Happy clients are the greatest assets of any aging care business because they are your biggest fans and most informed marketing messengers. After all, they’ve used your services and are pleased with the results. But what makes potential clients and family members choose your home care agency instead of the hundreds of other care options available? Let’s take a look at what the survey says.
Why Do New Clients Choose Your Agency?
According to the 2014 Home Care Pulse Private Duty Benchmarking Study, the following are the top five reasons new clients choose a particular agency:
- Reputation of the company (aka what people say about your agency)
- The agency was recommended by friends and family (ditto above)
- The agency was recommended by a referral source (double ditto)
- Consumer marketing of the company persuaded the client
- The agency was selected by a case manager, hospital, etc. (triple ditto)
In previous newsletters, we’ve discussed how to win clients via referral generation and agency reputation. In a nutshell, potential clients choose your agency based mainly on what others think and say about your services. If you don’t have happy clients, chances are they won’t say good things about your business to others. If you haven’t found ways to provide helpful resources to referral partners, chances are they might not mention your agency at all to their clients. Finally, if your clients and referral partners are happy, you still need to ask for their testimonials and referrals. Most people just need the prompt of being asked to provide a few good words or pass your information on to others. Ask and you shall receive!
Beyond happy clients, you also need to market your agency in ways that set your services apart from the crowd of other providers. The same Home Care Pulse study noted above found that “caregiver quality” is cited as the number one way agencies set themselves apart for the last two years. Why do most agencies cite quality as their main differentiator? Because clients and families pay close attention to who is providing care and how. They want to know that your caregivers have been properly screened, vetted, and trained. Quality is a given that all agencies should be able to demonstrate. However, quality should not be your only differentiator in your marketing efforts.
Beyond Quality: Ways to Differentiate & Attract Adult Children
Besides demonstrating happy clients and quality, there is a deeper level at which you can reach the adult children of aging parents. These individuals are likely facing or already traveling along the winding, emotional road of being a family caregiver. Many family caregivers know on some level that they need help, but are overwhelmed by a sense of personal responsibility and guilt when they think of hiring someone else to care for a parent or loved one. The following ideas can help you better market to this group and turn them into advocates for your agency:
- Answer the hard questions: Is it normal to feel guilty about not being able to provide care for a parent yourself? Of course, but caregivers need to take care of themselves too and that’s where our agency can help. How do I navigate this role reversal with my aging parents? It’s not easy, but we have a list of things you can do to make it go more smoothly.
- Offer simple solutions: Family caregivers are already overwhelmed; the last thing they need is a complex idea or solution. Make sure your services are easy to understand and the solutions you offer truly solve the caregivers’ problems rather than creating new ones. Remember, your solutions should not only make the care recipient feel better, they also need to make the family caregiver feel better as well.
- Remember that family caregivers are also brand advocates: Family caregivers often network with each other via support groups and trust the recommendations they receive from other family caregivers because they know these are the people who truly understand what they’re going through and what they need.
- Create a niche within your niche: Home care is your niche, but perhaps helping spouses care for spouses, or helping the sandwich generation balance family and caregiving duties could be your niche within a niche.
What Makes Clients Stay with Your Agency?
Your marketing job doesn’t end once you’ve acquired clients, but how do you keep clients once you’ve got them?
- Listen: It sounds so simple, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Listening to your clients’ needs and wants can help your agency adapt its services to better meet their needs and improve client satisfaction.
- Be trustworthy: The client-agency relationship is one that is based on trust. Families trust agencies to provide the best care possible for their loved ones, and agencies need to be able to show that they can be trusted. Accreditations through well-respected national organizations, such as CHAP and the Joint Commission, can demonstrate an agency’s dedication to providing quality care.
- Provide quality care: At the end of the day, it all comes down to the quality of care an agency provides. If your agency can provide the care and compassion that your clients need, it will speak for itself.
Marketing home care is a continually evolving practice. If you need help crafting the right message or reaching out to clients via your website or social media, contact the aging care marketing experts at corecubed. Our team is skilled at creating fresh, award-winning marketing campaigns that get results.