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3 reasons enrolling face to face is still king

By: Mike Dahlinger, Regional Sales Representative, Michigan

Today, we digest information in ever-smaller capsules; whether it’s a tweet, a Facebook post or simply scanning headlines, that’s often all the information we take in on topics. Many statistics say that even you, reading this article, are probably going to scan what I’ve written or that you’ll just read these first lines and move on (I, however, challenge you to prove the statistics wrong!). 

In our industry, we have a number of tools —and now, technologies — to help us conduct enrollments: self-enrollment online, call centers, and webinars…just to name a few. But, the tried and true method of a face-to-face enrollment is still king. That’s because, for the same reasons you’re likely to scan this article, many of those tools will likely fall short of the effectiveness of a one-on-one in-person enrollment. Here are three of the key reasons that enrolling face to face still reigns supreme:

1.    A captive audience

When you take a phone call at your desk, how often do you look at something unrelated to the call on your computer? Or, if you’re on a landline, how often do you look at your cell phone? If you’re working on your computer, how often do you have to stop what you’re doing to take a call?

The bottom line is that at any given time, we can have a number of things competing for our attention. That’s why, as we mentioned above, we often tend to scan or not fully-read printed information. A face-to-face enrollment, however, eliminates those distractions. In a face-to-face interaction, people are required to be much more present. That means it’s the right opportunity to educate an employee about their benefits and why they may be a right fit for that person.

2.    Personalization

One of the other great ways that face-to-face enrollments help overcome the challenge of holding people’s attention is that it is personalized. Technology has come a long way and, more and more, we’re able to build predictive tools to estimate the amount of coverage that a person may need or the right type of product for their situation. 

But, no matter how sophisticated our tools may have become and how accurately they may be able to predict a need, they still can’t be as responsive or as flexible as a benefits counselor meeting with an employee face to face. Technology can’t hear their stories or capture the myriad variables that make an employee’s situation unique. Technology and self-service enrollments have a long way to go before they can match the level of personalization that comes with face-to-face enrollment. Personalization, by the way, that engages, promotes education, and boosts enrollment leads to superior protection for employees. 

3.    No skipping

We’re all guilty at times of being in a hurry or distracted. The result is that we tend to work quickly and can flit from topic to topic. In fact, one survey found that nearly half (41 percent) of people spend less than 15 minutes researching their benefits.1 If people are distracted, aren’t putting much research in and are in a hurry, they’re likely to skip parts of their enrollment. Or, in many cases, they may just assume that they can and should enroll in the same products they did last year.

When you have a face-to-face enrollment, the employee is guided by a benefits counselor who can point out each of the available options, as well as call out changes in the benefit plan. This way, the employee is making an active decision on all of the available products. They’re also not skipping any sections, hurrying through the enrollment, or just defaulting to the same coverage as the previous year.

All of this isn’t to say that other enrollment methods aren’t viable. They certainly are and, in some cases, may be more practical. But, for maximum effectiveness and for an opportunity to really educate employees, face-to-face wins out. Now, I’m not sure how many of you are still with us down here at the bottom of this article, but, I am quite sure that most would have taken in a lot more of this information if we were talking in person. That, right there, is proof enough that face-to-face is still king.

About the author

Mike joined Trustmark in September 2016. As a regional sales representative, he is responsible for implementing custom-based insurance solutions for Trustmark's existing broker relationships and expanding Trustmark's sales footprint through the state of Michigan. Prior to joining the Trustmark team, Mike was a valued sales producer at Lincoln Financial. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business at Adrian College in Adrian, MI.

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1 Many Spend 15 minutes or less picking health insurance. USA Today. September, 2014.

Posted on December 13, 2018 in Enrollment

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