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Five Questions to Ask Online Benefits Administration Software Vendors

Five Questions to Ask Online Benefits Administration Software Vendors

When evaluating benefit administration software, it can be overwhelming to review every option in the marketplace. With this said, your vendor should be a partner who’s invested in your mutual long term success. Consider the following five questions when vetting potential benefits administration partners. 


1. 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, this is a red flag. With sudden 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 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.


2. What HR Features Do you Have? 

Next, you should ask what HR features are included with the software. While you may only be in the market for benefit admin software, it’s important to select a vendor that has the option for 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. A single solution for benefit administration and human resources streamlines operations, resulting in a more efficient workflow. Reducing the number of software applications used will also ultimately reduce cost.


3. How Does Customer Service Work?

Ask about is the customer service experience. This is vital. 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.

4. 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!)

An effective training program would be more instructive, like an onsite training where the vendor walks users through a real-time setup of your company's benefits. 

5. 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. (Side note: nothing “free” comes without a cost!)

The pricing with your vendor should be transparent and you should have a clear understanding of what is included.

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