As consumers, we do whatever we can to ensure we’re getting the best price for our purchases, whether through comparing costs online, clipping coupons, or asking friends and family for recommendations. Yet there are also situations when quality takes a front seat over cost: Choosing an elegant restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. Determining the best surgeon for a heart replacement. And certainly, engaging the services of a professional in-home care provider for a beloved senior.
As home care agency owners, it’s crucial to make sure that the high quality and value you offer will exceed your prospective clients’ concerns about cost – not always an easy task when often the first question you receive from callers is, “How much do you charge?”
The first step in effectively addressing this question is to bear in mind that many consumers are jumping into uncharted waters when exploring care options, and are often in a crisis situation where they need a solution NOW. Since they don’t know what they don’t know, the logical starting point is to seek the most cost-effective option. And if your agency is positioned to provide a higher level of service than your competitors’, you’ll need a strategy to educate your inquirers on how and why the value they’re receiving is worth the additional cost.
It begins by creating a process and bringing all staff members onboard to fully understand and adhere to that process, which should include:
- Reflective listening. This is a skill that can (and should) be practiced internally with your team. It involves truly hearing what the caller is saying, and reflecting back so the caller knows she’s been heard. Take notes on key points as the caller is talking. Use the caller’s (and loved one’s) name. In this way, your response will be highly personalized, and not as though the staff member is reading from a script prepared in advance, or checking off items on a checklist of services available.
- Incorrect response: “Will you need meal preparation? Bathing assistance? Transportation?”
- Correct response: “Sally, it sounds like George is having challenges with dementia. Can you tell me more about how that’s affecting his daily routine?”
- Highlight your expertise. Show the caller that your agency is an expert in care choices, and offer solutions to her problem. Part of this is determining if home care is appropriate in her particular situation, and if not, shepherding her to the resources and services that would be better suited. Explain what’s worked for others in a similar circumstance, and your confidence in being able to help her loved one.
- Know your value points. What matters most to your caller:
- Engaging and inspiring activities
- Connection to others
- Peace of mind
- Chronic illness management
- Alleviating boredom, helplessness, loneliness
As you listen to the caller, pay attention to which of these needs (or others) are most important, and then highlight how your services can meet these needs, stressing the value you offer and your agency’s place in the continuum of healthcare services.
When you’ve confirmed the details of your caller’s concerns, the next best step is to offer an in-home consultation, during which you’ll put together a plan of care and outline pricing. If your agency prefers to provide pricing over the phone, however, incorporate value into your cost discussion. For instance, state, “It sounds like we could provide George with a personal care aide in his home, and that service is $24 per hour, which would include…” In this part of the discussion, tie in the particular value your agency provides that is over and above the competition, such as:
- Employing your care staff
- Safety (background screening process)
- Avoiding UI claims
- Avoiding injury claims
- Back strains
- Better caregiver pay = better caregivers in the home
- Nursing component (especially where not required by regulations)
- Caregiver training
- Caregiver selection
- Trained and matched staff
- Client enrichment and wellness programs
- Written updates on a regular basis to family members
- Client portals
- In-home assessment before starting care
- Backup care in case of emergency
- Disaster planning
- Care team that allows for needs to be met in a timely manner
- Oversight of client and employees
- On-call person 24/7/365
When Cost Is Paramount
There are situations, of course, when the caller will simply want to know price and price alone. There are several tactics to try:
- Say something like, “We have a range of rates and services, and I want to talk to you about your needs so I can give you the right pricing for what you’re requesting.”
- Try to determine exactly what the caller is looking for before mentioning price.
- If the caller seems angry or agitated about your methods, satisfy her by providing pricing – in a range, if appropriate.
Bear in mind that if price is the only concern, this may not be the best fit for your agency anyway. And, if the caller does go with the lowest priced caregiving option, it’s likely that she will be dissatisfied at some point; you get what you pay for, after all. She may come back to you at a later time.
How Marketing Can Help Improve Quality and Win Over Clients
Effective marketing involves providing the education your potential clients need, professionally branded to showcase your quality, value, and expertise. It’s a matter of building and protecting your reputation through:
- How you listen
- How you respond
- How you follow up
- Your attention to detail
- In the marketing materials you send
- In the educational family resources on your website
- In your social media presence
- In your community involvement and presentations
Remember that your high quality differentiators will justify a higher price for your services. Thus your marketing materials and inquiry process need to reflect the value you provide, confidently, and as an expert.
To effectively position your agency as the expert in home care services, engage the services of an expert aging care marketing team. With decades of expertise in the industry, corecubed creates customized home care marketing and sales solutions that help agencies reach their target market and highlight the value they bring to seniors and their families. Contact us at 800.370.6580 or through our online contact form to learn more.