The Business Benefit of Corporate Wellness Initiatives

Almost every American is aware of the significant health care crisis in our country. The problem is overwhelming; a third of all adults are considered obese, 33% more are considered overweight, 5% at the dangerously overweight level, diabetes rates are at an all time high and are increasing.  The majority of Americans lead a sedentary existence, while a significant number of people still smoke despite the obvious consequences.  The health care crisis has resulted in medical insurance premiums growing year over year at a double digit rate.  Companies are now forced to cut back on in-force benefit plans as well as pass increases onto their employees. 

Today, many companies are working with their brokers and insurance carriers on solutions that will help mitigate the annual health insurance increases.  One strategy that is succeeding is the institution of a corporate wellness initiative.  This process starts with the creation of an employee personal wellness profile after completing a detailed health risk assessment.   An individual can then choose self selected education for their own health risks and diet, as well as monitored diet and fitness programs.  There is also the ability to screen for high-risk individuals, and proactively approach them for direct lifestyle modification programs via wellness interventions.

In order to effectively impact positive change, employee involvement in a wellness program must be managed through the use of a corporate incentive plan.  The program must:

  • Offer a reward that motivates an employee to participate.    
  • Be simple to implement and administer.
  • Ensure that every participant who achieves a goal receives recognition. 
  • Promotes your worksite wellness program through branding and active communication (via text, email, IVR & web).

A reloadable MasterCard® or Visa® prepaid card is the easiest, most convenient method of rewarding employees for participating in a corporate wellness initiative.  It’s the perfect way to motivate employees to stay engaged with the a wellness program.

  • The program starts with the construction and customization of a company branded, reloadable prepaid card. 
  • Card designs, messaging, card carriers, inserts, letters, envelopes, and website pages are personalized to deliver tailored and precise communication to all participants.
  • Cards are delivered and include a definitive statement on how employees can earn monies on their card.
  • Additional dollars are dropped on the card as long as the employee meets certain program objectives.
  • Good habits are reinforced via immediate messaging on the card (text, email).

Company leaders must look to their insurance brokers, insurance carriers as well as wellness providers to affect positive change within their employee population.  Empirical evidence now suggests that companies that implement, and adhere to wellness best practices will see a dramatic drop is overall claims.  Companies like National Jewish Health and Staywell offer the statistical evidence that reveals that active participation in a wellness program leads to significantly reduced operating costs (medical claim & short-term disability) as well as an increase in presenteeism.  

On June 24th at 2 pm (EST), there will be a web seminar conducted by National Jewish Health and MasterCard.  The distinguished panel will share insights on the effective use of incentives to encourage broad participation in corporate wellness programs, resulting in significant financial savings.  Anyone interested in participating can contact me, and I will email them the online enrollment information. 

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Amazing Customer Service continues…….

The Orvis Company
Image via Wikipedia

I posted this question on LinkedIn earlier this week.

I have been using Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon Tippet (4x, 5x, 6x) for 18 months without issue. I have landed some very big fish (25″) on utilizing this tippet. On a recent trip, I broke off 3 fish (at the knot, on 4x Mirage tippet) fishing wooly buggers. This has never happened to me before. If I lose a fish, it is because the hooked popped during the fight. After demonstrating the weakened tippet, Orvis offered to exchange the Mirage for MaxKnot (their premium tippet).

• Has anyone had this type of tippet issue? • Has anyone had issues with Mirage tippet specifically?

• Has anyone utilized the MaxKnot before?

• I tie an improved clinch knot from tippet to fly (is there a better knot).

I received fantastic and insightful responses from other fly fisherman.  The most telling feedback came from the Orvis Product Manager in charge of tippet and leader! I was amazed by his thoughtful concern, and willingness to help me work through the issue.  I have always heard about Orvis’ commitment to customer service excellence, but this was the first time I had ever experienced it.

I have decided stick with Orvis tippet, and look forward to testing out the MaxKnot product on my next fishing adventure.

