Top Tips for Letting Technology Help You Serve Your Customers Better

Written by on 4/19/2017 2:10 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Smart small business owners nationwide are taking advantage of technology to better serve clients. In this week’s business tips, we’ll take a look at some of this amazing technology, and how it’s improving the customer service process.

Today’s Top Business Tech Includes…

  • CRM Systems
    Customer relationship management apps like Insightly or ZohoCRM are for more than sales and marketing, offering the ability to create customized tickets/cases that link directly to accounts/contacts in the system.
  • Help Desk
    Service desk apps such as ZenDesk, Freshdesk offer a slightly deeper form of CRM systems, allowing for the assignment of tickets to specific staff members.
  • Chat Services
    Chat apps like Zopim or Live Chat offer fast, round-the-clock customer service access directly from your website, alerting service personnel when needed. Some even auto-integrate conversation history into Help Desk/CRM systems.
  • Knowledge Databases
    “Knowledge bases” like Desk and Answerbase take a lot of time to setup, inputting problems and answers commonly addressed by your team. However they can provide customers fast, cost-effective access to answers – sans support rep.
  • Communication Tools
    Slack, Microsoft Yammer and HipChat provide text, instant messaging and integration with most email systems, allowing employees to easily communicate via desktop or mobile apps, saving conversations for easy retrieval/review, and allowing real time sharing, dialogue, and video chat for the collaborative solution of problems.
  • Remote Connection
    Apps like LogMeIn, GoToMyPC and Join.me give tech support personnel the ability to remotely access and control a client’s system to see issues and solve problems.
Do you have the business tips you need to remain competitive? From workers comp to worker productivity, find the industry’s top tools with Minnesota Comp Advisor today. 


Be Sensitive - Getting an Injured Employee Back to Work

Written by on 4/17/2017 2:13 AM in , , , . It has 0 Comments.

It's a well-understood fact, getting employees back to work is a great way to manage workcomp insurance expenses. But are you pushing too hard?

Changing the Tide
Of the 70-80% of companies engaged in return-to-work programs, many are pushing these programs more aggressively in recent years due to their benefits: BLS data shows declines in virtually all major occupational injury and illness rates. OSHA shows these programs, combined with improved safety measures and more rigorous care, have put the brakes on runaway costs. Since the mid-1980s, more and more workers are returning to work before fully healing, engaging in restricted work regimens with temporary assignments, shortened hours, and job modifications. But how soon is too soon?

Pushing the Limits
With the ever-growing push to get people back on the job, controversy has arisen with emotional pitfalls-a-plenty. ‘Aggressive’ and ‘early’ return-to-work programs alongside ‘light-duty’ assignments are causing workplace brouhahas, to be replaced with more PC, less emotionally-charged verbiage and procedures.

Ensuring a Smooth Return

  • Proactively devise - and refer to - written policies for return-to-work procedures, understanding that they take time. Educate all managers, supervisors, and employees on the return-to-work policy and expectations.
  • Sell supervisors/management, who can make or break programs, and must understand the return on investment versus lost time and financial drains effecting job security.
  • Be careful not to seemingly ‘harass’ workers in your efforts to control costs.
  • Choose meaningful (not coddling or embarrassing) transitional assignments – and don’t devise them last-minute.
  • Ensure all parties, from the employee to their physician and supervisor, are on-board.

Looking for new ways to manage workcomp insurance expenses? Take a load off with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.


Are Opioids Effective for Treating Non-Cancer Pain?

Written by on 4/12/2017 2:56 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

In today’s addiction-riddled, drug obsessed world, employee health management regimes continue to place opioid use for chronic, non-cancer pain (CNCP) under the microscope for efficacy. Does it really work? And if so, do benefits outweigh risks? Or are the use of these drugs merely a shot in the dark, prescribed by physicians with a lack of evidence-based alternatives?

Opioid misuse on the one hand, undertreated pain on the other
CNCP is common, affecting 10-20% of adults, particularly the elderly. There exists to-date no singly effective drug or drug group that works well for its alleviation. NSAIDs are viewed as dangerous and often avoided, other licensed medicines are prohibitively expensive, and non-drug protocols are few, with scant evidence of efficacy, leaving opioid use to soar.

