Four Reasons Interactive Conversations Beat Videos

Mark Rader Benefits Communication, Industry Insights

Interactive conversationsIf you’re thinking about investing in a newer, more engaging way to communicate benefits to your employees, you’ve probably come across two types of solutions to the problem: customized benefits videos and interactive benefits conversations…yep, like ALEX.

So what makes the interactive conversation format better, in our humble opinion?

Here are four concrete proof points:

1. Unlike videos, interactive conversations engage every single employee one-on-one.

No matter how bite-sized or entertaining a video is, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a one-size-fits-all monologue. A video shows and tells the same stuff to its entire audience, and you either sit there and watch it…or you feel disengaged and bail.

Interactive conversations, on the other hand, are able to engage employees as unique individuals, with unique health care needs. A virtual benefits expert (with an appealing, engaging voice, I might add):

  • Talks to each person one-on-one
  • Asks questions in order to understand their personal health care needs
  • Responds naturally to answers
  • Offers recommendations tailored to every individual after everything has been wrapped up.

And because interactive conversations build in opportunities for employees to skip past stuff they already know, or ask for more information on the stuff they don’t, employees can spend as much or little time as they need with ALEX to understand their benefits.

(Check out where the principles behind the ALEX experience come from…by downloading our free classic eBook, Curing Benefits Bewilderment.)

2. Unlike videos, interactive conversations are uniquely built to drive measurable behavior change (like moving employees to HDHPs).

Deciding to make any kind of big change is an emotional process–and choosing benefits is no exception.

Usually, the first step in the process is: we get a little nervous. Right? We worry about misunderstanding things, making the wrong choice, and kicking ourselves later. So…to prevent our future selves from feeling foolish, we seek out information in the present that will not only clear up our anxiety and confusion, but also reassure us that the choice we’re about to make is RIGHT FOR US, even if that reassurance is just confirming what we were pretty sure we already knew.

While videos can provide all kinds of plan details, they’re simply not equipped to get people past their reservations–and reassure them that, say, a HDHP is actually the best plan for them and their family–the way interactive conversations can. Because interactive conversations allow employees to input their relevant information, see side-by-side plan comparisons based on that information, and get more information about concepts that others might already understand, they come out of the experience feeling confident and more willing to make the leap into a new plan that’s both cost-effective for them and your company.

3. Because interactive benefits conversations involve a life-like back and forth exchange, they are quantifiably better at getting employees engaged about benefits topics–and then keeping them engaged.

According to behavioral science studies, only half of the population generally makes it all the way through a two-minute video. Whereas users spend an average of seven minutes with an ALEX conversation.

Why the huge difference? Well, when employees feel as though they’re actually participating in a lively conversation with someone (even a virtual someone) who’s smart and seems genuinely concerned about them understanding their benefits, they’re far less likely to bail out of the experience and go watch that waterskiing squirrel video for the 15th time.

Instead, they feel connected and supported, and keep clicking and learning until they reach the end.

4. Some interactive conversations (cough) are also more engaging than videos because they were created by experts in entertainment and behavioral science.

Before developing ALEX in 2009, Jellyvision was most famous for being the creator of the wildly popular (and entertaining and educational) virtual trivia game YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, which sold 5 million copies and won over 50 major awards.

Just as YDKJ did so well, ALEX also makes people smarter (about benefits in this case, not Shakespeare or Scooby Doo) all while keeping them entertained and fully engaged.

The fun and geeky programmers, artists, writers, project managers, and behavioral science gurus who make ALEX every year think long and hard about, say, the best way to organize the flow of information so people don’t feel overwhelmed. Or how to turn insurance gobbledegook into plain English. Or where to review a bit of information. Or exactly what humorous moments will put employees into the kind of relaxed mood proven to make human beings (like you and me) process information better than when we’re stressed out.

Put another way, companies that produce interactive benefits conversations share a belief that world-class employee benefits communications are both an art and a science.

And the key to making both the art and the science reap amazing results is creating a felt experience of real human interaction between employees and a benefits expert who is super helpful and also fun to hang out with. You know, kind of like you.

Want to know more about the ALEX approach to benefits communication?

Download our popular eBook The Ultimate Open Enrollment Communications Playbook