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For Brokers: Personalized vs. Tech-Driven Service – Which Is Better?

Brokers discussing technology and human resources

As a broker, your reputation tracks alongside the products or outsourced service partners to whom you connect your clients. Beyond insurance renewals, HR and payroll outsourcing is an opportunity to solve more operational challenges for clients while simultaneously demonstrating your role as a trusted advisor. If the relationship goes well, your reputation benefits. If the engagement is difficult, you may end up receiving calls from frustrated clients.

There are two types of outsourced HR service models in use today: relationship-driven and tech-centric models. Both have benefits and work well in specific applications. So, which is better for your clients?

The conveniences of technology

Tech tools from HR and payroll outsourcing partners have increased information speed and accessibility while empowering clients to initiate simple requests on their schedules. Web-based platforms enable greater self-serve control from anywhere at any time. Ticketing-based service may provide valuable convenience to organizations with straightforward requests regarding modifications to standard payroll runs or other basic needs.

Outsourced HR providers whose service model depends primarily on technology may be suitable for clients with in-house HR departments, who need only minimal support. Companies with established HR management processes, adequate staff coverage, and a robust internal compliance division may benefit from this type of service.

However, most companies require much more in-depth involvement from their outsourced HR partner, which is where tech-centric service models come up short.   

HR is a relationship-based business

Today, human resource management is becoming increasingly complex. Understanding industry and jurisdictional challenges – and taking full advantage of emerging opportunities – are not easy tasks to complete with an online service request. Instead, they require working closely with trusted experts, who can provide guidance and support from strategy through to execution and beyond.

Personalized service: “white glove” vs. “big box”

For the majority of clients, a personalized service model will serve their needs best and enable them to achieve maximum value from HR and payroll outsourcing. However, not all personalized service models are equal.

At Extensis, we employ a “white glove” service model: we connect with each client personally, reach out on a proactive basis, listen closely to their goals, and provide strategic input. This type of attention is only possible because we limit the number of clients each HR manager services, and our senior-level HR experts are involved in day-to-day client engagements. Our model features fewer people touching the account, but each individual on our end wields significant experience and knowledge of each account to resolve situations immediately.

Big-box HR and payroll outsourcing partners may also adopt a personalized service model, but their client engagements usually look very different. Offshore call centers or complex phone trees may keep costs low but add multiple layers when clients seek help. Frustrated clients feel the value of their investment dropping as connecting with their outsourced HR partner becomes increasingly difficult. This dissatisfaction can quickly transfer over to the broker and may end up ultimately compromising your hard-earned relationship.

Clients want answers in real-time, but it is not necessary to sacrifice the human connection by offloading requests onto a ticket-based support model or forcing clients to wait in long queues. With a high-touch service model and attentive HR representatives, it is possible to achieve convenience as well as connection.

Bigger is not always better

Brokers consistently tell us our high-touch service model stands out from other providers, which does not go unnoticed by clients who have switched from big-box partners. Publicly traded outsourced HR and payroll providers may have the ability to shave off some costs, but it comes at the expense of the depth of the engagement.

Since Extensis is privately held, we can closely control our service model and provide tailored solutions to match each client’s unique needs. This personalized service extends to brokers as well. Instead of a volume-driven sales process, we work side-by-side with brokers to help them win clients, who will then remain in their book long-term.

Industry change and growth

Big-box and tech-focused PEOs are developing service models to support their own organizations. It is a calculated wager leveraging the volume of new business they bring in quarterly against any complaints and client attrition.

However, Extensis is heading in the opposite direction. We are expanding our team of experienced HR service managers, so we can provide even more personalized support. HR is about people – whether helping employees, assisting in-house HR departments and company leadership, or helping brokers grow their books.

The answer is clear: no ticketing system or phone tree can compare to the support from an attentive, accessible partner, who understands you and your clients’ goals and personally guides you toward achieving them.

Our expert sales managers are here to help you grow your book of business. Let’s discuss how our tailored HR and payroll outsourcing solutions can help your clients.

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