At A Place for Mom, our Senior Living Advisors (SLAs) are at the heart of our business. They use their local expertise to help families find the best possible senior living options, understand how to pay for those options, and navigate the often-challenging decision-making process to move a family member into senior living. Of course, doing all of this work takes a tremendous amount of time, so we are constantly looking for ways to free up more time for our SLAs to spend more time with families and our partner communities. One of the ways we do this is by having a centralized contact center as the first point of contact for callers. By asking the right questions, we save our SLAs time by doing a lot of the legwork that can eat up a significant portion of their day. These processes guarantee that our SLAs can work only with families that are ready to start their senior living search, which in turn means that we are referring qualified families to our partners. Here are four ways that our contact center saves time:
1. Immediate Response to Online Inquiries
Although some people searching for senior living do things the old-fashioned way (pick up a phone and call us!), more and more are turning to the web and choosing to fill out online requests for assistance. In fact, internet searches for terms like Assisted Living are up 15%. When you compare that to the industry’s 3% growth, it’s clear that more and more people are turning to the internet to begin their search. Because our Advisors spend their days speaking with families, following up with our community partners, and out on the road visiting communities, we route every new online inquiry to our contact center, which is staffed to guarantee immediate follow-up and provide that first human connection (which we know is so important). Once the contact center connects with the family, we can direct them to an available SLA immediately. Our fast response time allows us to maintain the momentum that started when the prospect found us online, which is vital when it comes to guiding them through the sales process.
2. Consistent Follow-Up
Sometimes people don’t answer the call, even when they filled out our online contact form moments before the phone rang. Rather than having our Advisors spend lots of time leaving voicemails for new inquiries, we use our contact center to place those outbound calls. When we do get in touch with a family, we can then verify their search location and connect them instantly with the local Advisor in their area.
3. Verify that Callers are Interested in Senior Living Options
Because of the broad, national reach of A Place for Mom and our partner network, we receive a significant amount of callers who aren’t actually looking for senior living options. Some callers are looking for jobs, some are trying to locate long-lost family members already living at communities, and others are simply wrong numbers. Rather than having our Senior Living Advisors spend valuable minutes helping out these callers, our contact center can more efficiently provide helpful resources to them.
4. Reassure the Caller
We believe that first impressions count, so one of our policies is to greet every caller with a “warm hug.” When a person calls in looking for senior living options, we want to connect that person with another human, not just a voicemail. Since the journey to find senior living options can be such an emotionally-taxing experience, we strive to virtually wrap our arms around each caller and give them a “warm hug.” We then transfer the caller to an SLA, who is experienced and reassuring. Once we refer them to you, they are calm, informed, and confident that they can continue their search.
Our contact center allow us to do a significant portion of the leg work for our Advisors. When you receive a lead from us, you know that we have confirmed that the person is looking for senior living, has spoken with a Senior Living Advisor, and is prepared to move forward in their search for the best senior living solution for their loved one. In summary, we are proud that our contact center provides a “win-win-win”: we can ensure the best initial experience for our families, maximize the valuable time of our Senior Living Advisors, and refer qualified families to our partners.
Do you have any tips for senior living professionals to make their day more efficient? Leave your ideas in the comments below!
About the Author
Gavin Woody is the VP of Operations at A Place for Mom. He has extensive experience in global call center operations and consulting. Gavin is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, an avid outdoorsman, and ultra-marathoner.