A successful homecare business focuses on creating a positive customer-service experience from the get-go—from the initial contact and follow-up home care assessment, to the actual service timeframe of caring for the client, through to the post-service experience with family caregivers, friends or referral services who made need your services again in the future.
A recent blog by HubSpot, an inbound marketing firm, highlighted five studies that illustrate what people want, and consider to be, good customer service. While the entire blog is worth reading, here are a few items that stood out as particularly relevant to the homecare business and your marketing efforts:
- Respond to social media inquiries within an hour: It’s not enough to have a “contact us” page on your website it you are only checking your inbox once a day. According to a survey by The Social Habit 32 percent of consumers who contact a company through social media for customer support expect a response within 30 minutes; 42 percent expect a response within 60 minutes. Ask yourself if your social media platforms are set up to respond quickly to customer inquiries, otherwise you could be losing potential and current customers.
- Hone your people skills: A Gallup survey to determine bank service found that “customers who gave the bank high ratings on ‘people’ factors (like the tellers’ courtesy and willingness to help) were nine times more likely to be fully engaged.” And engagement led to better customer satisfaction.
In the homecare business, being helpful is what we’re all about. But let’s not fool ourselves: Caring for others is a high-stress business, affecting professional caregivers as much as family caregivers. So it makes sense to assess the people skills of your staff from time to time. (corecubed, by the way, offers numerous resources, including webinars, to provide training and evaluation in this area. Visit www.MarketHomeCare.com to find tools to help.)
- Eliminate customer hassles: Again, the heart of any homecare business is to make life easier for both the client who needs the personal care and for his or her family members who may also serve as caregivers. Another customer service survey highlighted by the Hubspot blog found that “the single most important factor in increasing customer loyalty is reducing the amount of work the customer has to do to get their problem solved.”
If a potential client or current client has to go through several points of service to get something done, you likely won’t be getting that client or keeping that client for very long.
In short, your homecare business should be constantly thinking about how to better serve your clients and the marketplace in general. Our clients look to us to ease their burden, not to create additional ones. Starting with “I am so very sorry for your experience” is a great way to start the conversation off, AFTER you have listened carefully and made notes as to the problem. Then, a simple “What can we do to help?” and an attitude of “we’re in this together” will go a long way toward securing customer loyalty. Oftentimes the customer only wants to be heard, and there really is nothing specific they are requesting be done. Never jump to conclusions that you know what might make them happy.
To help you find out whether your customer-service meets today’s discriminating, and quick to flee, consumer, corecubed offers Mystery Shopping Services to find out how your customer-service intake experience stakes up against your competition, and how you can better the experience for better customer generation and retention.
Remember, the customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer.
In archery, hitting the bullseye means to shoot the arrow at the center of the target (getting you the most points). The circles outside the center score you points, too, but they don’t get you to the winning spot as quickly as when you hit the bullseye. Outside of archery, hitting the bullseye means to get right to the point. So let me get right to the point about your target audience.
When setting strategy for home care marketing, it is important to understand that potential clients come from a variety of places. The outer circles are referrals from other healthcare organizations or professionals, such as hospitals, hospice programs, other agencies that cannot staff the request, case managers and trust officers or accountants (to name a few). The inner circles are either relationship-based referral sources, or pro-active adult children or spouses, looking for care for a family member, a spouse, or other loved ones. The center mark remains that responsible adult child, which statistics show make up the majority of caregivers in this country. In fact, the typical caregiver in the United States is a woman, age 49 on average, according to the latest research from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.
In setting strategy for marketing home care, there’s always a lot of talk about attracting Baby Boomers who are quickly becoming the generation in need of home care services for themselves as well as their parents. But when it comes to the typical caregiver I already mentioned, the generation we should also be focusing on is Gen X, those people born between 1965 to 1980, which would make them anywhere from 35 to 50 years old.
The Gen X adult child is one target on which most of the marketing strategies—website, social media, content, etc.—should be centered, or at least primarily focused to attract the most caregivers who are looking for home care assistance. Interestingly, though, several articles and studies in the last few years say that Gen X is one group, caught between the hip and happening Millenials and the always present Baby Boomers, that gets left out of marketing discussions. The forgotten middle child.
