Leverage the Power of Mobile Technology
Updated: Jun 7
The way consumers engage with senior living providers has shifted in recent years.
In today’s digital world, the future seems to arrive faster each day. New technology swiftly changes our expectations as consumers and how we interact with businesses. The most successful organizations understand that customers expect quick responses — often meaning mere seconds. If you can’t deliver on customer preferences and expediency, it is easier than ever for that customer to simply walk away.
The consumer’s inclination for effortless connecting can be seen in the explosive growth of e-commerce. Consider how Amazon challenged the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping model. Their purchasing process is accomplished from the comfort of home — or wherever the buyer may happen to be — while using a preferred method of technology.
Has it worked? Amazon, founded in 1994, is now a household name and has reached $121 billion in net sales. As the leader in e-commerce and shopping in the United States, it has paved the way and proved that digital is the way of the future.
The consumer’s digital device of choice
While we can still shop, review products or engage in social media from a home or work computer, today’s consumers are much more likely to use the powerful one that is rarely out of their sight. A vast majority of Americans — 97 percent — now own a cell phone and 85 percent own a smartphone, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey.
Nearly half of the respondents to another survey last year stated they spent five to six hours on their smartphone daily, not including work-related use. The attachment to the device is growing stronger.
In a 2022 Gallup web survey, nearly two-thirds of those polled said a smartphone made their life better. Half said they couldn’t imagine life without it and 44 percent said that losing their phone for a day would cause feelings of anxiety. Over eight in 10 adults say they keep it near them during almost all of their waking hours.
When asked if they preferred using their phone or computer to search the internet or check social media, the smartphone was the overwhelming choice of those polled. This same device was favored for shopping online, comparing prices, reading web content and managing finances.
Digital mobility’s impact on senior living
The senior living industry is also benefiting from the power of the digital world and is beginning to see results. According to data collected from WelcomeHome Software, leads from digital sources have nearly doubled in the past three years. The quality of those leads — measured by move-in rates — has also improved dramatically.
Meeting your prospects where they are in the decision-making process and delivering the supporting information and services when they’re ready plays a major role in building solid relationships and ultimately boosting your bottom line.
Embracing mobile capabilities may require a change in your approach to best reach credible leads. Senior living communities have long known who their prospects are. But those who will benefit most will also recognize where they are. Your prospects could be at work, waiting to pick up their kids at school or sitting with their parents around the kitchen table when Googling “the best senior living communities near me.”
With a phone in hand, your prospects can quickly visit websites, read reviews and scroll through photos. If they like what they see, they may be ready to have their questions answered. A mobile phone makes the senior living search infinitely easier and more convenient. It can do the same for your operations if you take advantage of its potential.
Capturing leads with traditional responses
When family members search for a senior living community, it’s typically in response to a long overdue conversation, a crisis or a chronic illness that requires attention. In the past, children would sit at their desks or laptop, looking for more information and available care levels. If they liked what your community had to offer, they completed your form. The next step? They waited.
During this time your sales team lost the opportunity to meet the family where they were — in search of a solution that you could provide. Instead, after finally receiving the contact information, the results from later leaving a message for the prospect were frequently disappointing. Often you wouldn’t hear back for a couple of weeks or, even more discouraging, never.
Today’s digital capabilities have changed all that. Centralizing the intake of a digital lead can make all the difference. Instead of a delayed reply, the prospect immediately receives a reassuring response if you are using CRM software with targeted capabilities. Imagine the first impression created when a family searching for help hears the words “you just inquired about our senior living community and I’d love to talk with you about it.”
Utilizing the power of time, a prospect’s inquiry can be met with a direct call within minutes.
With software written specifically for the seniors housing business, the essential information is captured and transmitted to your sales team immediately — name, email, phone number and reason for the inquiry. Your team can call or send a text to prospects and ask if they’re free to talk or when might work best.
The benefits also extend to face-to-face meetings with prospects or referral sources. An application such as talk-to-text allows your team to leave notes and no longer rely solely on memory. It’s easy to record who was met, what was discussed and when a follow-up call should be scheduled.
Mobility improves functionality
Studies show companies on average can gain an extra 240 hours of productivity per year when their employees use mobile devices for work. Along with removing location restraints, with industry-specific software your sales team will have access to:
Lead and referrer contact information
Single-click communication for call, text or email
Adding next steps to be taken, linked to the prospect or referrer
Real-time dashboards and occupancy data
Capability to open and share files
The power and advantages of a smartphone expand to reach both your company and your customers. Consumers benefit from the almost limitless availability of information at their fingertips. It’s never been easier to research and compare products or services, read reviews, ask questions and become more informed before making a decision — all without being constrained to the location of their computer.
Businesses can also provide stand-out customer service while uncomplicating the buying process. Responding quickly to questions or concerns as well as creating a safe space for a prospect not yet ready to speak to a sales member builds loyalty. Digital technology also allows easy access to your brand and positions your organization as a leader in the industry. Your employees will find it simpler to stay connected, enjoy greater productivity when working from anywhere and remain more readily available when the prospect is ready to talk.
Communities that benefit from these hand-held computers not only respond more efficiently but market their brand effectively on the devices their prospects use most. Whether it’s video or posts, on Twitter or Facebook, the message and method can differentiate your community.
Leveraging the power of mobile can provide that avenue. Not all prospects will be ready to make a decision, but they still won’t want to be put on hold or wait for information. We’ve all become accustomed to the immediacy that the digital world promises. Those who deliver on that promise will find themselves ahead of the game.
John Lariccia is CEO and co-founder of WelcomeHome Software, an advanced customer relationship management (CRM) platform for senior housing operators. Original article featured in Seniors Housing Business.