Kristi Larson, Home Care Pulse Director of Customer Development, put together a list of the top 10 complaints we hear from home care clients. Pay attention to see if your agency is making these common mistakes:
1. Confusion in Communication Due to Multiple Caregivers for One Person
Clients like having the stability of one caregiver and one point of contact. Having a “point man” ensures responsibility is taken and assures clients that nothing will be lost in communication.
2. Caregivers Lack of Punctuality
Home care clients commonly report that caregivers come late or leave early. Some clients are on a strict schedule, and having a caregiver show up late means they could be left unattended. It can be a huge inconvenience for family members who have to stay longer while missing out on those extra 10-20 minutes they’re paying for.
3. Quality of Care is Inconsistent
Some caregivers are better at their job than others, but it can be really frustrating for a client when one caregiver is exceptional, then the next performs only basic tasks. Read our posts on recruiting, retaining and training quality caregivers to ensure your level of care is always reliable.
4. Caregivers Texting/Calling/Surfing the Web
Clients get really irritated when caregivers are on the clock and wasting time on their phones, neglecting the client. Enforce strict rules about cell phone usage, set a standard penalty for those who break the rules, and hold your caregivers accountable.
5. Lack of Caregiver Training
Clients are sometimes upset when caregivers can’t perform basic cooking and cleaning requests. One woman we interviewed said when she asked her caregiver for a grilled cheese sandwich, the young woman stuck cheese on a piece of bread then dropped it in the toaster, creating a huge mess. Some caregivers may benefit from basic cooking instructions or recipes.
6. Cultural Differences/Language Barriers
Many cultures have different standards for cooking and hygiene. If you hire someone from another country, teach them about our customs and basic words in English before they start working. Language barriers and cleanliness differences can be very troubling and frustrating for your clients.
7. No Discounted Rates for 12+ Hour Shifts
Clients who have a greater need for help will pay much more than those with only basic help needed. If your budget allows, try to take off a dollar or two for those long visits. This could be more difficult with the recent changes to caregiver exemptions, but clients will appreciate whatever effort you can make.
8. Pay Schedule is Inconvenient
Some companies send out a weekly bill, but some clients prefer monthly billing since it’s easier to keeping track of payments. Keep clients in mind when planning your billing schedule.
9.Being charged time and a half
Clients complain of being charged time and a half on holidays, which equals to about $30/hour. They feel that’s too steep and care shouldn’t cost that much. If you’re able to make adjustments, do so. At the very least, provide information for clients, so they understand why this policy is in place.
10. Not Being Told When Caregivers Call in Sick
It’s not uncommon for caregivers to call in sick to the office, but the office doesn’t call the clients or send a replacement. This is a communication problem that could cause astronomical problems for your clients and your home care business.
While all businesses struggle in one way or another, it’s important to take a detailed and honest inventory of your performance. Only by doing this can you begin the road to improvement and create a growing, healthy home care business. If you’re making one or more of these mistakes, take the necessary steps to solve the problem and prevent the negative impact these issues could have on your client pool and reputation.