A common question we get here at Caring.com is, “What do your advisors really do?” Since our senior living partners don’t see our Family Advisors at their communities, they sometimes don’t understand what family advisors do to help them close business. They also have quesions about how our Family Advisors represent the details and nuances of their communities to families.
To help build a stronger partnership between our advisors and our housing partners, Caring.com hosted an open Q & A webinar last week. Our goal: to de-mystify the work our advisors do in taking 50,000 monthly inquiries down to 8,500 tours and 1,000 move-ins each month for our partners.
In case you missed it, here’s a recap of some of the questions that came up at our webinar, “Ask Me Anything: Family Advisor Edition.”
Q1: How many communities do you refer each family to?
There’s no set answer to this, said Family Advisor Robbie Shelton. It depends on the care needs and financial resources of the family, and also on their specific situation. Some want only one or two options; others want to know about every community in the area. We refer consumers to four communities on average – and in our recent survey, 34% of people searching online for senior care said they had toured four or more communities during their evaluation process.
Q2: Do you visit the communities?
Caring Advisors do not cover a specific geographic area; rather, they work nationally, said Bill Hofing, a Family Advisor recently promoted to manager. We match families to communities based on profile information the communities provide, guided by our sophisticated algorithms that capture distance, care level, and feedback from other clients we’ve referred to that community. Many times, families have several different areas where they might seek care (nearer to a son or to a daughter, for example) and they appreciate being able to compare options in both locations.
Q3: How do you qualify for finances?
We do our best to identify all sources of funding, and match to communities that would be a good fit, said Ryan Schilling, Caring’s Vice President of Customer Care, speaking about our philosophy on financial qualification. This is a challenging area for us, because often the callers don’t really know their loved one’s financial details, or are unwilling to share them in depth with an Internet call center. Also, many times community partners forget to notify us when they raise their rates! If we get it wrong, please use the “Feedback” button in your email lead notices to let us know.
Q4: How long do you spend on the phone with families?
Robbie said she averages 20 minutes, although of course some calls are longer or shorter depending on the caller’s desires and availability. Robbie’s response is typical for our Family Advisor team: Caring’s overall average call time is 20 minutes. We don’t have quotas or penalties on call times though — we’re more interested in doing a thorough job of discovery on the family’s needs, financial qualification, and preferences.
Q5: Do you place limits on follow-up? Sometimes the notes say: “Please email him your rates and floor plans,” but our sales process doesn’t allow us to do this.
All Caring advisors are trained to present “call-ready” referrals to our partners, said Ryan, and any family we send you is expecting a call. Having said that, keep in mind that these are “Internet people,” and most prefer to get information by email. Many are also very busy working and caregiving, and it’s hard to reach them via phone. You are always welcome to call them, but we do want to share their stated desires and preferences with you, if they tell us what they are.
Q6: Do you follow up with families? How do you communicate this with communities?
Bill explained that we do follow up, both pre- and post-tour, and if we find out good information, we send it on to our partners via an “Update” email. However, we don’t send partners an update if we just call the consumer and leave a message.
While many CRM systems allow us to auto-populate referrals, few allow for “Update” messages. You’ll need to check your email to find those.
Q7: What can I supply your advisors with, so that they can do a good job of presenting our community?
You should work with your client services contact to make sure that our profile database has great, accurate information about your community, its offerings, its activities, and its care. Can you assist with insulin injections? Do you take pets? Are you running a special this month? Let client services know, and they’ll spread the word with the advisor team.
Don’t know your client services contact? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re well into the “Season of Stars” – the time of year when Caring.com recognizes the communities with the most favorable consumer reviews and best online reputations.
Many communities have embraced consumer reviews, recognizing that study after study shows their importance in modern buying decisions on everything from breakfast cereal to automobiles.
We see it in the senior living industry, too – Caring Stars winners are much more likely to get move-ins from Caring.com referrals, compared to other communities to which we send the same families — in fact, they get twice as many consumer inquiries and move-ins than partner listings that haven’t won the award.
Caring Stars winners have leveraged their awards to get media coverage in outlets from The Edmond Sun (for Copper Lake Estates) and Tampa Bay Newspapers (for Seasons Memory Care) to The Chicago Tribune (for Waterford Estates). This year’s Caring Stars have shared their awards on social media to build excitement and pride among employees and residents.
A few communities have even realized that posting the award badge and/or review excerpts on their sites boosts consumer trust and makes prospective residents and their family members more likely to contact you – especially if you can reference great reviews, like our Caring Stars winners can.
Take Caring Super Star, Keystone Place at Legacy Ridge, for instance — they include their award badges, info about the Caring Stars achievement, and link to the reviews on their listing. Or Silvercrest Garner, a Dial Retirement community, whose strategy of continuously seeking new reviews led to their Caring Stars 2016 win. Or Holiday Retirement, which each year showcases all of their winners in a news release on their website and in their awards section too.
Some communities have chosen to ignore reviews, believing that people only use the platform to complain, or that people won’t find these reviews, or that reviews are fake and not to be trusted. But Caring.com data shows that none of the above is true. In fact:
- Over 77% of reviews posted to Caring.com are positive – you run great communities, and people recognize that!
- Google regularly indexes reviews posted on Caring.com (and other review sites, too), and tends to rank these listings higher – meaning people who search for your communities are likely to find those reviews, whether you promote them or not.
- Any review posted on Caring.com is vetted by real humans who know about senior care, and who use proprietary methods to flag suspicious reviews. And if we miss one, or there’s a factual error in a review on your listing, you can always contest a review to initiate follow-up to get it taken down.
If you’re a Caring Stars winner and you’d like to post your award on your website or Facebook page, or pitch your local media outlet, let us know! Contact our Caring Stars team now.
If you missed out this year, start collecting great reviews for the Caring Stars of 2017 award – and watch your inquiries and move-ins grow, too!
Think you know today’s caregivers? Did you know that people caring for their aging parents today seek paid caregiving help, go online for advice first rather than seek it in person, and are happier after their aging relative moves into a senior living community? These are just a few of the insights gathered from the nearly 2,100 people who responded to Caring.com’s annual Senior Care Survey of family caregivers and older adults.
During our latest Digital Marketing Academy Webinar, we dove into the survey findings for a deeper look at people caring for an aging loved one as well as seniors caring for themselves.
Among other findings, we discussed:
• Shifting caregiver demographics
• The amount of time and money respondents spent on caregiving in the last year
• How caregiving impacts respondents’ work situations
• What prompted a loved one’s move into a senior living community
• How happiness levels varied based on an aging loved one’s living situation
• How this data can be utilized by senior living communities and home care agencies to better market their services
We love to hear the conversation emerging around these findings. Our friends at The Senior Care Specialists and Senior Housing Forum uncovered insights from our data that we found really interesting. If you have your own ideas to share, let us know!