What Questions to Ask Online Benefit Administration Software Vendors

Posted by Sarah Weinstein on Nov 5, 2015 8:05:06 AM

5 Questions to Ask Online Benefit Administration Software Vendors

Questions for Vendors

If you’re evaluating benefit administration software, you are probably overwhelmed with all of the options in the marketplace. It seems like new benefit administration software companies are popping up daily (and they are!). Your vendor should be a partner who’s invested in your mutual long term success. But how can you tell if the vendor will be a good partner? We’ve created this list to get you started. Here are some questions to ask:

What are the future plans for your software?

Statistics show that 90% of startups fail, most within the first few years. In the benefit administration software space, the majority of vendors were founded in the last 1-2 years. This leaves significant risk in choosing a company that may not be around in the next few years. Don’t worry, there are several ways to reduce this risk and vet potential vendors.
First, ask about the company’s product roadmap. This is the company’s plan for future software releases. If the company does not have one or will not share this information with you, it should definitely be a red flag. With all of the constant changes in healthcare reform, it’s important to choose a vendor that is constantly making upgrades to their solution to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape.

Second, ask the vendor how many successful open enrollments they have completed. Likewise, if they are not willing to share this information with you - it could be a risky investment for your organization. Also watch out for vendors who haven’t completed more than at least 1,000 open enrollments. Below that number, the vendor will not have encountered a wide enough array of benefit strategies to help avoid making you feel like a beta customer.

What HR features do you have?

Next, you should ask what HR features are included with the software. While you may solely be looking for benefit admin software, it’s important to select a vendor that has the option for HR features. In fact, in a recent study 96% of employers wanted benefit admin software that is bundled with other HR features. Functionality such as onboarding, Paid Time Off (PTO) tracking, and payroll integration should be available. While you may not need this functionality yourself, benefit administration touches many facets of an organization. By having a single solution for benefit administration and human resources, operations are streamlined and efficiencies are gained. Reducing the number of software applications used will ultimately reduce cost.

How does customer service work?

One of the most important questions to ask about is the customer service experience. While we all like to think that issues won’t arise with software, there’s a good chance they will at some point. In that situation, it’s important to know the process and what to expect. Make sure to ask what support is provided. Is support via the phone or just web based? Will you have an assigned account manager or deal with someone different each time?
One great way to gauge the customer service of a software vendor is to talk to their customers. Ask the vendor if you can talk to some references - specifically to other organizations similar to your own.

What does training entail?

In addition to great customer service, make sure the software vendor has an organized training process with a timeline. Once you purchase the software, do they just give you a log-in and let you run? (Red flag if the answer is yes!) Things to look for would be an on-site training in which the vendor walks you through real-time setup of your instance.  When you reach out to referrals, make sure to ask about how their training went as well.

What does pricing include?

Last, it’s time to talk price! Pricing for benefit administration software can come in many forms - from vendors offering the software for “free” to per employee and tiered pricing. (Sidenote: nothing “free” comes without a cost!) The pricing with your vendor should be transparent and you should have a clear understanding of what all is included.

If you’re in the market for benefit admin software, we hope these questions will give you a starting point in conversations with potential vendors. You are making an important decision for your organization, so don’t hold back when it comes to asking questions!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like How to Improve the Benefit Administration Experience

Topics: broker software, health insurance brokers, HR, hr software, broker, online benefit administation

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