One aspect of our mission to our partners is to provide insight on today’s consumer. We believe that an important aspect of any marketing initiative is seeing the experience through a family’s eyes and truly understanding the different experiences they go through on their journey to find care for their loved one.
What are your customers truly searching for and where are they searching for that information? What are their specific pain points? What really matters to them before making a decision? When we start to dig deeper and put ourselves in the shoes of the families we serve, we can sell more effectively and better measure the success of our sales and marketing initiatives.
Think of your resident’s journey towards you as a roadmap. This roadmap should outline how you guide each resident and their family through every interaction with your brand, from how they find you to completing a tour, to moving in and even after move-in. Without this map, you may not have an accurate idea of how and why they’re engaging with your brand.
Here’s What We’ve Found: Reaching the Senior Living Consumer
At A Place for Mom, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching today’s senior living consumer, utilizing such tools as personas and journey maps to get a comprehensive look at who we’re helping and what they want.
We look at factors such as behavior, demographics, emotions, age and other details to craft personas of the senior living customers we meet every day.
Historically, we’ve done both quantitative and qualitative research with:
- Those who anticipate they will be caregivers
- Those who have placed a loved one in the past one to two years.
From this research we can see senior living trends and build customer segments that allow us to provide tools and resources that meet different family’s needs at different parts of their journeys.
A Look into Our Customer’s Journey
Here’s an example of what a caregiver’s journey may look like, and what we do at each touch point to improve their journey:
PHASE 1: Awareness/Research
In this first phase, a caregiver may notice their loved one is unsuccessful in basic daily functions. Or, their loved one may be hospitalized and not able to return home. The caregiver will begin thinking about making a permanent care transition and will start looking into resources for their loved one.
To find these resources, they’ll start looking online for knowledgeable articles and statistics, key financial information and topics that relate to their situation.
They’ll also look closely at reviews of communities and resource providers from others who are experiencing a similar journey. Many caregivers will also reach out to friends and family for help and guidance, before they reach out to senior living professionals.
It is important that we as an industry provide strong content, both online and offline, showcasing the value and benefits of senior living, answering questions caregivers and loved ones may have, and advising them on next steps as they become more aware of their options.
In this phase, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors are on hand to answer specific questions and help direct families and caregivers to the resources and reviews that provide them with the information they need. Our Advisors convey to families the importance of connecting with senior living communities and touring to better understand the benefits and hope for a better quality of life.
PHASE 2: Consideration
In the consideration phase, the caregiver is looking deeper at resources and content tailored specifically to their needs and thinking about how senior living could benefit their situation. They are likely using reviews to compare other resources and communities to see which one best fits their needs. Community ratings and reviews help them see what current residents and families are saying.
In this phase, A Place for Mom connects with families to understand their needs and qualify them for referral to our partner network. Once a family has been qualified, we customize a list of potential communities for each family that includes a link to the referred community’s web page including the community’s average star rating on SeniorAdvisor.com. These ratings are integrated on Google, the Family Letter, our websites, the Senior Living Finder family app, and more.
We also schedule tours directly with those communities. Our goal here is to give the family information to consider and tools to help them move forward in their search, connecting with communities who will demonstrate the value of senior living so that families can identify a solution that works.
PHASE 3: Decision
In the decision phase, the caregiver and their loved one are ready to act on the information they have and make a decision. They are confident in moving forward with their decision but may still need guidance as to what the next steps are and the additional support that is available throughout their loved one’s transition. It’s important to continue checking in and offering as much assistance as possible to help them make their final decision to move into your community.
In this phase, A Place for Mom continues to connect families and see how we can help them make that decision. We’ll answer questions and follow up with the referred partner communities through a referral update providing insight into where the family is at in their decision-making process
PHASE 4: Loyalty
The customer journey doesn’t end with a decision. It’s important to continue reaching families even after they’ve moved in. In this final loyalty phase, the resident and their family now have the on-going support and resources they need by moving into your community. In this phase it is especially important to ensure that residents are happy, so we focus on satisfaction and engagement, keeping in touch regularly to get timely feedback.
In this phase, A Place for Mom encourages families to share their feedback with others through ratings and reviews on SeniorAdvisor.com. Reviews are a big factor when prospective families are considering a senior living community and SeniorAdvisor.com offers a platform for communities to engage in the conversation.
Your Customer’s Journey is Unique to Your Organization
These four phases are in line with most sales and marketing plans today which emphasize a common cycle of initial consideration by the consumer, active evaluation, final decision making, and the post-move-in experience.
Keep in mind that every customer’s journey will be slightly different, and some customers may skip stages altogether; this is why it’s important to create as many scenarios as you can and talk to your customers to learn about the journey they take when interacting with your brand.
How to Identify Your Customer’s Journey
With the right foundation you can identify your own customer’s journey and implement an effective marketing strategy built around that journey. Consider the customer journey through each phase and with a few simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective consumer strategy:
- Set clear objectives for your customer journey. Put yourself in the family’s shoes and go through your website and sales process, envisioning their experience. Identify ideal actions at each phase and, most importantly, speak with residents and their caregivers directly or send out a survey to get a better understanding of where they’re coming from in their own journey.
- Map out key touch points. Decide what you will offer during each interaction point with families along their journey, what will happen throughout each phase, and how you would want your potential resident to take the next step.
- Understand the consumer’s perspective. Truly think about the emotions and motivations behind your consumer’s behavior. Considering that this is likely a very emotional time for families, what are their true needs? Record these needs and consider how your organization is equipped to meet each one.
- Overcome objections throughout. What are the pain points for your consumer in their journey? For example, they may be overwhelmed by their current situation, frustrated at trying to get other family members on board, or having trouble finding the right resources and support. Perhaps they just don’t know where to start. How can you help them through these obstacles?
Remember that residents and their families will always have different and unique needs at different parts of their journey and it’s not possible to predict every situation, but it is useful to develop common personas and scenarios, and create a relatable customer journey that touches on major needs and concerns.