The term “stickiness” poses a challenge to a benefits brokerage: Is it adding enough value for its clients to stick around? And while this notion of adding value isn’t new, there is greater opportunity than ever for brokers to use technology to create value for clients.

For businesses with up to 100 employees, many of which lean heavily on the advice of their broker, technology can transform an adviser from a once a year sales person into an invaluable, year-round business consultant. Those who are reluctant to jump on the technology train must adapt or die off, as they live in a world and work in an industry that is increasingly taking advantage of online tools and resources.

But, let’s be clear: Getting familiar with and talking tech with clients doesn’t mean a broker must become a technical expert overnight. Instead, it means garnering an understanding of how the latest and greatest technology can be accessed and applied to better serve the needs of the broker’s clientele.

Below are three technology tools that will help add more value for clients and create the kind of “stickiness” needed to retain them year-after-year:

· Online Enrollment
Online enrollment is faster, cleaner and easier to manage than paper-based enrollment, which means many clients will be eager for this type of solution. If its new to your brokerage, working with a partner that offers online enrollment is a great way to get started. But remember, online enrollment will only be a fit for some of your clients, so be sure to partner with companies that allow you to do both online and traditional paper enrollments.

· Online Provider and Rx Directories
With carriers offering more diverse networks than ever before, employers and their employees need help determining which plans provide access to the doctors, specialists, hospitals, and prescriptions that meet their requirements. Offering an online directory makes it quick and easy for clients to evaluate a plan and if the benefits it offers are a good match for their needs.

· Choice Profilers
The amount of data and analytics that are now available makes it possible to help clients predict and control their healthcare costs. Brokers should partner with a company that can provide tools designed to help employers predict potential ailments and select health plans well suited to supporting the existing ailments among their workforce. Tools like the CaliforniaChoice Automated Choice Profiler track how often employees visit the doctor and their average out-of-pocket costs, project upcoming costs and then indicate the plan options best aligned with those projections.

While service is the backbone of the benefits industry, technology will provide the stickiness that keeps clients from defecting. Brokers who actively introduce their clients to the latest tech tools and services will pull away from the pack and continue to thrive in the years to come.

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Ron Goldstein

Ron Goldstein

Goldstein, CLU, is president and CEO of CHOICE Administrators, which provides health and ancillary insurance options and provider access to small businesses and their employees.