Purchasing Power A Better Way To Buy
August 2014

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News From Purchasing Power
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4 Ways to Communicate Your Benefits like a Marketer

You take the time to carefully vet the benefits you offer to your employees/members. You do your best to provide awareness by posting flyers in common areas, sending emails, updating your intranet, and sending direct mail.

But the participation rates you want may remain elusive. These tips from our recent webinar with World at Work can help you drive participation.

1. Communicate the value, not the cost. The traditional way of communicating benefits focused just on how much the employee/member would have to pay out of pocket. Generally, it’s very matter-of-fact and doesn’t provide a broader context of why the benefit is useful or how it is going to help them. 

Good marketers know that people care more about value than cost: Will it make my life easier? Give me an advantage that I wouldn’t have otherwise? Help me meet my goals? Putting benefits in context of real-life scenarios can help your employees keep value, not cost at the top of their minds.

2. Make it personal. You can have the most amazing benefits package in your industry, but it won't matter if your audience doesn't understand them. Translate jargon into the language your employees/members use every day. In some cases, this may literally mean translating it into another language such as Spanish. More often, it will just require you to explain what an HDHP or long term disability insurance are in terms that connect concretely with a person's budget and lifestyle.

3. Use multiple channels. As mentioned earlier, you probably already use flyers, emails and company intranet to communicate your benefits. But have you considered video or infographics? What about group meetings and individual one-on-one meetings? Because we all learn differently, we all need different ways to absorb information.

4. Repurpose your materials. If you’re thinking that multiple communication channels may be more than you have the bandwith to handle, then think about repurposing what you’ve already created. Start with your core piece, maybe your intranet site. Pull out the key points for an infographic or video. Rearrange the content so it’s more suited to printing and use that for your flyers. This approach will save you both time and money.

For more on how you can communicate benefits like a marketer, view the full webinar on demand here.

*Requires World at Work registration



Which Cities Have the Most Engaged Employees?

Each year, Quantum Workplace releases its Employee Engagement Trends Report, which covers the data they collect through their Best Places to Work contest. In this year’s report, they revealed which cities have the most engaged employees.

As it turns out, the most engaged cities are in the South.:

  1. Huntsville, 77.6%
  2. Miami-Dade, 74.7%
  3. Nashville, 74.4%
  4. Austin, 74.2%
  5. San Antonio, 73.5%

The cities with the least engaged employees are in the West and Midwest:

  1. Lincoln, 57.1%
  2. Kansas City, 59.6%
  3. Minneapolis/St. Paul, 60.7%
  4. Albuquerque, 61.2%
  5. Las Vegas, 61.3%

The good news, is no matter where you’re located, employee engagement has improved across the board. The national average for all employees is 68 percent, nearly equal to the pre-recession rate of 68.1 percent.

View Quantum’s full report here.

*In order to be considered for this list, cities had to have at least 70 organizations participate in the Best Places to Work contest.



Providing a World-Class Customer Experience

By Jonathan Chalker, VP of Customer Experience

Purchasing Power is always looking for the next improvement that will take our customer experience to a new level. Our mission is to make sure your employees/members will have a seamless experience when they purchase with us but we also recognize there are a few more intricacies to our business than with the average eCommerce company. With this in mind, we place a tremendous focus on provision of support when customers hit an unexpected snag. We have put two new programs in place to provide greater customer satisfaction.

Early this summer, our Customer Care Team took on Learning and Development expert, Ericka Butler, to redevelop our training and refine our knowledge management effort. She has completed the first series of upgrades, which were applied in the most recent three training classes with very encouraging results. Our previous learning program was driven by a comprehensive manual and delivered in a very instructional environment, where trainees would essentially receive a large download of information then attempt to put it into practice. Ericka immediately realized that we needed to incorporate Adult Learning Theory. She eliminated the bulky manual in favor of a streamlined workbook that places much more emphasis on problem-solving techniques and firsthand experience of common situations our customers might encounter.

