First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions: How to Make Yours Shine

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. For home care agencies in particular, that first impression is vitally important.

Guest post by Marissa Snook, President and CEO of corecubed.

Like it the old fashioned way?

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. For home care agencies in particular, that first impression is vitally important. Those seeking a solution for a care need are often overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. The starting point for many will be the internet, which oftentimes means their first impression of your agency will be your website.

Of course, your potential clients first have to be able to find your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) services, performed by a certified Google Partner with industry expertise, are key to ensuring your home care agency’s site is found by those searching for the services you provide.

Studies have shown that while in-person first impressions are formed in as little as 1/10th of a second, web users actually form a first impression of a website in as little as 1/20th of a second. Research further shows that this instantaneous first impression of your website’s visual appeal can impact a visitor’s subsequent perceptions of your website’s usability and credibility, and can ultimately have an influence on whether or not the visitor engages further with your business.

If you’re confident your agency is visible to your target audience, consider the following:

  • Does your website stand out from the crowd of competitors? Does it impress or cause stress? Is it easy on the eyes and easy to navigate? Does it address and answer a consumer’s questions about home care services?

  • What are others saying about your home care agency? Online consumer reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and others provide verification that people are having positive experiences with your agency. If there aren’t any reviews for your agency, people are less likely to find and trust you.

Even if your website is perfectly optimized and listed at the top of searches, and your agency has glowing reviews, if it falls flat aesthetically, is difficult to navigate, takes too long to load, or a “Not Secure” warning flashes because you lack security, it could cause you to lose business. Take a critical look at your website’s home page. Are you making the most of this first impression of your agency?

If you’ve met all of the above criteria and someone contacts your agency, are you confident in your agency’s existing inquiry process – or could you be losing potential clients by handling calls inappropriately?

Let your inquirers gain trust in your ability to meet their loved ones’ care needs through:

  • Reflective listening. Reflective listening is a skill that requires practice to master and should definitely be part of your staff’s training process. It involves truly listening to what someone says, and then reflecting that information back to let the person know that he or she has been heard correctly. It helps to take notes as a caller is speaking in order to remember the important points of what is being said. Make sure you use both the caller’s name and the care recipient’s name, which will help establish a bond and show that you’re paying close attention to the conversation, rather than just reading from a checklist of services. For example:

    “Clara, it sounds like your Aunt Joyce is having problems with the progression of her dementia. Can you share a bit more with me about how this is affecting her daily routine?” (Appropriate response)

    “We do personal care, companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and errands.” (Inappropriate response)

  • Highlighting your expertise. A person in search of care for a family member wants to be assured that the agency selected will have expertise in providing solutions to the problems being faced. Showcase what has worked for other clients facing a similar situation and provide the caller with “yes we can” statements to offer the reassurance that your staff can certainly help meet the needs presented.

  • Focusing on strengths. The person calling cares most about making sure that his or her loved one:

    • Will be safe
    • Can trust and rely on the person providing care
    • Will still be able to make decisions and provide input
    • Can engage in enjoyable, meaningful activities
    • Stays connected to others and the community
    • Will receive care that meets his/her particular needs

During the call, pay careful attention to which needs seem to be most important to the caller, and then let the caller know how your services can help, including your agency’s role in the continuum of health care services.

Scheduling the In-Home Assessment

Once you fully understand the concerns of the person you’re speaking to, the goal is to schedule an in-home assessment prior to providing costs for your services. Be prepared to proactively offer the caller a consultation, explaining that this is the best way to determine which services will best meet the person’s specific needs in order to provide an accurate cost for care.

Accentuating Your Value

If the person calling isn’t quite ready for a consultation at home and simply wants to know what the price will be for home care services, it’s important to first share the value your agency brings before providing the cost. This is where you’ll want to explain your agency’s differentiating factors, such as:

  • Your agency being licensed

  • Higher than average client satisfaction ratings

  • Excellent caregiver satisfaction scores

  • Better Business Bureau accreditation and A+ rating

  • Extensive caregiver training and development

  • Having an on-call supervisor available around the clock

  • Caregivers who are carefully matched based on individual needs and preferences

  • Backup caregivers available when a person’s primary caregiver is sick or on vacation

  • Caregivers who are employed by your agency

  • Thorough interview and background screening procedures

  • Higher caregiver pay, which leads to higher quality caregivers

  • A nurse supervisor on staff to provide oversight and training

  • Any unique programs you offer for client enrichment or enhanced wellness

  • Any accreditations or affiliations that your agency has to showcase a higher level of expertise and professionalism

  • A client portal or family room to keep family members updated on care

  • EVV (electronic visit verification) to ensure caregivers are where they need to be when they need to be there

  • A free in-home consultation prior to the start of care

  • Any disaster planning procedures you have in place

  • Your “why” statement – the motivation for you and your team to serve others

Addressing Cost Concerns

Bear in mind that if cost is the only factor driving the person’s decision, they may not be the best fit for your agency. And, if the person makes the decision to select the lowest priced agency over yours, it’s entirely possible that he or she will quickly become dissatisfied; after all, you do get what you pay for. At that point, the person may decide to return to your agency and will likely be more appreciative of the value and high-quality services you provide.

Partner with Industry Experts for the Best First Impression

A professional home care marketing agency with niche expertise in aging care can make sure your agency makes the best possible first impression: ensuring your home care agency is easily found online, stands out from the competition, is receiving consumer reviews, and handles inquiry calls with the highest degree of expertise.

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