Last month in this column, we invited you to participate in a web-based survey to learn your opinions about PBA’s Benefit Provider program. Your feedback is vitally important as we consider new benefits and evaluate current partnerships with the companies that provide PBA members with discounts and other benefits on products and services. We promised to report the results in this month’s PBA Progress, and we think you’ll find them interesting, as we did.

The survey was divided into three main areas:  1) Overall Program; 2) Specific Benefit Value/Use; and 3) Respondent’s most valued program component.

First, we asked general questions about the PBA Benefit Provider Program to determine overall perceptions and opinions on its overall worth, awareness and ease of use. Summary results follow:

QUESTION AGREE DISAGREE
  • Discounts on goods and services through my PBA membership are important to me
74.3% 25.7%
  • The PBA Benefit Provider offers are not valuable to me
35.3% 64.7%
  • If I knew more about the benefits, they might be more valuable to me
86.5% 13.5%
  • I can usually find a better deal if I search diligently
66.7% 33.3%
  • In general, Benefit Provider discounts are not significant enough to be worth my time to redeem
54.5% 45.5%
  • Benefit Provider offers are too difficult to redeem
46.7% 53.3%
  • When purchasing relevant goods/services, I forget that these discounts are available
83.3% 16.7%
  • PBA should discontinue this program, and focus on programs with more member value
30.3% 69.7%
  • PBA should keep this program, but negotiate better offers with greater discounts
97.0% 3.0%

We can draw a few conclusions from the answers to the questions above.  About three-quarters of responding members state that a partner discount program is important, and close to the same number generally find the current offers valuable, although they acknowledge they can usually find similar deals in the marketplace at large with a little research.  Overwhelmingly, members feel that if they knew more about the program benefits, they may find them more valuable.  Almost all respondents indicated that PBA should retain this program, but negotiate for more value in the benefit offers.

Next, we asked survey participants to rate the specific benefit type as Valuable / Some Value / Little Value / No Value. For analysis, we separated the responses in the middle, grouping together the two responses in the valuable to some-value side of the spectrum, and grouping the two responses in the little-to-no value end of the spectrum.

We then took the same group of benefits and queried participants about actual use of the offerings.  Results are summarized below which compare the perceived value with actual use of each benefit:

BENEFIT DESCRIPTION VALUABLE OR SOME VALUE LITTLE OR NO VALUE HAVE USED HAVE NOT USED
  • Health Insurance Agent or Consultant
61.6% 38.5% 17.4% 82.6%
  • Life Insurance Agent or Consultant
41.7% 58.3% 9.5% 90.5%
  • Business/Liability Insurance Agent or Consultant
43.4% 56.5% 9.5% 90.5%
  • Advanced Academy/Technical Education Discounts
91.3% 8.6% 22.7% 77.3%
  • Business Education Discounts
95.8% 4.2% 18.2% 81.8%
  • Credit Card Payment Processor
47.8% 52.2% 4.8% 95.2%
  • Free or Discounted Event Tickets
100% 0% 52.2% 47.8%
  • Free Magazine Subscription(s)
91.6% 8.3% 56.5% 43.5%
  • Magazine Subscription Discount(s)
60.9% 39.1% 19.0% 81.0%
  • Cell Phone Discounts
34.7% 65.2% 0.0% 100.0%
  • Business Services (shipping, copying, retail locations)
47.8% 52.1% 19.0% 81.0%
  • Printing
52.2% 47.8% 14.3% 85.7%
  • Software for Business Management
65.2% 34.8% 4.8% 95.2%
  • Display Goods and Services (retail, events, bags, display)
60.8% 39.1% 23.8% 76.2%
  • Retail Beauty Store/Beauty Supply Discount
73.9% 26.1% 14.3% 85.7%

The top benefit indicated by 100% of the responses above is Event Tickets, followed closely by Education – both business, and technical – and free magazine subscriptions.  It is noteworthy that in this group of top-rated benefits, business education discounts were rated as valuable or having some value by 96% of respondents, but 82% have never used the member benefit.  Least valued benefits include cell phone discounts and life insurance agent/consultant services.

Last, we asked survey respondents to think about the Benefit Provider Program, and identify, in their own words, a single benefit which they would find most valuable.

Question:  If there was only one partner benefit you would like to receive from PBA, what would it be?

Analysis of this question revealed that there were 11 broad response themes identified. Top answers were:

  • Health Insurance (22%)
  • Event Tickets (13%)
  • Education (13%)

Other benefits mentioned included government advocacy; shipping discounts; retail/supplies discounts; marketing; networking; free publications; shows in more locations; and a PBA rewards-type credit card. It is no surprise to PBA staff to see health insurance at the top of this list with nearly a quarter of respondents: health insurance is the number one benefit requested by members and prospective members alike.

PBA continues to explore all options in the area of group health insurance and is closely watching legislation to see how it will affect individuals and businesses. Challenges PBA has encountered encompass a myriad of changing federal/state regulations and provider landscapes, unwillingness by any major insurer to underwrite our group, and our inability to guarantee a definite number of participants. We will continue to research and seek viable choices for our members in the health insurance field.  In the interim, we encourage members to utilize our health insurance consultant and the resources listed on the Professional Links page at probeauty.org.