Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Creating lead generation transparency is unique in senior living yet critical to each community’s efficiency and productivity. We will pull back the curtain with statistics on lead management, lead validation and conversion rates.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on SeniorVu services

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living Webinar

Using Incidence Analytics to Identify Market Need

Improving Senior Housing Performance with Precision Market Analytics

We are a data driven world. It can be good or it can be overwhelming. This webinar will highlight three scenarios where data is used to make intelligent business decisions, improve current assets and increase referrals to your communities. Learn how to use incidence data and medication data to improve your business results.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on VisionLTC services →

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Getting Smart with Recruitment and Retention

Getting Smart with Recruitment and Retention

As an industry, we are constantly struggling with associate recruitment and retention. Turnover is high particularly with direct care associates. We are inundated with the statistics of the workforce shortage and the significant care demands of an elderly population that only continues to grow. All which eventually impact resident satisfaction and ultimately net operating income (NOI).

Here are practices that can get you out of the revolving door of staffing management:

Hire Right

As my grandfather used to say, measure twice, cut once. If you are a woodworker or a tailor, you only have to make the mistake once to know the benefits of careful measurement. So often at the Community level we are scrambling to fill shifts and cut overtime that we don’t measure twice. Then we are scratching our heads wondering why staff members are leaving.

Hiring is an art and a science. Make sure to use all the tools to measure right!

  • Competency testing for your skilled associates. Did you know only 1/3 of the students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs are required to take a course in geriatrics? How do you know your CNAs understand the skills of excellent dementia care? Eight to ten percent of applicants who are in direct care roles fail the basic skills requirements. Make sure the associates you are hiring have the skills and training to be successful.
  • Don’t cut corners on your background checks. A comprehensive employee background check can help a Community to screen out employees who may participate in all types of abuse, including emotional, financial, and physical abuse.
  • Reference checks. Don’t just go through the motions. A reference check should verify that the information on the application/resume is accurate. It should also serve as a way to assess personality traits and work ethic. Use phrases that will provide better information, “Please complete this sentence: if there was one thing I could change about the individual’s job performance, it’s……………”
  • Set expectations up front. Make sure your job descriptions are well defined and reviewed with the applicant for clarity.

Make Sure Your Job Tasks Match the Skill Level

Are your nurses overwhelmed with administrative tasks? Are your CNAs washing dishes? Look at each job and identify tasks that do not have to be done by a certified or licensed professional. Hire homemakers to complete those tasks.

Always Be Recruiting

Even if all your current jobs are filled, don’t stop hiring.

  • Does your state licensing agency allow purchase of a mailing list? If so, send out postcards with open positions.
  • Hold regular job fairs.
  • Offer CEU courses.
  • Develop an employee referral bonus program and continuously promote it throughout your community.

Find Out What You’re Doing Right and Wrong

  • Employee surveys, if done correctly, can give you valuable information on what is working and what’s not.
  • Exit interviews are also a good opportunity for obtaining feedback on employment issues, such as vacation time and pay, health benefits, and fringe benefits. The interview can also provide valuable insight about skills and abilities required to perform the job that the employee is vacating.

Develop a Culture of Loyalty and Engagement

Did you know that 71% of American workers are currently disengaged from their job? That means they’re just going through the motions. And if your workplace is like most, 6 out of 10 are currently looking to move on.

How do you engage your associates?

  • First step, make sure they have the right tools and training to be successful. It could be as simple as making sure the housekeeper has a vacuum that works.
  • Develop a turnkey employee recognition program that rewards results that make the Community a better place to work and live.

Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development

  • Design a career ladder program to promote quality service while providing associates with increased financial incentive and opportunity for growth and further education.
  • Establish a HHA/CNA certification program.

There’s no shortcut to a viable recruitment and retention program – but the rewards can be priceless.

Download a FREE copy of our Career Ladder Template

Businessperson Filling Online Survey Form On Digital Laptop

Delight and Retain Your Residents and Staff with Surveys Done Right [Webinar]

By Lynn & Mark Ackerman

As a senior living community, it is critical to get input from your residents and staff! This webinar breaks down how to perform a successful survey and the benefits your community can take away.

Would you like to learn more about retention?

senior living marketing

How To Generate Word Of Mouth Endorsements – A Case Study

Written By: Doug Pruden Principal Customer Experience Partners, LLC – and Senior Living SMART Partner

What Costco Might Teach us About Generating Word of Mouth

Confirmed Costco shoppers appear to enjoy their shopping experiences at the big-box retailer.  Despite the less than luxurious facilities, larger than desirable multi-packs, membership fee, and frustratingly long checkout lines, Costco rises to the top in just about every national customer satisfaction ranking.  At first glance, it may seem strange that Costco ranks right up there with the likes of Nordstrom and Trader Joes, but when all of the components of the total customer experience are considered, it makes sense.

Word of Mouth Just Happens, Right?

But the apparent contradictions don’t stop with Customer Satisfaction.  Costco also enjoys strong, positive word of mouth!  Actual, in-market dialogue about a company often doesn’t track well with these more traditional measures.  So, it’s worth taking a look at how Costco manages to turn purchases of 6-month supplies of olive oil or ‘convenient’ twenty-four packs of D-batteries into a shopping experience that customers actually talk about.

