When Right at Home partnered with Home Care Pulse to conduct monthly client surveys for all Right at Home locations, Whitney Krupala, owner of the Right at Home location in Midlothian, Texas, quickly recognized the value of this.
“I really wanted to know what our clients and caregivers thought of our service,” says Whitney. “There are a lot of people who don’t have the ability or don’t feel comfortable communicating their needs. I think this is true especially on the caregiver side.”
Even though she always extended open invitations to caregivers to come talk to her if there were any problems, she says, “I knew that probably wasn’t going to garner the honest feedback I was looking for. I wanted to see a bigger picture.”
While she was only mandated to have Home Care Pulse survey 5% of her clients each month, she quickly upped this number to 10% and enrolled in caregiver surveys as well. Although the feedback she received was largely positive, it confirmed that she was right to believe that both clients and caregivers felt reluctant to approach her about some of the most important problems.
Whitney believes that part of the secret to perfecting the experience they provide to clients has been to double down on the needs of their caregivers.
Finding Patterns in the Feedback
One pattern that emerged from the feedback is that caregivers felt they couldn’t reach the office when they needed help, or that the office staff was changing too often. That baffled Whitney. “I knew we were responsive during the day,” she says. “We knew we were answering the phones. We knew we weren’t one of ‘those’ agencies. During the first 18 months we were open, I was taking the calls myself.”
After discussing the feedback with her staff and her Customer Success Manager at Home Care Pulse, Whitney realized that while her staff was responsive during the day, their after-hours answering service was disruptive for her caregivers. When caregivers called after hours, they were talking to a different person every time which left them confused. Whitney decided to go back to phones that were answered live 24/7 by a member of her staff. The complaints promptly disappeared.
Closing the Loop
Based on caregiver feedback, Whitney and her staff have implemented various other changes to better adapt to the needs of her clients and caregivers. Among other tweaks to training and orientation, these changes include holding a monthly in-service where referral partners come in and educate her caregivers on care-related topics.
Whitney’s agency has seen a strong drop in turnover as they’ve closed the loop by acting on feedback. “When we do have to reduce hours, our caregivers aren’t jumping ship to another agency,” reports Whitney. “In the past, we had caregivers who were gone when anything happened.”
Our biggest referral source is our clients. As long as we keep a good pulse on if our clients are satisfied, they’re going to continue to be our #1 referral source.
Making Clients Their #1 Referral Source
Both client and caregiver feedback played a role in driving client referrals. Whitney believes that by using surveys to better listen to the needs of her caregivers, she also improved the experience the caregivers provided to clients.
Ultimately, this focus on listening has played a strong role in the agency’s growth. “Our biggest referral source is now our clients,” says Whitney. “It wasn’t always that way, but using [Home Care Pulse’s] surveys to listen and know where to improve has helped us. As long as we keep a good pulse on if our clients are satisfied, they’re going to continue to be our #1 referral source.”
Getting scores, reports, and testimonials from Home Care Pulse has helped with professional referral sources, too. “Medical referral sources are data-driven people. How are they going to distinguish us from other agencies? I think when they see that we have an outside source that is overseeing our satisfaction scores, it just brings instant credibility. We have a company that oversees the satisfaction of our clients and caregivers, and we have achieved their highest award.”
Whitney’s Advice to Other Home Care Owners
“As a business owner, you take pride in your business and you can be blind to what’s going on. As much as it stings, we need to know what the gaps are and we can’t always see that with our own eyes.”
“I think [gathering feedback through a third party] is one of the most important things you can do for your business, because you’ve got to be able to see your business from the consumer and the employee perspective. And you can only do that if you’ve got an unbiased analysis of what you’re doing.”
As a business owner, you take pride in your business and you can be blind to what’s going on. As much as it stings, we need to know what the gaps are and we can’t always see that with our own eyes.