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.