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Capture Consumers, Sustain Loyalty….Drive Incremental Revenue

In a highly competitive retail environment, where the consumer is becoming more and more discerning, it is critical to maintain brand loyalty.  Brand allegiance can be secured, which ultimately guarantees the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) incremental revenue streams.  A customized private label prepaid card is an elegant, and effective tool that rewards buyer commitment, thereby ensuring complete share of wallet.

The Solution

  • As a reward for their purchase, and subsequent product registration, a consumer is sent a fully customized, private label prepaid card.
  • The OEM branded, private label card contains inherent characteristics that will:
    • Restrict end user utilization so loaded monies can only be spent in predetermined brick & mortar or online stores.

Program Results

  • All dollars associated with the loyalty program are funneled back to the OEM in subsequent purchases.
  • Consumer utilizes private label card to justify the purchase of an item costing significantly more than the value of their prepaid card.
  • The OEM immediately ties the reward with the initial purchase thereby ingratiating themselves with the consumer.
  • Consumer feels empowered to immediately spend earned monies on another OEM product.
  • Consumer recognizes who awarded them the card every time they make a purchase thereby strengthening the relationship with the OEM.
  • A private label card levers the Visa/MasterCard infrastructure, so an investment in propriety networks is unnecessary. 
  • The OEM captures consumer profile data during the registration process.

Original Equipment Manufacturers will continue to look for unique ways to differentiate themselves from worthy competitors.  A private label prepaid card can be an effective way to ensure the appropriate consumer devotion to their product lines. 

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Customer Relationship Management: A Necessity for Highly Effective Selling

At 41 (soon to be 42) I have now been a professional sales person or sales leader for over ½ of my life.  I have sold folding cartons, computer systems, implementation consulting services, enterprise software, group insurance and prepaid cards.  My philosophy in approaching any marketplace is simple and straightforward:

  • Attract:

–      Create and track intricate, personalized marketing campaigns that speak to the value your company’s solutions create.

–      Prospect with accuracy and confidence. 

  • Acquire:

–      Sell in a collaborative environment that allows all company constituents (executives, manufacturing, engineering, etc.) to actively participate in the selling process.

  • Extend & Protect:

–      Indentify cross-sell opportunities.

–      Deliver unparalleled client service to ensure long term, mutually beneficial business partnerships….and repeat business. 

–      Create institutional memory that guarantees the historical accuracy of client and prospect interactions.

Selling complex business solutions to multiple constituents inside a prospect/customer organization is time consuming, resource intensive and ultimately fraught with risk.  The danger associated with most engagements centers around opportunity cost; if I (the salesperson) spend the extraordinary effort to engage with a company, am I potentially losing out on another opportunity of similar or higher value? 

Customer Relationship Management software (, Pivotal, MSCRM, Oracle, SAP, etc.) allows an organization (specifically the front office) to efficiently manage the flow and constant interactions associated with an intricate sales cycle.

  • Marketing

–      Integrated marketing and sales application with automated lead conversion

–      Real-time analytics to measure and optimize campaigns for best results

–      Multichannel campaign management (email, direct mail, trade shows etc.) and analysis for a complete marketing solution.

–      Client profiling and lifecycle management.

  • Sales

–      Account Management

–      Contact Management

–      Opportunity Management

–      Activity Management 

–      HTML email management (creation, reporting)

–      Territory Tracking/Permissions

–      Imbedded Action Plans for Best Practices

–      Individual Forecasting

–      Proposal Generation (integrated MS Office)

–      Order Management

–      Commission tracking

–      Collaboration: Team productivity/automating workflow

–      Report on sales activities and effectiveness

–      Integrated Outlook

  • Client Service

–      Issue tracking and resolution tools needed to quickly resolve customer questions, issues, and requests and deliver a high-quality customer experience

  • Management

–      Scalable solutions rapidly integrate with existing applications and hardware investments

