benefitexpress September 20, 2019 5 min read

How to Conduct a Reference Check for Benefits Administration Providers

Vendor reference check questions

You've made the request for a proposal, completed a software demo and perhaps even conducted several finalist meetings. That's great! You're well on your way to switching benefits administration providers or choosing a ben admin partner for the first time.

Now that you've narrowed down your selection to the final few, conducting a reference check is the next step.

As human resources and benefits professionals, you're no stranger to checking references — but vendor reference checks have a slightly different protocol. After all, you're evaluating an entire system, not an individual or department. That means you'll want to speak with clients of the benefits vendor(s) being considered.

Be prepared! The referral check is your opportunity to gain assurance that the benefits software in question can successfully perform as you need it to and, ultimately, save you time in the long run. Check out these vendor reference check questions we've compiled below.

Below are some important questions to ask when conducting a vendor reference check:

  1. How are you using this vendor/technology?
  2. Why did you select this provider over others?
  3. Did the vendor stay within the approved timeline/budget?
  4. What is your relationship like with the vendor? Do you consider them a partner in your success?
  5. Describe the implementation process and team.
  6. What tasks were you responsible for completing during implementation?
  7. How do they cooperate with other vendors? For example, integration partners?
  8. Do they maintain clear communications and engagement throughout project deadlines?
  9. Would you select this provider again knowing what you know today?
  10. Is there anything else you can share that may help us make a decision?

Survey several current clients (if possible) and compare answers. Not every client will have the same experience, and some may have more insightful feedback than others.

Don't forget — this is your chance to talk with people who have similar perspectives, challenges, and goals as you — meaning their experience with this vendor and their technology is something to consider. Likewise, don't let the vendor reference check be a deal breaker. Always discuss your concerns with the the benefit administration provider in question before making a final decision.

Closing thoughts - don't forget the people

While technology is important when choosing a benefits administration provider, it is secondary. A reference check is also an opportunity to review the team and the people you will have supporting you from implementation to Open Enrollment.

Keep in mind that benefit admin software is only as good as the team that is accountable for the configuration, support and delivery, and should be a major consideration when making a decision. Our highly trained, low-turnover and benefit-wise staff can address the most complex benefits issues and advise on best practices, providing unique solutions to the challenges.

Have more questions on how to select a benefits administration provider or wondering how to make the switch to a new platform? Check out our e-book that details best practices and what to look for in a benefits administration partner as well as how benefitexpress makes it easy to switch providers.