When it comes to the non-medical home care industry, no one can deny the fact that clients have a broad range of choices to choose from when deciding exactly where to spend their hard-earned money. The question is: as a non-medical home care business owner or manager, what are you doing to entice your clients to keep doing business with you?
According to Michele Ellis-Williams, home care business coach, author, and mentor, there are many reasons that can provoke a client to leave, but most leave because they are not happy with the service they have been receiving. As expected, a good number of these clients take the business to the competition.
So, what should home care agencies do to maintain their clients, and most importantly, to encourage these clients to recommend their relatives, friends, and other associates to bring in more business? Here are some exceptional tips from Coach Michele:
Easy Ways to Retain Your Non-Medical Home Care Clients
1. Prioritizing Effective and Exceptional Communication
One of the best ways to retain and improve your home care client base is to prioritize efficient client communication in the agency or business. Regular communication shows that you care about the well-being of your clients and this, in turn, makes it easier for them to be honest with you about issues that may be worrying them.
Practice regular and timely client communication and make sure they understand that you are just a phone call or mouse-click away. Being always available demonstrates that your agency doesn’t take client satisfaction lightly.
2. Seeing Your Clients as Individuals
While it is true that home care patients must be treated in a professional way, seeing them as individuals – not just as paychecks, will go a long way in strengthening your professional bond. Asking them polite questions about their health or children or emailing them informational newsletters from time to time are just a few ways to show them they are much more than a paycheck to your business.
3. Encouraging Clients to Provide Feedback
Client or customer feedback is a crucial part of business as it provides the owners with the insight they need to improve their services and overall client experience. According to Coach Michele, “Client feedback will enable you to determine just how satisfied or unsatisfied your clients are with the services you are delivering,”
“A happy client is a retained client,” continues the Coach.
“If a client starts feeling unhappy or dissatisfied with your services, he or she may start exploring the competition and eventually take the business away from you,”
Encourage your clients to leave feedback whenever they wish through email, telephone, in person, or through your website.
4. Exceeding Client Expectations
Yet another effective way to retain your home care clients is to exceed their expectations. Consider their needs and aim to go above and beyond in a way they will be glad about.
“Finally, for clients who have been with you for a longer period of time, a token of appreciation or an unexpected gift or discount around the holidays can strengthen your professional relationship,” concludes Coach Michele.
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Caregiver retention refers to a home care agency’s ability to retain its caregivers. If you own or manage a non-medical home care agency, your goal should be to maintain a low caregiver turnover rate.
A turnover rate is in simple terms the percentage of employees that quit voluntarily during a period of one year. A high turnover rate can be extremely damaging for your agency. To begin with, it can cause low morale among your caregivers. It can also cause poor performance, low productivity, and decreased profits among many other negative results.
The truth is that retaining caregivers can be a bit difficult. There is usually is no sure way to determine whether a new hire plans to stay or plans to stay as he/she looks for something “better.”
The good news is that as long as your employees/caregivers are happy and contented, you can expect to maintain a low turnover rate. So, how do you ensure that your caregivers are happy and contented with their jobs?
Here are a few suggestions from home care Coach and owner of Astin Home Care Agency, Michele Ellis-Williams:
3 Ways to Retain Your Best Caregivers
1. Provide Ongoing Caregiver Training
According to various studies, it has emerged that many new caregivers lack confidence. Providing ongoing caregiver training is therefore a great way to build their confidence. It is also a good way to show that you care about their development as your employees.
With ongoing training, you don’t have to worry about losing valuable employees simply because they feel inadequate or unsure of their skills.
2. Showing Them You Care Beyond Their Work
Your caregivers will appreciate their jobs more when they know they matter beyond their work. One of the best ways to show you care is by offering them a listening ear whenever they want to talk.
If, for example, a caregiver confides about feeling uncomfortable with a particular client, listen and act.
The quickest way to lose a valuable caregiver is to disregard a grievance. Don’t hesitate to let go of a client who disrespects your caregivers or threatens their safety.
Once you begin to see your employees as real people with lives outside of work, you will see just how unchallenging it will be to work together as a team.
3. Show That You Appreciate Them
Yet another highly effective way to retain your caregivers is to give recognition where it is due. If, for example, a client tells you how kind or professional a particular caregiver is, pass the remark onto that caregiver and let him/her know how grateful you are.
To further appreciate a hard worker, you may send him/her a thank you note or recognize him/her as “employee of the month.”
Offering an incentive is also a great way to appreciate a caregiver for his/her hard work and efforts. Bonuses, paid time-off, and cash rewards are just a few examples of incentives that will encourage friendly competition between your caregivers.
“Always remember that your caregivers are the most important asset to your private duty home care business. Keep them happy and they will keep your clients happy,” Concludes Coach Michele.
If you have decided to start a non-medical home care business, chances are you have already discovered that there are few limitations to setting up this kind of business. To begin with, it is possible to start a non-medical home care business from your own home.
Secondly, no previous medical training or experience is needed to venture into the industry. You will, however, need to undertake a short training program offered by a membership organization or a franchise.
Thirdly, when it comes to financing a non-medical home care business, it is very much possible to raise the capital without relying on relatives or banks to sort you out. In fact, the options of self-financing a home care business are practically limitless. So, which one would suit you best? Here are a few options:
4 Ways to Self-Finance Your Non-Medical Home Care Business
1. Your personal savings
While using up your personal savings to may involve putting your life savings at risk, you don’t have to stress yourself over the high-interest rates or security requirements that come with bank loans. To accumulate your savings quickly, you may consider taking up a part-time job, or you can choose to put some of your possessions up for sale.
2. Your credit cards
If you have a superb credit rating, chances are you may be able to finance your business exclusively on your credit cards. While it's true that this one can be an expensive way to fund your business, many people have done it and ended up being hugely successful.
Also, the fact that there are ways to cut down on startup costs, such as basing your business at home, means that you can easily cut down on the expenses.
3. Your Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Another way to self-finance your non-medical home care business is to borrow against your IRAs. If you have an IRA account or several, you can withdraw the interest they have accumulated (consider it a short-term, tax-free loan) if you are sure you can replace it within 60 days. It is imperative that you return the money before this period because even a one-day delay will not only attract penalties, but you will also have to pay taxes on the money you haven’t returned.
4. Your life insurance
Borrowing against your life insurance presents yet another valid self-financing option. Unlike a normal loan, you don’t have to pay the loan back since the money can be deducted from the amount your dependants or policy beneficiaries will get after your death.
When borrowing against your life insurance, there is no approval procedure and no explanation is required concerning how you intend to use the money. However, you might need professional advice if you choose to take this option as life insurance loans can be a bit tricky to understand in terms of compound interest and taxation.
In conclusion, whatever self-financing route you may choose to take, rest assured that in the end, it will be worth it. The road to success is long, but you will eventually get there!