that the people behind your technology provide you the support and resources to use the technology to its full potential - that they focus as much on helping you succeed with their product as they do on creating the product. AKA, customer service.

But every technology company says they have good customer service, right? So how do you know if that's really the case? How can you tell if they're walking the walk, or just talking the talk?

Feedback from current customers is usually helpful, and you should definitely pursue that. But you can also gain a lot of insight simply from asking the technology company the right questions.

Here are six such questions you can ask - and why to ask them - to determine whether a prospective benefits technology vendor is just another vendor, or a true partner in your success.

1. How is your customer support model organized?

This is an easy lead-off question, but the answer means everything. You need to know specifically how the vendor plans to provide you with ongoing support including your account manager and service delivery team. Find out what specific resources will be dedicated to your account, the responsibilities of each and how they will interact with your organization.

2. How are upgrades and updates made to the platform?

Your vendor should have an established software release cycle to provide you with new platform features and functionality. Be sure to ask about the frequency of the releases and how they’re communicated to you, as well as the flexibility you’ll have in adopting new features.

3. Do you offer ongoing training and learning opportunities?

This one is huge. If you’re going to invest in a powerful and innovative technology solution, you need to know that your vendor is committed to helping you learn how to use the platform’s features to their full potential—as your needs dictate.

Consider a vendor that has a structured learning system with a variety of training options including online, classroom and peer-based learning through local user groups and conferences. For maximum value, your technology provider should offer training that not only explains how best to use the system, but also provides opportunities for professional development (continuing education credits, certifications, etc.).

4. To what extent do customers have influence over product development?

A good technology company innovates to align with the evolving needs of its customer base. Your vendor should provide you with ample opportunity to share your thoughts on current functionality and make suggestions for enhancements and additions.

5. How do you measure customer satisfaction?

You need to know that your vendor is taking a proactive approach to delivering an exceptional customer experience. Find out what process the vendor has in place to capture and act on your feedback, as well as what level of transparency you’ll have into improvement efforts.

6. Do you have a customer engagement portal?

A vendor can optimize your customer service experience by providing a collaborative online environment for you to communicate with the vendor, as well as with other customers. From document sharing and issue tracking to satisfaction surveys and discussion boards, a customer engagement portal can drive efficiency, transparency and innovation to help you get more out of your technology investment.

For more on specific questions you can ask to determine a benefits technology company's capacity to meet your needs, download your free copy of our Buyer's Guide to Effective Benefits Management Technology.