Businessolver Blog

Meeting Members in the Moments that Matter 

Meeting Members in the Moments that Matter 
Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 by Sherri Bockhorst

How can HR provide more engagement with benefits using personalization? 

In a recent poll of more than 270 HR professionals, we found that 67% want to drive greater engagement with their employee benefits programs through either omni-channel messaging or creating a central benefits hub.

These results will not come as a surprise to benefits managers and HR leaders, whose key frustration is ensuring that their employees understand what benefits are available to them (and why) and are using those benefits to manage their overall wellbeing.  

Our latest Benefits Insights data also revealed that while employees will never be benefits experts, personalization and omni-channel communication can make a huge difference in how employees engage with and navigate through their benefits.  

Determine what employees need from their benefits platform

Holistic benefits engagement starts with empathy. For more than two years, our user experience team has been testing and surveying the everyday member experience to understand how our tech teams can help provide employee benefits information, what words and phrases make the most sense, and how to organize it in ways that are meaningful, accessible, and helpful for each person in the Benefitsolver system.  

They identified key functional needs for members when it comes to benefits information: 

  • Connect 
  • Simplify 
  • Save money 
  • Inform 
  • Organize 
  • Reduce effort 

And the results clearly point to a holistic, omni-channel approach. In plainer language: meet the members where they are with tools they’re already using (like email, mobile, phone, and web) and give them contextual information about their resources and what to do next.  

Sounds simple, right? If it were, then claims costs would be at an all-time low, and everyone from managers to part-timers would know about their EAP and FSA. Spoiler alert: that is not the case.  

Let’s take a step back and see how technology can help connect the dots for members. 

Technology and AI make benefits easier

As the Businessolver UX and consumer experience teams continued their testing and learning, they found multiple efficiencies they could roll out immediately within the layout.  

A configurable layout should work within “best practice” design.

And here, best practice doesn’t just mean what someone thinks is pretty, sleek, or makes our system look the best—best practice means that we tested with more than 400 users and over and over found that when they needed to find a phone number or carrier information, “this spot” was the optimized location. And when that information is presented in generally the same format repeatedly, the user can find it every time. Score one for technology and user design! 

But that’s just one channel. Web users are all set, but how can we continue to evolve the information delivery, simplify the messaging, and contextualize the complex benefits…and deliver only the benefits that member is eligible for?

That’s the harder part. And where we have to bring in AI to drive the experience. 

If you take in any news right now, you’ve likely come across AI in recent months. Recent innovations in the space and greater access to the technology in more applications have garnered a lot of attention. In reality, while it is a newer technology, Businessolver has been leveraging AI actively since 2017, with SofiaSM, our virtual benefits assistant.  

(If you want more details, here’s a blog with more information about how Sofia and ChatGPT are pairing up to create a member experience in benefits unlike anything else in the industry.)

Sofia and AI drive a multi-modal benefits experience

All of this studying, testing, and surveying points to one key takeaway: personalization.  

Members should be able to access information about their life events wherever they log in or call and understand what benefits can help them. Sofia has already been trained with the capability to ask the “question behind the question” in every member interaction. For instance, assuming that a member asking about a deductible is probably about to seek care, Sofia offers other programs and benefits that might help that member in their moment of need—telemedicine, care navigation, provider guidance, etc.  

As Sofia grows, the team behind the scenes consistently analyzes how members ask questions, looks for category trends, and trains her to understand member emotions, sentiment, and programs for which they need more nuanced answers. 

Within the next year, members with specific demographics or recent interactions with the system will be met with items that are most likely to be relevant to them with an AI-driven approach across all modalities of our single-source platform.

Then, to take a step further, they will see the information in the context of benefits that are offered to them. If a member has just had surgery, they need to know about different coverage than a member who is nearing retirement, for example. And as Sofia continues to evolve, she will also provide multiple types of information, such as videos and graphics that are relevant. 

Just as we expect apps and websites to “learn” our preferences and offer us items we might be interested in—the benefits platform, mobile app, IVR, member services advocates, and the AI-powered chatbot will also be able to get the member to the best information quickly. Paired with emails and texts that are proactively timed, and high email open rates through the Benefitsolver system, the needs for both expansive omni-channel benefits communications and a centralized benefits hub will be met, one delighted client at a time. 

In 2022, Businessolver’s benefits technology saved companies approximately $400 million in HR efficiency gains by driving employee self-service. Likewise, our tech improved employee productivity by saving them over 1 million hours in call hold times.  

Learn more about our approach to activating benefits through greater engagement in our Benefits Insights special report: Connecting the Dots from Selection to Activation.