Sizing Up the Competition and Assessing Your Agency’s Weaknesses

In the competitive world of home care, successful agencies must stand out in the expanding senior care market and offer not only a superior care experience but a stellar first impression to win the business in the first place.  But how do you know if every inquiry that comes into your agency is being handled with first-rate level of care? And, how can you accurately set the bar for excellence if you don’t know what competitors are offering?  

One of the best ways to answer these questions, and more, is to employ professional home care mystery shoppers to call your own agency, your competitors, or both.  Mystery shopping conducted by home care sales experts who know the right questions to ask, and the right stories to tell, will help reveal both your competitive edge and your blind spots, as well as those of your competition. 

A strong mystery shopper will be able to provide a detailed report that provides you with a wide range of valuable information such as: 

Phone Greetings  

It may seem elementary, but answering the phone effectively – or ineffectively – cements that critical first impression for callers. The mystery shopper will listen to see if your staff are using a warm, professional greeting, putting callers on hold, practicing active listening skills (rather than simply reading through a script of services offered), leading the call or letting the caller dictate where the conversation goes, getting the caller’s contact information (phone, email, etc.), asking for an in-home assessment, and more.  

Services  

The mystery shopper also will have planned out a detailed storyline to share during the call, including the name of the person needing care, where the person lives, what his or her support system currently is, etc. After sharing this story, the mystery shopper will note if the agency’s staff member offers a solution that is specific to the care needs described by the person making the inquiry, whether the care recipient’s name is used in conversation, and whether any additional services or resources that may be beneficial are recommended. 

Market Differentiators 

When someone is calling agencies looking for care they often don’t know what to ask beyond the cost of the service. During a well-executed inquiry call, staff members will lead and educate the caller on the more important factors involved in making a decision about care, ultimately helping a caller come to a determination based more on the care and services provided, as well as the agency’s expertise and qualifications, and less on price. To that end, the mystery shopper will listen for information the staff member shares (or doesn’t share) on the following differentiators:  

  • Understanding of agency licensure 
  • Caregiver certification and training 
  • Care oversight by nursing staff 
  • The time required to start care 
  • Minimum hour requirements 
  • Range of services offered 
  • Payment options accepted 
  • Client and caregiver satisfaction scores 
  • Special agency accreditations and certifications 

Fees for Home Care Services  

As you’re well aware, many callers are also price shopping and will want to know the fees upfront. A mystery shopper will gather this information but not without following the proper steps. A proper response by any agency should be for the staff person to lead the callprovide the agency’s unique selling proposition, and schedule an in-home consultation before offering any rate information.  If your agency is following these guidelines, and your competitors are simply reciting rates, you’re a step ahead of the game! 

Follow-up 

The mystery shopper will also request additional materials, such as a brochure or resources specific to the senior’s condition, and will provide a personal email account to receive those materials. If follow-up occurs, it should be immediate, include high quality, professional materials, and be personalized with both the caller’s and senior’s names, if they were shared during the call. Prompt, personalized follow-up is rare, but when executed well it can result in increased business. 

The Overall Experience 

Professional aging care industry mystery shoppers know how to listen for the little nuances that can make or break a caller’s overall experience. Mystery shoppers also report on nuances like whether or not: 

  • Empathy was conveyed by the staff taking the caller 
  • The staff person talked too much or interrupted the caller
  • Ithe agency staff person appeared to be distracted or rushed 
  • The sales pitch inspired trust and confidence 
  • A unique selling proposition was made 

corecubed’s marketing team includes seasoned home care agency mystery shoppers who know how to glean the information your agency needs to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and are the preferred care solution for the families you seek to serve. Contact us at 800.370.6580, x1, to learn more!