At some point or another, all senior living providers must have difficult conversations with residents’ adult children. Though the subject matter may be awkward or uncomfortable, there’s a foolproof way to make them effective: incorporating data.
Data-driven conversations with adult children should start during the sales process and continue as long as the resident lives in the senior living community. Here’s how:
Sales in the Internet Age
Embracing data and understanding how adult children approach the senior-living sales process go hand-in-hand. Take it from Pat Mulloy, Chairman and CEO of Louisville, KY-based Elmcroft Senior Living.
The sales and marketing side of the senior living business is currently experiencing “a sea of change,” Mulloy recently told Senior Housing News. The new generation of adult children — and the new ways they’re educating themselves about senior living — are partly to blame for many of the sales and marketing changes taking place.
To be clear, the whole idea that adult children are the “real” senior living consumers hasn’t gone away. Today’s adult child, for instance, is still about 55 or 60, and is still probably the daughter of a prospective senior living resident. Unlike in years past, however, today’s adult children often come into the senior living sales process having already done a wealth of online research.
At Elmcroft, this means sales and marketing executives have embraced data to better reach the adult children who are curious about their communities.
“The way we reach [an adult child] is driven today by social media, it’s driven today by the Internet, it’s driven today by our ability to analyze and understand the data, search engine optimization, search engine marketing,” Mulloy explained. “None of that stuff existed 10 years ago…it’s a more sophisticated, data-driven sales process today.”
Having the right data helps providers understand what adult children are looking for, how to best grab their attention and predict what else they need to know before taking the plunge.
“You have to have meaningful touches with your clients, your patients and your residents,” he added. “You’ve got to sell a value proposition to them.”
The Proof Is in the Data
Data-driven conversations continue to play an important role in a provider’s relationship with adult children after their parents move in — especially where finances are concerned.
Approximately 44% of negative online conversations about assisted living involve finances, according to a report from Louisville, KY-based think tank and consultancy, Conversation Research Institute. About 68% of these negative, finance-related conversations about assisted living center around the sheer cost of assisted living.
So, adult children are already particularly concerned with how much senior living costs, even before they or their parents start paying for it. What happens when, eight months into their parents’ stay, the community announces it’s raising their parents’ rate?
This is an instance when it’s extremely helpful for providers to have accurate, up-to-date resident data. Providers that have an electronic health record (EHR), for example, are able to quickly justify rate increases to family members in ways providers using paper health records cannot.
With a quick glance at a resident’s electronic chart, a caregiver or administrator can determine when exactly a resident started receiving more care than they had been receiving in the past — and why. They can almost immediately answer any questions family members may have about when exactly negative health events took place, how many meals their parents are eating per day, and more. It’s much easier to agree to rate increases when they’re justified through readily accessible documentation.
Not only does having the right information help determine rates, but it can lead to increased revenues. Welcov Healthcare implemented an EHR platform across all of their Assisted Living residences with a goal of re-evaluating their pricing and services bundling in an effort to gain better insight into the needs of their current and incoming residences. The result was a 12% annual increase in revenue, representing $749,829 for Welcov’s Assisted Living division — and they didn’t lose a single resident.
Data-driven conversations are always beneficial, whether they’re had by the sales and marketing team or they’re addressing a resident who has lived in a senior living community for several years. Make sure your community has the technology it needs to have positive, data-driven conversations for years to come.
Follow the link to learn more about how senior living leaders are using data to drive success.
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