Of course numerous possible explanations come to mind.  It could be that shoppers like to brag about how much money they save, such as the convenience of ‘one-stop shopping’, etc.  However, according to Robin Ross, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Costco’s ability to generate word of mouth also has to do with offering unexpected surprises and instilling the sense of a ‘treasure hunt’ into every shopping visit. Costco understands that providing good bargains and a satisfactory shopping experience may keep customers coming back, but these more mundane issues are not likely to stimulate conversations with friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers.  And, it’s this positive word of mouth that communicates and perpetuates the memorable customer experience which, in turn, helps keep customers returning and attracts new customers as well.

Advertising Isn’t Involved!

Stimulating and maintaining dialogues about itself with little or no advertising demanded what Ross describes as a “better idea”.  Costco elected a unique strategy.  They added “conversation products” into their product mix; a $3,000 toilet, a $2+ million dollar ring, and computer-measured, custom-tailored men’s suits.  These items are both unconventional and unexpected offerings in a discounter-setting and in truth Costco doesn’t expect to sell many of these items.  But along with other, more affordable ‘treasures’, they provide customers stories to tell.  This unusual merchandise provides customers a reason to talk about their trips to Costco.  Embedded in the resulting word of mouth may be mentions of other, more traditional purchases; the wild salmon they bought or the rewarding savings they received at the in-store pharmacy.  The next time a friend mentions Costco pay attention; you may be a recipient of just such a report.

Strategies for increasing the volume and positive tonality of word of mouth aren’t unique to Costco. Senior living facilities that understand how to provide: 1) Motivation, 2) Content: stories to tell, and 3) Opportunity: chances to relate their content, will enjoy increased word of mouth as well. To hear more about managing and monitoring word of mouth for your brand join us for a Senior Living Smart webinar on October 14!

Would you like to learn more about word of mouth referrals?

Watch our webinar, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need solutions.

Word of Mouth Webinar We Can Help! Schedule a Consultation

senior living marketing

Senior Living Marketing: The Power of Differentiation

Marketing a senior living community can be challenging. After all, most communities are essentially selling the same thing. As a result, it can be difficult for consumers to identify the community best suited for their lifestyle and needs.

How can you elevate your senior living marketing to show true differentiation? Read on.

1. Differentiate through technology. Here’s what to keep in mind when evaluating your options.

2. Differentiate through value and price. You could use a “high-end” approach. This caters to the belief that the more costly a product or service is, the more valuable it is. Another option: Position your brand as the provider of high quality at a value price. (Hint: Southwest Airlines does a great job at the latter.)

3. Differentiate through product and services. Convey value by highlighting unique product or service features. For example, how does your dining program compare to local restaurants? How does your resident wellness program compare?

4. Differentiate through customer service. Thanks to the prevalence of online reviews, good customer service will always be important. But exceptional service will elevate your status in the senior living marketplace even more. What are your residents and families saying about you? Do you have a customer service program that creates raving fans?

5. Differentiate through user experience. Senior living communities must build emotional connections through memorable experiences. Remember, there are many transition “points” for residents and families during their stay in your senior living community. How well do you do at these important points in time? Are you eliciting feedback from your residents and following through on what you’ve heard?

Need help creating an unbeatable senior living marketing strategy?

We’ve spent decades working in the industry. Let us help!



Maximize Your Senior Living Resources: Information Management

Blog Provided By Joan Bachman, RN, HNA, RHIT, BSBA, FCN

Maximize Your Senior Living Resources

The Only Place You Find “Success” before “Work” is in the Dictionary. Survival and growth of an organization rely on the effective use of available assets.

Senior Living Resources: Information Management

A successful organization maintains accurate business records and promotes healthy communication.

Legal Documents

  • Describe legal documents and authority for access.
  • Maintain legal documents securely, whether hard copy or digitized.
  • Establish and implement policies for retention of records.
  • Comply with regulatory and insurance carrier suggestions for backup and audits.
  • Limit access to legal documents based on authority and responsibility.

Communication Systems

  • Communication may be spoken, written, computerized, or pictorial/graphic.
  • Establish and implement policies and responsibility for each segment of communication
  • (Business, Client, Public, and Advertisement/Promotion) based on regulatory requirements.
  • Communicate openly with staff. Secrets breed distrust; informed staff supports the Mission.
  • Describe confidentiality requirements.
  • Define how social media may be used for business and personal purposes.

Physical Messages

  • Maintain your capital assets to demonstrate self-respect and contribution to the community.
  • Expect clients and staff to be clean and neatly dressed.
  • Control noise levels within the building.
  • “What you are doing speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying.”

Is there information that your community needs to improve on recording? Let’s Chat

6 Easy Steps to Communicate with the Family

Blog provided by Senior Living SMART Partner: Sensight Surveys

One of the most common recommended improvements we hear from family members on our customer experience surveys is more frequent updates from community management about their loved one’s status.

