In the latest instalment of our care industry executive interview series, Senior Response Ltd‘s Managing Director Michael King (pictured, above) explains how a contact centre partner can support the business development needs of a care home group…
Tell us about your company, products, and services.
Senior Response is a specialist contact centre working exclusively in the mature market space. 58% of our agents are over the age 50 and bring with them a wealth of life experience and the ability to effectively communicate with the older market. We provide inbound and outbound call handling services and appointment booking services for care home enquirers looking to book visits for care homes and find out about residency availability.
What have been the biggest challenges your care home clients have faced over the past 12 months?
With the work that we do with our clients, we have found that restoring confidence for people enquiring about care homes for themselves or a loved one is the biggest challenge. The impacts of Covid, we found had affected confidence and we collaborate very closely with our clients to ensure we have all the information so that when we speak to enquirers, we can reassure them of the safety measures our clients have in place.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
We believe ensuring every email enquiry or phone call to enquire about availability remains a key opportunity. We want to take the pressure off the home managers and their teams by ensuring 90% of calls are answered within 20 seconds, and booking the show around visits. This allows the care home teams to focus on the care of the residents.
What other tips can you give to your clients regarding enquiries to help their business development functions?
One of the things we find valuable and offer to our clients, is a post visit survey or follow up call. When someone has agreed to a visit and have had a tour of the home, we know that not all will progress to becoming a new resident. We do a follow up survey call 48 hours after the appointment to find out how the visit went, were they expected, was the home able to meet the required care needs, was funding discussed, and what was the enquirer’s view of the care home and its facilities. This information is valuable to understand areas of focus, what went well and what did not, but also any best practices that can be shared between different homes in the same care home group.
What do your team enjoy the most about working with your clients?
I think it is the fact that they can help the caller in choosing the right care home for them. We can do all the work for them which saves them time from ringing several care homes. These calls can sometimes become difficult and emotional and the fact that our agents have the life experience, empathy and patience with the enquirer is so vital. There is a huge sense of satisfaction from the team especially when the enquirer or their loved one attends the visit and will be moving in as a new resident.
Where do you see the future of the phone channel as a response method vs. the continuing increase in online and digital marketing?
We are seeing that often these channels overlap and work together. Enquirers may start their journey online to do the research, read reviews and consider the options. The enquirers may be doing the research on behalf of a loved one and are comfortable with the online journey. Other enquirers value the importance of being able to speak with someone. There may be specific questions that they need to ask, they may not be sure of the type of care required, or they just need that reassurance of speaking with the people who will be responsible for their or a loved one’s care.
The channels work together and often start in one channel and finish in another. We receive enquiries by phone and by email. It comes down to the channel of choice for customers. The key we believe is to provide these channels of choice to accommodate the diverse ways enquirers like to communicate.