In recent years, the number of senior living communities being purchased, built, expanded and renovated has exploded. This explosion in the growth of the industry means that the central focus of many marketers is to attract new clientele, rather than to retain existing clients.
After a sales and marketing budget has been established, a community is not likely to spend much money on customer retention, aside from normal operating expenses. However, the price tag for acquiring a new customer can be steep compared to the money spent to simply retain a customer that already lives in your community.
Surveys are a quick and cheap option for testing the waters at your community, and the two most important questions you can ask your residents are:
- “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most willing, how willing are you to recommend this community to friends and family?” Those who rate a 5 are great promoters for your business. Those in the 3-4 range are content enough, but not likely to promote. Anyone below a 3 should be viewed as an opportunity to find out how you can change your community for the better.
- “What single thing can we do today to increase your satisfaction with our service?” The answers to this question should give you an idea of some practical steps that can be implemented to further engage existing customers.
A key here: don’t wait to pose these questions on an annual survey (unless it’s being administered tomorrow). Many organizations rely heavily – if not solely – on annual satisfaction surveys to collect residents’ feedback. Instead, responses could be obtained through surveys administered after meals or activities.
Current customers also help to generate some of the best leads, which become new customers. The happier and more engaged the residents feel, the more likely they are to provide a positive referral.
By shifting the focus onto retention, as opposed to solely focusing on acquisition, senior living providers will discover and engender more loyalty among residents. This loyalty translates not only to sustained revenues from current residents, but also serves as a recruiting tool for new customers. A focus on retention is a win-win strategy for any community.