Managing a senior living community is a busy, demanding job.  Sometimes finding time to update responsible parties (RPs) can be difficult, but doing so goes a long way in building a sense of caring.  Our research shows that something as simple as a personalized note from the Executive Director can make the difference between a disgruntled family member and one who is happy with their senior assisted living community. Read more

Labels Are for Jars Not for People

elderly people are not jarsEver since we entered this world we have been labeled. Newborn. Cute. Colicy. Chubby. Then as we grew our labels grew along with us. Fast, small, smart, tall. Rich, poor, weird or a bore. And we labeled others because there is a natural tendency to put people that we meet in categories.  The further we travelled in life the more the labels – mother, sister, wife, doctor, nurse, shy, lazy, etc. These labels become stereotypes – and these become judgements and biases.

The word label refers to the paper or identifying marks on a jar that tells you something about what’s inside the jar. Based on that label you make assumptions and judgements for what is inside that jar.

lI’s ok to put a description on a jar so you know what’s inside , but it’s not okay to judge people by attaching a label, or description to them, such as “nerd,” “jock,” or “burnout.” Sometime labeling is very useful. It would be impossible to catalogue the information we process during our lives without the aid of labels like “friendly,” “deceitful,” “tasty,” and “dangerous.” But many labels can be harmful, even to the point of limiting people’s abilities just based on assumptions we make from that label.

We need to be very careful in how we label our residents. In a Focus Group that I was a part of we asked seniors who were in “independent living cottages” on a IL/AL campus what was the biggest struggle for them day to day. The top answer was meals. They often found it difficult to make 3 nutritious and tasty meals a day. They were asked why they didn’t go over to the “assisted living” dining room which they could access for free as part of their monthly fees. The overwhelming answer was “I don’t want to be with those people. They are in assisted living! They can’t carry on a conversation and are boring.” I looked around the room at the walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and other than where they lived on the campus would not have thought of this group as independent. But they would rather eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner than be labeled as “assisted”.  We talked with the participants of the focus group about being labeled – and they did not like it at all. But if they had to be labeled – it was going to be independent!

There is definitely a stereotype and bias for residents in “assisted living” from other residents, staff and healthcare professionals. There are many stereotypes that come with just getting old – can’t drive, slow, doesn’t like change, can’t understand technology. Everyday we meet seniors who are breaking those stereotypes.

No one likes a negative label. I challenge the industry to be person-centered when meeting a new resident and look forward to a time when we don’t put labels on our residents that may negatively impact their independence and fulfillment.

Money Bag With Coins With The Word Costs And A Down Arrow

It’s Budget Season! Five Quick Ways to Reduce Expenses

It’s budget season, the time when all operators sharpen their pencils trying to find opportunities to reduce expenses.  Independent owner-operators have to be particularly focused at this time of year to finish the fourth quarter strong and make good decisions to set up the first quarter for success.  Unlike national and regional chains that are able to absorb unexpected negative trends, independent operators do not have the margins to operate profitably while carrying aging and bad debt; increased fixed costs such as insurance and benefits; or dips in occupancy.  The good news is that there are some great solutions available!

Senior Living Smart hand selects Partners with solutions representing every area of operations, management and marketing to help independent operators improve profitability and performance and we have discovered some wonderful solutions.  Here are just a few:

  • One Management Solutions http://www.one-mgmt.com will analyze your food, paper goods, supplies and energy (in 15 unregulated states) costs.  They only charge a percentage of the savings they realize and will even help renegotiate contracts with existing vendors.
  • Zipmark  https://www.zipmark.com reduces aging and improves cash flow by creating an online portal for your community that families can log into on any mobile, tablet devise or online to pay their bills.  Zipmark has a digital check solution and the funds are available to the community the next business day and they are guaranteed so there are no bounced checks/ insufficient fund fees.
  • CareConnect http://www.careconnectbyesco.com   installs and maintains award-winning, state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure at Net $0 CAPITAL COST to you! That’s right: your community gets installation and use of a best-in-class telecommunications systems including wireless.  They provide your staff and residents with better Phone, TV, and Internet services – all for less than current rates.
  • Insurance, Payroll and Employee Benefits are a major expense for every community.  At Senior Living Smart, we have selected Propel Insurance http://propelinsurance.com and PayDayHR http://www.paydayhr.com because they understand our industry, offer best-in –class products, great customer service and they create valuable business partnerships with their clients.   With 2200 HR laws currently in place, ObamaCare on the horizon, worker’s comp costs rising and OSHA compliance concerns, it is important to have the right partner to stay informed.   One thing you do not want to put into your budget is a preventable lawsuit!
  • Managing labor expense and reducing overtime is another area communities can control to improve performance.  We have chosen Voicefriend http://www.voicefriend.net  because their technology automates the time consuming process of tracking down employees to fill shifts.  All employees are loaded into the system with all their contact information so when a community needs to fill a shift, they simply enter the specifics into the systems and it notifies the staff by text, phone and email.  It even allows you to prioritize per diem, part time and under 32 hour employees first to reduce overtime.

At Senior Living Smart, we are committed to helping independent owner-operators improve profitability and performance and leveling the playing field by providing the same resources typically accessible to regional and national chains.  Check us out and check out our valued partners!