The Pew Research Center has some interesting demographics on how Gen X is stuck in the middle, and not liking it. Insurance giant MetLife published a financial study of Gen X in 2013 The MetLife Study of Gen X: The MTV Generation Moves Into Mid-Life. The MetLife study is interesting in the details it provides on their saving and spending habits and plans for their own future, retirement, and aging.
At corecubed, we understand that the adult child is your primary B2C target audience (referrals sources as a target goes without saying). We differentiate our social media strategies to appeal and attract Gen X. We haven’t forgotten about this important demographic at all. For us, engaging Gen X means we’ve hit the bullseye.
Later this morning, July 7th at noon Eastern time, Marissa Snook, corecubed’s managing director, and a Gen Xer herself, will host the webinar, “What Is the Best Approach to Marketing Home Care in Today’s Crowded Market?” We hope you’ll join her and us to find out how to get your marketing to stand out, to zero in on the right client targets. After the webcast, we hope you’ll be ready to shout “Bullseye!”
If you miss the webinar today, you can always access it either on www.corecubed.com/events or on the www.MOSTforYourMarketing.com website. You will be glad you did!
As the Fourth of July approaches, we should all take some time to reflect on what independence really means for us, and for those in the home care business, to our clients and their families. For our forefathers, independence meant “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As we age, it means that for us, and for the home care businesses, it means all that for clients and their families too.
- Independence means life: A 2013 study of supercentenarians in Japan suggests that “maintaining physical independence is a key feature of survival into extreme old age.” While most people won’t live to be age 100 plus, maintaining independence helps to stay active, stay fit, and stay connected to familiar surroundings, quality-of-life issues that studies have shown help to prolong life. For dementia patients, a 2006 study from researchers at the University Memory and Aging Center at Case Western Reserve found that they lived longer when families delayed putting them in nursing homes. Further proof that independence is important and a consideration for longevity and quality of life.
- Independence means liberty: Nearly 90 percent of seniors 65 and older surveyed by AARP said they want to live in their own home as long as possible. A recent business story in The Atlantic, “Living, and Dying, At Home,” focused on the rise of aging care communities that have come about because seniors want to age in place. As an expert in the article states, by living in these communities in their own homes, or in senior apartment buildings, seniors are able to continue to make their own decisions about their life and daily activities, choosing when to get up and go to sleep, what to eat, and what activities they’ll do. They don’t need to follow a regimented schedule so common in nursing homes and even some assisted living facilities. But these aging care communities are mostly found in large, urban areas, such as Boston, New York, or San Francisco. Most seniors don’t have these options available, and even those who do may still need additional assistance to safely stay in their own home.
- Independence means pursuit of happiness: According to the eight key characteristics of happy people by Dr. David Myers, author of the Pursuit of Happiness, I feel two factors he cites can be greatly tied to seniors remaining at home: “Happy people feel a sense of personal control” and “Happy people have close relationships”. For the first factor, removing a senior from his or her home is probably one of the biggest ways—other than losing the ability to drive—that they lose control over their own lives. For the second factor, many elderly have lived in their own homes for years. They have developed close relationships with neighbors. Moving them to a place without familiar places and with total strangers may lead to depression (or worse) in some seniors who aren’t prepared to cut ties.
Folks who want home care in their private homes often cite the desire to remain as independent as possible and live independently. Home care provides them the safety net they need, and the peace of mind for their families that they are able to follow their heart’s desire with adequate safety nets in place.
corecubed’s marketing experts have a special knowledge and expertise in home care, home health care and hospice. Our services include high-quality, SEO-friendly aging care content which you then make available to your home care clients, such as blogs, newsletter, brochures, and website copy. Our content keeps anyone interested in aging care informed about the latest trends and findings, so that they, or their loved ones, can continue to live at home for as long as possible, and as independently as possible.
So let us help your business help your clients continue to celebrate independence well into their sunset years. And Happy Fourth of July! May we all remain as independent as possible for a long as possible.