By Rick Hunsicker, Vice President, Sales Services
Recently, I found myself on the other side of the fence, as the customer instead of the service provider. I was the adult child whose mother went through assisted living, skilled rehab and memory care. I can tell you from a family member’s perspective, my siblings and I were the real customers for the community. The services provided for our mother need to attend not only to her needs, but even more so, to our need of providing the best possible care for her that she and we could afford. When you can accomplish the latter half of the equation – tending to the family’s need to provide excellent care for their loved one, that’s when the family members of your residents become the best referral sources.
Family members have the greatest ability to influence others on a decision to move to a particular senior living community. I’m much more willing to refer to where my mom was living because I personally experienced the high quality service and care they provide. Understanding how difficult it is to make the decision to move a loved one to assisted living, I want to help others find a community that will offer a good experience, and so I tell them where my mom is. Similarly, had we had a bad experience, I’d tell our friends to avoid the community. The adult child’s willingness to recommend (or warn!) is important for a few reasons:
- The adult child typically has many more people in our social and work network than our parent or parents.
- Adult children are willing to share our experiences online.
- We have a much longer timeframe in which we can continue to influence others.
- Because we share a greater degree of empathy with others once we’ve been through the situation with a loved one, adult children are more eager to help others make the right choice.
We so often hear the importance of making someone a customer for life. In senior living, especially health care focused communities, that means focusing on the adult children and other family members of residents. They should be seen as an important referral source, not only by the marketing and sales team, but also by the day-to-day care team that interacts with the resident and families.If you continue communicating with the adult children and families of residents as referral sources, eventually they could become prospects themselves!
If you’re interested in learning more about setting up referral programs for your health care community, please contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801.