What makes your agency different from your competitors?
One of the ways to create competitive advantage in home care is by creating “Exceptional Customer Experiences”. What makes a customer experience “exceptional” is how the customer feels as a result of their connection with your company.
As my wife, Elizabeth, and I travel across the country, we are always looking for examples of “Exceptional Customer Experiences” to give us ideas about how we can help you help your customers. We just returned from an international trip to China, Hong Kong, Bali, and Singapore. We had the opportunity to speak in Beijing and Singapore, so we extended our trip to visit Hong Kong and Bali since we had never been to that part of the world.
After two very busy weeks in Beijing and Hong Kong, we treated ourselves to a few days rest on the Island of Bali in Indonesia. We stayed at the Conrad Hilton hotel in the village of Nusa Dua. From the moment our cab pulled up to the Lobby, we knew we were in for an Exceptional Customer Experience. While the bellman unloaded our bags, we approached the front desk and were greeted by Alus. He was a bright eager young man who had grown up on Bali. He welcomed us to the Conrad, acknowledged our Gold Hilton Honors membership, and said we had been upgraded to a pool side room.
After checking us in, Alus walked around from behind the desk, grabbed the cart with our bags, and personally escorted us to our room. He opened the room, pulled back the drapes, and showed us that we could walk out the French doors right into the pool. He showed us the air conditioning controls and said, “If there is anything else I can do for you, please call me at this number.”
From that moment on, every place we went in the hotel, staff members were anticipating our needs and showing us exceptional hospitality. We went to the dining room in the morning for breakfast, and our host showed us to a table and asked if we would like coffee. We ordered Cappuccinos. Elizabeth likes hers “wet” and extra hot. The next morning, the same host remembered our names, and asked if we would like Cappuccinos again, Extra Hot?
One afternoon we were in total relaxation mode sitting in lounge chairs in the shade of a banana tree near the beach. A server came by with a plate of complimentary fruit skewers and a bottle of cold water. Not requested. No extra charge. Just a little bit extra to create an exceptional experience.
Karja Has a Heart for Service
Our dear friend Scott Friedman, a fellow professional speaker from Denver, does a lot of work in Asia, and goes to Bali often. When he heard we were going to be there, he introduced us to his friend Karja. Karja is an informal tour guide and many of our professional speaker friends have used his services when they have visited Bali. We had another amazing experience as Karja took us in his personal car to visit the Lewak coffee plantation, the rice paddies, the monkey forest, and the artist village of Ubud. By the time we got back to our hotel, we felt like we were members of Karja’s family.
At the end of our stay, we again found our friend Alus at the front desk. After we checked out, we lingered for a few minutes to engage in some conversation. Elizabeth commented on the exceptional service we had experienced. “You must have wonderful training,” she said.”
“Yes, we do have great training,” said Alus, “But is starts in the heart,” and he held his hand to his heart.
What great wisdom from a hotel desk clerk half way around the world. “Exceptional Customer Experiences start with the heart.”
What about you?
Are your office staff members and caregivers creating exceptional customer experiences for your clients, family members, and referral sources? What is it that they do to create those exceptional experiences? Does it start with the heart?
Home Care is becoming more competitive than ever. A new report from the Home Care Association of America indicates that there are more than 24,000 home care companies now offering services in the US. They are not all in your local market. It just feels that way some days. But there are more and more competitors in your local market. If you cannot clearly differentiate your company from your competitors it will be difficult to grow and to be profitable.
If you depend on word of mouth marketing – having enthusiastic customers telling others about the exceptional experience they have had working with your agency – then you’ll need to have exceptional employees with a heart for service. Finding them means you need an exceptional process for recruiting and selecting caregivers and office staff who have that heart.
How do you find caregivers with “Heart”?
At Leading Home Care and Caregiver Quality Assurance, we are always studying the home care industry to keep up with the latest trends and to identify best practices. Over the past ten years we have conducted three industry studies of best recruiting methods. It’s time to update that survey.
Please take a moment to give us your ideas and insights into the best methods of recruiting high quality caregivers who have a “heart for service”. Complete the 2014 Private Duty Recruiting Survey.