Some people see a challenge as a challenge. For others, like Help On Demand’s now-President John Kurath, it’s an opportunity. While we were born for the insurance industry, we have found there are many other industries who can use the Help On Demand technology.
As one example, back when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the time in which Consumers could shop for, decide on and enroll in a healthcare plan, or change plans, went from any time during the year to a several-month open enrollment period. The healthcare and insurance systems were somewhat fragmented, and only had so much capacity to connect Consumers with brokers who could then help them connect with the right plans. The challenge was fueled by the fact that so many brokers were independent contractors so you never knew their availability. John saw the rigors of the first two open enrollment periods and knew there had to be a better way—and ultimately a better, more efficient Consumer experience.
Two questions immediately came to mind: How do we do 12 months of work in two months and make sure we are helping Consumers in the best way possible? And how do we help health insurance marketplaces match Consumers with an Expert who is available right now? Then, inspiration from another sector: The U.S. power grid and its energy shift. When it’s still cool in Colorado in April, for instance, Florida and California are heating up and people are turning on their air. Then in November when Colorado is seeing snow and people are turning up the heat, weather in Florida and California is moderate. It’s a network approach to load balancing the capacity issue. Then, a thought: There was enough capacity in the insurance industry, but it was not organized so that Consumers were getting help when they needed it and how they wanted it.
With that, the solution to the challenge—the Help On Demand concept—was born. From the very beginning, the vision was to create a system that would connect people faster—when and how they preferred to be connected with. It was originally developed and launched for healthcare exchanges in an industry in which John and others who quickly joined him had decades of combined experience and knew they could have the greatest immediate impact. Yet, it is a concept that truly transcends companies in all professional service industries with fragmented customer service and distribution or independent contractors.
It’s also a concept that meets or even exceeds the “on-demand” expectations of today’s Consumers who know if they want to buy a pair of shoes, they can go online, order and receive them the same or next day. Or if they need a ride, they can order one to arrive at their location within minutes.
Years later, that’s what Help On Demand continues to refine and deliver—Expert help for consumer referrals within seconds.