Call it a more elegant option: Some employees with questions about their employers' benefit plans now can simply Ask Jeeves.
UNIFI Network, a division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Teaneck, N.J., will become the first benefits consulting firm to offer the Ask Jeeves suite of corporate services to its benefits outsourcing clients.
Based on the popular Ask Jeeves intuitive Web-based search engine, the services will allow participants to receive answers to frequently asked questions about their benefit plans from the UNIFI database. Ask Jeeves can give participants more timely answers than they'd get searching through an on-line help guide or printed guidebooks.
If the response is not satisfactory or the participant needs further information, a Jeeves Live component allows employees to access a UNIFI customer service representative for a real-time interactive chat session without logging off to call a client service representative.
"We wanted to help employers improve their HR customer service and satisfaction, reduce support costs and enhance the online experience of employees who access their benefits and other services over the Internet," said Ed Kimura, UNIFI global e-business practice leader.
The Ask Jeeves service is being beta tested and will be available this summer to UNIFI's more than 100 outsourcing clients. Mr. Kimura said UNIFI expects 20 of its clients to adopt the Jeeves service by the end of the year.