I have recently been asked to help a few friends and relatives in finding care for their family. Needless to say, I’m going to lean towards my clients, as they support me, but there are times that I don’t have a client that fits the needs of a referral, so then I start looking. I have a hard time referring a friend to a senior community or provider that:
- Can’t keep the same person in a position for more than a year – If your company has a revolving door, it speaks volumes to those that do business with you. Do your best to treat your employees well, do good business so no one is embarrassed to work for you, and hire the right people, not just a body to fill a position. It will save you a lot of heartache and money in the long run.
- Gets sent to collections for payment – This might be out of your control, but keep an eye on the accounting side of things if you can, even just asking your reps if the account is in good standing. You might be surprised. I recently visited a nursing home for a network meeting and I had a hard time keeping a straight face as the marketing director was telling us all about how fantastic not only her community is, but the parent company as well was caring and supportive. When I knew that they were in the ditch on payments & being pursued by our collection agency. Who else do you owe? And if you can’t afford to sign up for something, don’t. It will just cause issues down the road. This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised…
- Doesn’t stick to their word or has been flat out RUDE – It is one thing to be busy and forget things, but if you tell someone that you will contact them, follow through! Save yourself and your vendors’ time and energy by calling or replying back in a timely manner. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of your competitor of you are nice in person at a meeting, but you never take or return their calls or emails. I’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth! As well, treat sales people as you want to be treated when you are making a sales call (I have to remind myself of this one too). Remember that they probably have seniors in their lives as well.
- Doesn’t answer the phone, or has someone answering the phone that has no clue – I would never place a loved one in a community if I can’t get an answer when I call, or the person answering the phone doesn’t know who works there, how to transfer a call, or when I should call back. Of course emergencies happen, but if the same things happen repeatedly, that business is out of the running.
These points don’t even get into checking inspections, ratings, websites, etc… The senior living industry is catching up with good websites and social media. Don’t think that you won’t be completely researched online before a potential client calls or visits. Don’t look at just your site & social pages. Check out all sites where your business is listed. Remember the Rule of Seven
I hope these reminders help us all get back to the right mindset of treating all of those around us like potential clients. Good luck!