–      Immediate report on sales activities and effectiveness

–      Immediate overview of pipeline (group and individual)

–      Immediate forecast of company revenue

–      Creation of corporate best practices to be institutionalized

–      Create a collaborative environment for managing opportunities and service requests

–      Enable employees, partners, and customers to engage in discussions, share files, and manage tasks

A Customer Relationship Management package will NOT, on its own, create demand for or sell a company’s product/solution.  However, A CRM tool will allow a corporation’s talented front office team to maximize their time spent selling the right prospect

As a sales person who sold CRM, implemented CRM and uses CRM on a daily basis, my advice to buyers would be to decide early on if your company really wants to support the application, or should a Software as a Service model be considered?  Managing a CRM system is extraordinarily resource intensive; if you take the application in house, dedicate the appropriate talent.  While researching, do NOT rely on the opinions of industry analysts – they are a shill for any ISV that offers them cash.  Instead, evaluate a subsection of Best of Breed providers, and INVESTIGATE their deployments (both good and bad).  Get a realistic representation of what can be accomplished in a defined time period…..current clients will talk.

If you can justify the investment, have a sales operations person assigned to owning/managing the deployment.   This individual should not only understand the marketplace, but they need to clearly comprehend your company’s specific business.  Once committed, create defined business objectives with an educated resource; this person needs to truly understand CRM, and how your marketing/sales/service processes work. 

Prior to beginning the implementation, set realistic goals and defined milestones with your partners.  Pay the hired partner a retainer up front, and then only compensate them when they achieve agreed-to performance goals.  If the hired company says they can do something pre-sale, hold them accountable post-sale. 

Finally, be selective and demanding when assessing the different vendors in the CRM marketplace.   Once you choose a company, truly partner with the ISV/ implementation provider in order to gain the most return from your CRM investment.

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In the Market for a New Fly Rod & Reel?

I am a consumer that recognizes value, and appreciates great service.  As a new fly fisherman (but a veteran fisherman), I took significant time to research many of the reels, rods and terminal tackle available to me.  As a long time buyer of salt and fresh water products, I expected that quality equipment would cost me plenty.  That said, I did not expect that rods from Sage, Winston, G. Loomis and Orvis would start in the $350 range, and only head north from there.  Available reels from Tibor, Abel and Bauer also came at a high price ($300+).  The challenge for me was to find a rod/reel combination that allowed me to maximize results during my limited time on the water (and at a reasonable price).

My thorough investigation of the fly fishing equipment marketplace brought me to a Colorado based company called Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel.  Historically, I have always supported local businesses that produce good products, and offer superior service.  The online reviews on Elkhorn equipment were very positive (and the price was right) so I purchased an Elkhorn Butler Series rod (5 weight), and armed it with an Elkhorn T2 reel.  Over the last 18 months, I have fished many rivers in Colorado and Wyoming; enjoying some of the best waters in the country.  The weather (snow, rain and wind) I have fished in has pushed me and my equipment to the limit.  Put to frequent tests, my Elkhorn rod/reel has performed extraordinarily well.  My Butler series rod allows me to quickly notice subtle strikes while nymphing.  The T-2’s (reel) drag system becomes noticeably relevant as a 22” rainbow rushes down stream with a small nymph clinging to the corner of her mouth.  I have been so impressed with Elkhorn products that I purchased 2 more reels (T-1 and MA-2) and the complementary rods (Traveler Series).

During my last trip to the North Platte River, I fell while trying to net a fish.  While I did eventually land the fish, I unfortunately dinged up my rod.  I asked Elkhorn to evaluate the rod, in order to determine if the structure remained sound.  Brian Chavet, the owner of Elkhorn, actually called me to discuss his findings after thoroughly testing the rod’s integrity.  It is that type of service (and expertise) that will keep me a long-time Elkhorn customer.

If you are in the market for a new setup, I suggest you evaluate the equipment from Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel.

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Working Hard so I can Hunt, Fish and Golf