Several leading tech companies have formed a coalition to try and boost enrollment for the Affordable Care Act In 2018. Fiverr, Postmates, Etsy, Doordash, Care.com, Stride Health and others made the announcement earlier this week.
They're calling it "Tech United for Independent Access to Healthcare" and they say they teamed up to combat the confusion about when the open enrollment period for healthcare exchanges opens and how long it lasts, among other issues.
They hope to reach 3.5 million people in the companies' databases.
This year the Trump Administration announced dramatic cuts to the funding for promoting the crucial enrollment period. People have until December 15th to sign up and choose their plans.
"It's a coalition that we pulled together of tech companies who all believe communities benefit greatly when we all have access to quality health care." says Brent Messenger, the global head of community at Fiverr.
Each of the tech companies involved have something huge in common: they serve a customer base of independent contractors, many of whom rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for healthcare coverage.
"Freelancers, as you know, will comprise about 40 percent of the US economy by 2020," says Messenger, "And we think that these people are changing the way people will work, so we want to support that in any way we can."
A commitment to the audience
By demonstrating their commitment to their customer base, these companies actually have shown the value of showing concern for the customers they serve every day.
The companies plan to use email, in-app messaging, blog posts, social media and newsletters to disperse healthcare information. The coalition will also schedule in-person community events with partners across the U.S. to get information to the public in person.
"Overall, independent work is just such a key element of the US economy. And healthcare is definitely part of that. When we look at the rise of independent work, and the sort of stigma of freelancing going away, a lot of that was attributed to the ability of the ACA to make it a less risky proposition, a more sustainable career. If Fiverr and these other institutions in some other way can help maintain that, then that's good for far more people than what's just in our community."
Using current events to your advantage
Several things are happening here that the small business owner can learn from.
First, are you watching out for events in the world that can harm or change your user base?
As Messenger pointed out, the companies in Tech United saw direct impact on their own customers coming. They then formed a plan of action to meet the change.
If you see something changing the environment for your customers, you have to think strategically and make adjustments that will preserve your customer base. That's what these companies are doing here. They're making sure freelancers can stay healthy, so they can keep using their platforms.
The lesson to founders is simple. Don't sit by and let world events decide your fate. Take matters into your own hands.
"By knowing our audiences, we all recognize this existential threat and are able to act in their best interest," says Messenger. "So that's one thing that I think is a good take away for even the smallest businesses: knowing their customer base and recognizing what issues are important to them. "
Why it's important to show that you care
Here's something else entrepreneurs can take away: Show you care. Always be taking action that supports and puts customers first. Don't let other businesses steal away users by tailoring to the needs of people better than you.
By taking it upon themselves to fund a promotional push on healthcare, these companies show they care about the medical care U.S. citizens get. You can similarly engage your customers by getting involved in issues important to them, either in a local or more global way.
The bottom line is that community involvement makes a big difference in winning and retaining customers. Are you ready to take action for your customers too?