Balancing Tech And Human Touch

Upgrade Customer Loyalty With Digital Solutions That Feel Personal

New business realities make it essential that you’re working with the right employee benefits provider.

It’s a digital-first-with-everything world. Consumers seek efficiency, which means they may sometimes prefer an online connection in addition to wanting to deal directly with a person. In other words, they want it both ways.

What we’re also seeing is that people are switching brands at a faster clip than ever. According to a McKinsey COVID-19 U.S. Consumer Pulse Survey, 76 percent of respondents experimented with new online shopping behavior.1 That means your competition is ready to meet the moment, even if you aren’t.

Now is the time to evaluate if the experiences you’re delivering reflect a balance between high-tech and high-touch.

For brokers, this is even more complex. As you collaborate with your provider, you want to have faith that their products and services are right for your customers and that their team is as committed to their care as you are.

In today’s plug-and-play world, the customer experience must be fluid, consistent and satisfying. To protect your business, you must ensure that the provider you collaborate with has what it takes to foster, not fray, your client connections. The best advancements are intuitive, feel personal and empower people to pay attention to what matters most—relationships.

Here are three questions to ask when considering that value:

1) Does their digital experience include the human touch?
Of course providers need to automate and provide self-service capabilities, but even these experiences should impart a feeling that real people are involved. Technology has to be personable. This is particularly crucial during the shift from what was in person to all virtual to a hybrid office environment.

At our company we’re human-centered and digitally enabled. We take a holistic view of the customer, whether they’re pulling a self-service report from the portal or calling into our contact center.

One way we’re accomplishing this is by bringing together siloed departments, systems and communication channels. This allows us to share information and cross-coverage customer support, which helps us evaluate our customer needs more quickly and provide better experience, whether via a claims associate or through self-service.

2) Can they provide anytime, anywhere service?
Eight to five doesn’t always cut it anymore. Your business and your customers are looking for service options that work on their schedules. Be sure to evaluate how easy it is to do business with your providers. If it’s hard for you, it’s likely hard for your customers, too.

We are constantly upping our disability tech to help bring our caring approach to every broker and employer interaction. While we pride ourselves on being available “live” when requests arise, we continuously introduce new ways to help authorized users (you and your clients) securely access reports and claim status on your own terms, whether inside or outside normal business hours.

The human touch is central to our new and ongoing claims processing improvements, including reporting and submission capabilities to service our disability solutions. Technology advancements enable our claims team to spend more time with you, your clients and their employees. Technology empowers our people to pay attention to what matters most—your people.

3) Are empathy and efficiency in balance?
Your provider’s system should have a two-way benefit.

For businesses, it must improve accuracy, increase scale and simplify administration. For customers, it must be easy to access, hassle-free and help them solve problems. But no provider, especially in our industry, should be tempted to completely switch to digital and away from “human” completely.

A key to a balanced use of tech is knowing what your customers want in their moments of need. Sometimes they just need the ability to do something themselves; other times they want the comfort and empathy only a caring, competent person can provide. Balancing empathy and efficiency are critical to building relationships with customers in the digital age.

Your provider should embed personal interaction at all levels–from the initial moment of contact with a salesperson, to onboarding a new policy, to claims submission. Employee benefits products are essential; how we deliver around them has to match.


Amy Chinn, vice president, claims operations, employee benefits at OneAmerica, has been involved in the strategy, development and implementation of claims operations for over two decades. She has been with OneAmerica since 2015.

Chinn can be reached via email at