Does that mean they work?
While there will be some who get demonstrable pain relief with opioids without experiencing long-term harm or side effects, evidence is weak - opioids should not be the drug of choice for chronic pain. Consideration must be given to treating pain while avoiding risks - without taking sides in the national debate. A decision to exclude them a priori would appear based on ignorance/fear - not science.

A sensible approach
The situation here is no different than in others where a small number of individuals benefit immensely but most do not – a chance for pain relief should be given - albeit at sensible dosages, and alongside non-drug options, until efficacy is verified. High-doses and long-term use must be avoided to circumvent adverse risks, allowing those who can benefit to do so.

Current employee health management tactics seem risky? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today.


Life Changing Injuries - One Woman's Story

Written by on 4/10/2017 2:53 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

In a surreal transformation from healer to victim, a once healthy physiotherapist finds herself suffering the injuries she once treated, showing when it comes to employees and injuries, there’s nothing quite like walking in someone else’s shoes...

A Life-Changing Moment
Cycling to work, Alison Lyddon saw a car turn in front of her – and knew there was no escape. She came to underneath the automobile, which had to be hydraulically lifted off her body. Transported to Royal London major trauma center by ground ambulance, she was terrifyingly aware she could be at-risk for spinal cord injury and permanent paralysis.

The Turning of the Tables
Diagnostics on arrival revealed a crushed fourth-vertebrae and spinal cord damage, affecting sensation and muscle command of Lyddon’s arms and legs. An operation re-purposed a bone from her hip, placing it into her neck to reform the vertebrae. Transformed from healer to victim, she awoke completely vulnerable, unable to move, feed, or wash herself.

A New Path
Family and friends gathered, overwhelming Lyddon with compassion as she began the arduous 10-week journey she had previously helped her patients surmount, her body morphing into a form she wasn’t sure if she could rely on. Rushing back to work (administrative duties) following recovery, she failed to process the full emotional trauma of the incident. Eventually crumbling, then withdrawing to process, she later returned to her much-loved profession, but not to the frontline – teaching and inspiring future physiotherapists and sharing valuable insight for those unfamiliar with such traumatic injuries.

Don’t oversimplify the complicated dynamics of employees and injuries. Get the on-point help you need from the experts at Minnesota Comp Advisor today.


Tips for Safe Storage and Disposal of Unneeded Opioid Medication

Written by on 4/5/2017 2:00 AM in , . It has 0 Comments.

Opioids, powerful pain relievers that block pain signals in the brain, are commonly prescribed for suffering workcomp insurance pain patients. Unfortunately they present a huge addiction risk, can be deadly in even moderate amounts, and are widely abused, representing a significant family and public safety concern. Proper storage and disposal of these medications is essential.

Safe Storage
Safely store opioids by keeping them in their original packaging, and storing them in a lockbox or locked cabinet that is not easily accessible. Record each dose to carefully track amounts. If someone steals your medication, contact the police immediately and file a report.

Safe Disposal

Community Take-Back Programs
The DEA sponsors national take-back days, which are listed on their website, as well as safe disposal information for drugs. Your local waste management department or city or county office may also offer take-back programs within your community.

Flushing
Because opioid pain patches can be deadly to children, pets, and those with low opioid tolerances, the FDA always recommends the immediate flushing of leftovers. Simply fold in half and flush. Pill forms also come with flushing recommendations to prevent unintentional or illegal consumption, however not all communities support flushing.

Trash Disposal (Where Flushing is Not Allowed)
For those communities that frown on flushing, leave medicine in its original container and remove all personal information from prescription bottles. Add water to solid pills, then another unpalatable substance (coffee grounds, kitty litter . . .), capping and sealing with duct tape and further placing the bottles in a second, unmarked container.

 

Help your workcomp insurance patients protect their families and community. Post these safe disposal tips from Minnesota Comp Advisor in your workplace today.


