Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Crystal

Too much hand holding!

Recommended Posts

Guest Crystal

Does anyone have experience with company contacts/hr staff that just seem incapable of understanding the plan process? We have one contact that calls at least once a day (frequently more often) to ask the same question she asked the day before. We pride ourselves on delivering high quality service but we're spending an inordinate amount of time with this one contact and are extremely frustrated. We met with her at our office when she was hired and explained how the plan works, and now, over a month later, she's still every bit as confused as ever. Not sure how to handle this without making the owner mad but we're a small firm and this lady is eating into time we just don't have. We don't bill by the hour and we're wondering if this is just one case where we're going to have to accept the loss as part of doing business this way.

[This message has been edited by Crystal (edited 03-11-99).]

[This message has been edited by Crystal (edited 03-11-99).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like this new employee is overwhelmed by many new duties on a new job. If caring for the plan is this person's only task, then perhaps they have hired a person not completely qualified. Maybe you could suggest this employee complete the PA1 series from ASPA.

If this employee has duties other than the qualified plan, PA1 may still be a good suggestion, but a new office, new procedures, new faces and add qualified plan duties (complicated) could easily be overwhelming for a new person.

Good Luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Crystal

Dan, I've considered paying for a class for this person out of my own pocket! So far as this being her only responsibility, I know that she handles payroll, hiring and the 401(k), but she also intimated that she had been responsible for her previous employer's 401(k) plan. Maybe she was exagerating but her business card has the PHR designation on it and I guess I just expected her to know AT LEAST the basics. Thanks for your suggestions! We appreciate the input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Pat

One of the most successful seminars we ever did was designed for client workerbees. We covered plan basics, where to find answers to questions, which advisors to call and when, how the plan was processed, what all the paper was for and why important, what to save and where to file it, participant questions and when and how to answer, and the people in the office and their roles. We did some fun role playing, ate and simply had a good time. It turned out to be great PR and a loyalty bond. Even as some of the seminar participants moved on to other jobs, they got their new employer to switch to our services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nancy Lorenzen

First of all, I would like to commend the firm that sponsored a seminar for workerbees. Excellent process tool as well as marketing.

Since a seminar takes several months to plan, my suggestion for the immediate situation at hand would be to spend some time with your client in her environment. I have always had a better understanding once I have spent about a half day with someone in their workspace on an informal basis.

One thing that happens when someone is taking an inordinate amount of your time (time=your most valuable asset) is that your frustration can easily translate into resentment of the individual. In 1993, I resolved to overcome this factor by finding something to SINCERELY admire in each of the people that I found frustrating on a professional level. Sometimes it is simply their dedication to being a mother or father. Sometimes it is the fact that they achieve a better balance between work and fun than I do. How do you uncover these things? Simply ask the person what they spend their time doing when they are not working. The result has been that I have a newfound respect for all kinds of people, not just the people who are "just like me". In terms of doing business, some of "those people" have become my closest professional friends and most loyal clients.

Hope this helps, I know we can all relate.

------------------

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Daily401k

And if all that does not work....

Begin charging by the hour for your time. Believe it or not, people will sometimes take advantage of your hard work! If you continually do her job, and do it for free, then she is simply smarter than the rest of us. I would love to get paid and do not work. Plan sponsors will wake up once you hit them in their wallet. Obviously this needs to be done professionaly and all cost should be discussed up front. We are all in business to make money. We all have families to feed! Good Luck, I've been there....

------------------

daily401k@mailcity.com

Now You Know

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest EDSAADE

Whenever possible have her submit her requests in writing(i.e. fax,e-mail,letter.) This will force rethinking of issues, creates additional work for her and enables both of you to maintain log of requests. By responding in the same manner and with the urgency the situation dictates, you can add to her reference manual. If a similar request is submitted refer her to previously dated response. Most important is the fact that now you have a supporting trail if you have to speak with her boss or if you have to increase fees to cover additional incurred time.

It has worked for me in the past...

Good Luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JAMESB

SDAADE has a great suggestion. I would also start tracking time spent with this person. At some time a decision will have to be made as to whether this is a profitable client or not. It is almost a given that if you go to the business owner with this problem, even if you are right, you will lose the client. He probably will say I pay you for this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest pensiondoc

I'm usually the first person to be sympathetic to client needs, but enough is enough. If this person is eaating into your profits, you've got to find a nice way to tell them so. So many people think we, as pension consultants are non-profit institutions.

When I take on a new client, specifically a 401(K) client where the urge is to call the TPA more than any other plan, I tell the client my fee for the annualy administration is $X and this includes a certain number of telephone calls, spending a certain amount of time ( YOU decide how much). Any interaction over and above this level will cost $Y.

You'd be surprised how short-lived your problems will be!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...