The program makes it easier for our reps to find the right answers within our knowledge base instead of relying on memory. This is especially important given the frequency of change in our procedures, products, and services. Another important aspect of this program is the recognition that learners retain information so much better if they can quickly put the skills into relevant practice. Our new program delivers information in small, easily digestible modules. Our reps are placed into realistic scenarios very early in the learning process and, as a team, talk about the challenges and successes they experience, reinforcing the most effective strategies and creating awareness of the potential hurdles. We’ve also doubled the duration of training to accommodate this extra practice.

Another new way we drive continuous improvement is through our Customer Experience (CX) Team, which uses sophisticated business process monitoring techniques (sort of like seismography or weather forecasting) to sense problems our customers might encounter. This team partners with departments across the organization to drive a resolution often before any customer is impacted by an issue. In cases where some customers did have a negative experience, the CX Team accurately measures and broadcasts the customer impact including all relevant factors and root causes. This brings transparency of all concerns to every Purchasing Power employee, fostering accountability and ownership to prevent the issues from repeating in the future. Our CX Team has been active for a couple months now and has already brought several key observations that will lead to meaningful improvements in the very near future.

As our Learning and CX programs build out their full capabilities, Purchasing Power is getting into a rhythm that will continue to bring winning experiences to your employees/members.



New Product Categories

Our mission has always been to provide consumers with the big (and sometimes small) things that improve their quality of life. After carefully watching industry trends and listening to feedback from our customers, we now offer an assortment of Home Medical Equipment and Pet Products. We have also expanded our Personal Care category. Those of you who offer our full catalog will see these new categories starting August 29th.

Please contact your Account Executive for more details.



Purchasing Power Has Been Named to the Inc. 5000 for the 7th Year in a Row    

Since we started in 2001, we have seen tremendous growth, thanks to clients like you. We are also members of the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll.

With three-year revenue of 73%, we’ve celebrated many milestones just in the last year: we’ve now sold over 1 million orders and processed more than 20 million payroll deductions and allotments. “It’s gratifying to know that we have become accepted by human resources professionals as a way to reduce employee financial stress, improve job satisfaction, and retention,” said Richard Carrano, Purchasing Power President and CEO.

We will continue to innovate and lead the pack when it comes to employee purchase programs. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.



Changes to Maximum Order Limits

As part of our goal to provide your employees/members with a responsible way to access the products and services that help them meet their personal and professional goals. Customers will now be able to order only twice in one month, as opposed to a set amount each year.

This keeps them from overspending and allows them to plan their purchases more carefully. With the previous method, they were able to reach their maximum in a short period, potentially overextending themselves. We will continue to explore ways to make our program a strong financing alternative for your employees/members.



Come Say “Hi” at These Upcoming Tradeshows

If you’re attending the Employee Benefit News Benefits Forum & Expo and/or the Employee Benefit Advisor Workplace Benefits Summit in Boca Raton in September, be sure to catch the Purchasing Power offerings!  In addition to our booth in the exhibit hall, Chief Revenue Officer Elizabeth Halkos is the featured speaker at the Industry Innovation Luncheon on Tuesday, September 30, discussing “Death by Cubicle: How Financial Stress and Poor Work-Life Balance Are Killing Your Bottom Line.”

Here’s a run-down of our exhibit hall presence over the next two months:

Employers Healthcare & Benefits Congress

Voluntary Benefit Conference

Washington, DC

September 20-24

Booth #725

ASHHRA Annual Conference & Expo

Chicago, IL

September 28-29

Booth #120

Benefits Forum & Expo

Boca Raton, FL

September 29-October 1

Booth #601



Yes, We’re Already Thinking About 2015

And so are you, probably. As you begin planning for next year, please send your payroll calendar to your Account Executive. Sending it will help us anticipate when you’ll send your remittance file and spot issues with the operations of your account before they occur.



In This Issue
4 Ways to Communicate Your Benefits like a Marketer

Which Cities Have the Most Engaged Employees?

Providing a World-Class Customer Experience

New Product Categories

Purchasing Power Has Been Named to the Inc. 5000 for the 7th Year in a Row

Changes to Maximum Order Limits

Come Say “Hi” at These Upcoming Tradeshows

Yes, We’re Already Thinking About 2015

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