Chronic Pain - The Invisible Illness with Big Impact on the Workplace

Written by on 4/3/2017 2:08 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

Are you overlooking the needs of workcomp insurance pain patients? A common occurrence with chronic pain sufferers, whose pain and symptoms are mostly invisible, these individuals often ­feel alone and disconnected from a world in which they are constantly on the outside looking in. Coping – simply trying to get by moment-to-moment – further results in an introverted response that cuts off such sufferers from friends and loved ones even more, invoking their self-protective nature. How can you help such individuals reach out?

Five Olive Branches for Chronic Pain Sufferers:

1. Help pain sufferers feel connected by reaching out any way possible, from a quick text or social media message to more in-depth (and crucial) in-person, phone, or video-messaging conversations. Simply listening shows suffers they are not alone.

2. Be flexible, arranging both work and home-life activities around “good” and “bad” times of the day or days of the week. You’ll gain the advantages of those truly “good” moments, far lessening the stress, grief, and pressures of “forcing it” through the bad ones.

3. Help them amass a “travel triage” including heat pads, ice packs, cushions, support, or other essentials to make work and leisure activities outside the home more comfortable. (You may need to plan ahead and get creative, depending on the event.)

4. Add music to your arsenal. Though not a direct connection, music keeps spirits lifted, aids in coping, and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.

5. Let them play the “me” card, shutting out the world as necessary to manage pain needs.

 

Unite your workforce and bring peace and courage to workcomp insurance pain patients with these and other tips from Minnesota Comp Advisor today.


Closing the Pipeline from Workplace Injury to Opioid Addiction - April 5, 2017 Seminar

Written by on 3/29/2017 3:59 AM in , , , , . It has 0 Comments.

Like a runaway freight train, the opioid addiction epidemic in America continues to gain speed. It's destroying lives, decimating families and communities, and overwhelming emergency response centers, hospital rooms and morgues. The death toll continues to rise daily. Sadly, many unknowingly contribute to this destruction. From business accidents to medical personnel fueling the fire with legal prescription painkillers, it’s time to close off the pipeline to addiction, beginning in the workplace.

Prevent Opioid Addiction in the Workplace: Join Us in the Battle
From 8am-12:30pm, Wednesday April 5, 2017, please join us for a free seminar at the DoubleTree Bloomington Minneapolis South (7800 Normandale Blvd) for breakfast and a discussion on “Closing the Pipeline from Workplace Injury to Opioid Addiction.”

With Presenting Speakers:

  • Leslie "Lexi" Reed Holtum
    Executive Director, Lobbyist, Steve Rummler Hope Foundation
    Once Steve Rummler’s fiancé and integral to the passage of Steve’s Law, as well as ensuring the access of first responders to the resources necessary to uphold it, Lexi’s past Washington D.C. testimonies have been pivotal for pushing changes to current prescribing practices, addiction treatment, and resources. In long-term recovery from the disease of addiction herself, she offers an in-depth, multi-faceted perspective of the opioid epidemic.
  • Christopher Johnson, MD
    Allina Health

    Also on the medical advisory committee and board of directors for the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, Dr. Johnson also chairs the Minnesota Department of Human Services Opioid Prescribing Work Group.
  • James S. Pikala, Attorney
    Arthur Chapman

    Area attorney with over 30 years’ experience in workers’ comp laws.
  • Phil Walls, RPh
    Chief Clinical Officer, myMatrixx

    Clinical pharmacist, with over 35 years of experience in benefits and workers’ comp.

Fight opioid addiction in the workplace. Tailored to CFOs, risk managers, HR staff, medical providers and insurance professionals; reserve your seat today by calling Mary at 612-236-1771. Hurry, space is limited!


Top Technologies for Improving Customer Service

Written by on 3/27/2017 2:01 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Smart business owners are turning to technology to deliver the fastest, most reliable customer service possible. Do you have the business tech tips you need to take advantage of these tremendous resources?

