One-size-fits-all is a phrase of the past - especially when it comes to the diverse and increasing needs of employers and their workforces. As health care costs rise and the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act’s future is as complex as the law itself, small businesses are leaning on the expertise of trusted advisors to help them stay compliant.
Alex Miller is the managing partner at New York-based Millennium Medical Solutions Corp., a family-owned employee benefits consulting agency that specializes in commercial health care. “While the world of insurance has changed rapidly, the opportunities ahead are much greater than at any time in the past,” said Miller.
So how do you know that what you do on a daily basis is really making a difference and getting to the root of your clients’ worries? Think like your clients, and act on it.
Why did you choose to become a benefits broker? I’m guessing your answer has something to do with the fact that you get to help people. What better way to help your clients than to truly get involved with educating them. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your agency’s particular niche to solidify the trust of your clients. In order to truly think like your clients, you’ve got to get in on the front lines.
“Increasing customer knowledge is a fundamental part of providing benefits. By adding skills and key partnerships into tech, payroll and HR we can deliver a high quality integrated platform. Today’s small business owner expects a simple and reliable platform to save valuable time and money spent on matters that do not drive direct ROI. As an example, our StrategicVines Private Exchange’s online portal is not only allowing a true defined contribution model of choice of multiple insurers but also is piping in PrimePay’s payroll, ACA tracking, time and attendance, HR real time access and an HRIS for I-9, W-4 housing and employee communications,” explained Miller.
Keep in mind that this type of involvement does take some time. Miller admits it’s a learning process for him and his team. As they continue to learn, so do their clients. And just like their clients lean on them, Millennium leans on the support from their partners as well.
With everything a small business owner has to do to keep operations running effectively, it’s nearly impossible to cut through the noise and digest the information that’s going to help them stay compliant.
Since your clients already trust you enough to handle important benefits decisions, solidify their trust through education. By hosting webinars or writing informational blog articles that break down the topics in a simplified manner, not only will your clients appreciate it, but it will help you understand better as well. That’s the real definition of partnership that’ll earn clients for life, and referrals for the future.
Small business mentality
Millennium is a small business that makes the absolute most of its smaller staff size. In fact, they see it as an advantage.
“There’s the push toward ‘one desktop,’” said Miller. “The thinking is that a benefits admin/HR system shouldn’t be somewhere you go. It should be a seamless part of your daily user experience as an employee.”
He believes this option will be especially popular among companies with 100 employees or fewer. They will look for a single-source technology and services solution.
"We have an increasing number of innovative ‘value-added’ solutions we can offer their employer group clients which can be used for fringe or voluntary benefits,” said Miller.
Even if your agency is larger or you deal with bigger clients, it’s important to keep that small business mentality when figuring out solutions for these business owners. No one wants to feel like they’re just another page in your book of business. Truly listen to your clients’ needs and put yourself in their shoes to understand.
For example, marketing automation company MailChimp is a service that caters to e-commerce businesses. But they had never actually sold anything online themselves. So they created their very own store called Freddie and Co. to learn exactly what their customers were going through.
While you don’t need to run out and open your own law firm or bakery to know what challenges your clients are dealing with, it does prove the power behind adapting their mentality.
When the ACA was first introduced, it brought on a whole new world of compliance challenges for business owners. Millennium saw this as an opportunity to step in and help those affected.
As a small, family owned business, Millennium is always mindful of the passion and hard work it takes to successfully build a company. You can be too if you think like your clients.
4 things important to small businesses that don’t drive revenue.
In keeping with the small business mentality, Miller touched on four key things that these organizations have to deal with, but don’t necessarily drive revenue. Millennium has identified these areas of business operations and have processes and partnerships in place to allow their clients to operate efficiently:
- Labor law compliance.
- Health insurance.
“As benefits brokers our role has expanded over the years. If we are helping our clients compete and attract talent then the advantage is back to the small business owner,” said Miller.
What Millennium tries to help their clients understand is that while these key business components don’t necessarily bring in money right away, the long-term indirect benefits are worth the time. Better benefits = better candidates that want to join the team. Fluid payroll processes = happy, paid employees.
What ways do you adapt this idea of thinking like your clients to get to the root of their needs?
To learn more about Millennium Medical Solutions Corp., click here.
Interested in becoming a Broker Concierge partner? Here’s just one reason why you might want to consider:
“We feel we have the right partnerships, and PrimePay is definitely the hub behind all this. It flows through payroll. Payroll is the bedrock of making all of this work right. They’re also on top of legislative changes and they always give us great educational tools. Having that PrimePay partnership is really a major, major cornerstone of what we do,” said Miller.
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