Don’t Miss Out On the Benefits of These Top Technologies:

  • Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) Applications
    Good CRM systems go beyond sales and marketing to encompass a broader customer tracking scope, linking support/problem tickets directly to accounts/contacts to get your staff on the ball before initiating contact. Never seen them? Check out Insightly or ZohoCRM.
  • Help Desk
    Service Desk applications offer a more amped-up CRM experience, with products such as ZenDesk and Freshdesk providing automation capabilities. A customer may submit their own support request from your website (or an employee can internally), which the system automatically schedules to the correct person/department based on the issue. Landline and mobile phone integration is also possible.
  • Chat
    Applications like Zopim or Live Chat help deliver the instantaneous answers today’s customers crave. (Sync with Help Desk or CRM for a data trail.)
  • Knowledge Management
    Knowledge base products like Desk and Answerbase take a while to setup – you must transfer all your business “knowledge” to these databases. However they offer customers fast access to answers, preventing cost/time sucks on your customer service/support staff.
  • Communication
    Options like Slack, Microsoft Yammer and HipChat allow for easy communication/integration between desktop and mobile devices – and save conversations.
  • Remote Connection
    Allows you to access customer tech remotely to more efficiently fix issues.
Hook up with the right tools and move to the head of the pack with the help of these business tech tips from your friends at Minnesota Comp Advisor.


High WorkComp Insurance Rates Impact More Than Just California

Written by on 3/22/2017 2:57 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


Findings in a recent report on workman's compensation insurance premiums in the Golden State show premiums continue to grow at double-digit rates. And California isn’t the only state where businesses are being hit hard by increases.

Mixed News
The report looked at developing trends in the wake of the state’s massive work comp reforms, including the impact of California Senate Bill 863. Though only 12% of the workforce, the state’s workers’ comp written premium adds up to more than a quarter of the nationwide total. The positive news: Rates aren’t much higher than they were nearly 40 years ago, and less than half what they were before 2003 reforms; The ugly: They’re on the rise.

Why So High?
Similar to the rest of the country, California’s rising premiums are a result of higher premium rates and growth in insured payroll resulting from economic growth and wage increases. What puts California at the top? The state has the highest frequency of permanent disability claims, and among the highest medical and benefits delivery costs. Higher treatment costs resulting from prolonged treatment and a rate of permanent disability claims more than twice the national median also did not help matters. An aberration in the claims frequencies in L.A. is driving the trend. Nix L.A. – and California would be similar to the rest of the country.

SB 863 Also Mixed Bag
Intended to reduce litigation costs, SB 863 has been somewhat thwarted by expedited hearings and increased Independent Medical Reviews, with medical cost savings (greater-than-projected), offset by losses to frictional costs.

Workman's compensation insurance rates getting painful? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Contact us today.


Benefits as a Share of Payroll Continue Downward Despite Rising Employer Costs

Written by on 3/20/2017 3:04 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.


The nation’s workman's compensation insurance program provides for medical coverage for injured workers, as well as cash benefits for those whose injuries prevent them from returning to work. Paid for by employers with no deductions taken from employee paychecks, a recent study points to employers paying out continually increasing costs, despite historically low levels of benefits payouts overall.

The Cold Hard Facts:

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) 19th annual “Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs” report, despite growth in employment since the 2008 recession, coinciding with a rise in employees covered by workers’ comp, benefits per $100 share of payroll fell from $0.97 in 2013 to $0.91 in 2014 alone, continuing a national downward trend to beat 80's era levels.

Benefits Declined in 46 States from 2010-2014: 

WorkComp per $100 of Covered Payroll 2014 Dollar Change 2010-14
Total Benefits Paid  $0.91  -$0.10
Medical Benefits  $0.46  -$0.04
Cash Benefits  $0.45  -$0.06
Employer Costs  $1.35 -$0.10 
Benefits per $1 of Employer Costs  $0.68  -$0.13


Why the Disconnect?

Experts from NASI’s study panel point to a lag in the increase in benefits paid, particularly for costly, long-term injuries. Healthcare costs have also grown in the past 30 years, accounting for an increasing share of benefits, to rise from 29% in 1980 to more than 50% in 2014, accounting for a majority of workers' comp spending. Declining levels also point to reduced injuries and speedier return-to-work, however changes to state law limiting access to benefits may also play a role.

Don’t get raked over the coals by workman's compensation insurance premiums. Discover a new path to savings with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.



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