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5 Questions that Every Home Care Agency Needs to Ask in 2021

Published on March 17, 2021 by Scott Zielski

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With the home care industry about to experience a sustained boom period, you need to ensure that your agency is fully prepared. How efficient is your recruitment process? Do your home care professionals stay long in the job? Are you ready to expand your business? Is your agency tech-ready?

1. What strategies and tools do we need to retain our caregivers?

home care agency growth

With the home care industry experiencing exponential growth, you need an engaged team, attracting the best new talent, and with as little staff turnover as possible. If employees see their colleagues leaving the company, morale will take a hit, and productivity will suffer. So how can you create a strong, inclusive, dynamic culture in your home care agency?

Make sure that your staff feel valued and listened to, by offering them regular pay and performance reviews – with two-way communication a key element. As well as giving them your feedback on their job performance, ask them what you can do to help solve any issues that have arisen and support them to carry out their tasks even more effectively.

How can they move up the company – training days or an ongoing program? Mentorship? Extra qualifications? Show them that you are willing to invest in their professional development – actions speak louder than words, after all. That way, you can build a loyal, engaged team – and client satisfaction will increase, too.

Another great way to build a sense of community is via public displays of appreciation – tell the world how great your staff are, how valued by their clients. Have a caregiver of the week, or month, who has achieved a particular accomplishment worth noting, displayed on your website and social media channels. Seeing the happy, proud face of one of your professionals is great for their own motivation, for the company as a whole, for your clients – and for those who are looking for an agency to care for their loved one.

Many caregivers are also looking after their own families and may only be available to work certain hours. With specialist cloud-based software like Smartcare, it is quicker and easier for them to take the shifts that work for their own lives, as well as logging on and off for shifts. They can report back on their completed tasks via a mobile app without the added inconvenience of filling in and submitting timesheets. This added flexibility and convenience is key for retaining care professionals, who need to maintain ownership over their own busy lives.

Gifts such as restaurant, theatre or self-care vouchers are a thoughtful way of saying thank you – a well-deserved treat to reward them for all their hard work. You can also send brief, inspiring messages to caregivers before and after their shifts – that small gesture that will show your faith in them and encourage a positive attitude towards their work.

2. How do we increase new client signings?

home care agency growth

Sales and marketing are a key part of the homecare industry, as it is your reputation that will win you new customers and quick response to their inquiries. An app designed specifically for home care like Smartcare helps automate the client pipeline process and increase the new client win metrics above the market. These CRMs free up sales and marketing staff, enabling them to concentrate on finding more customers and building relationships with referral sources.

A fully integrated software system will streamline the process of tracking leads. Even better, the only organic sale automation platform designed specifically for the home care market – Smartcare software – is a tool worth its weight in gold, both economically and in saving time tracking client leads and communicating with them as your sales team manages the inbound pipeline.

As the homecare market grows, so will the number of agencies offering their services. You need to ensure that you are always at the forefront of potential clients’ minds. Using automated reminders mean that you never lose a potential lead. You can also strengthen your presence in the local community – yours will be the first agency that prospective clients have in mind within their area. You can respond to prospects quickly and offer them an easy way to convert into customers.

Your “sales pipeline” gives you an idea of where your customers are in the “sales funnel”: the different stages that a prospect passes through towards becoming your customer. These can be defined roughly as a prospect, qualified lead, meeting, proposal, closed deal, and post-sale. Your sales team needs to be aware of what stage each prospect is at, while the legwork – sending out emails, following up leads – can be managed by the automated CRM. The software tools in the Smartcare package will speed up this flow through the “funnel”, increasing the quantity and conversion rates of prospects. Momentum will build up as leads progress further down the tunnel until they are closed – this is called “sales pipeline velocity”.

With Smartcare’s CRM system, you can also track advertising campaigns, collect and reference sales and market intelligence, customize your sales process, ensure that your top referrals are nurtured, share data, and quickly spot trends, and most importantly for your bottom line, measure your sales ROI.

3. How do we ready our business for growth coming to home care?

As we move into 2021, and the demand for home care services continues to increase, we need to ensure that our businesses are prepared for a rapidly growing market. Companies have had to adapt quickly to the changing work environment (see point 4), including the new regulatory framework caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic, more people are choosing to stay in their homes for longer, necessitating support from ever more homecare professionals.

If your managers are already occupied running a busy team, how can they make the hiring process more streamlined?

As with many aspects of running a business today, technology is the answer. Streamlining the process of taking on new staff is a positive move for everyone – application forms, CVs, background checks, and questionnaires can all be moved online, from stages of the hiring process itself to storing the documents.

During the hiring process, an application tracker system (ATS) will help you and your prospective new employees to keep updated on where they are. This is one of the many time and money-saving functionalities offered by Smartcare, with its cloud-based software package and mobile app.

The software’s scheduling functionality will increase productivity so that your new employees can easily slot into your workflow, taking on shifts to care for the ever-increasing number of clients.

Smartcare can also provide valuable insights and business intelligent information into your business and its operations, so you can see at what rate your business is growing, and where possible weak points might be, in order to address them before they become a more serious issue. When determining if your business is performing as well as it can and should be, you can utilize past data and see the improvement and growth first hand. 

With Smartcare, you can easily capture and utilize data insights to make better decisions that improve your business now and will lead to better outcomes in the future.

4. What do we need to digitally transform our business?

marketing strategy

Within a few months of the pandemic starting last year, businesses had to immediately accelerate their speed of digitalization by seven years, according to a survey by McKinsey.

Many companies were forced to go digital simply in order to stay afloat, but once they realized the benefits of digitalization – such as improved efficiency and productivity, time savings, and transparency – they went further and extended the changes to their entire company – scheduling, billing, marketing. 

If your home care agency is not already using a complete software platform like Smartcare, then now is the time to move over to digital.

As mentioned above, one of the many ways that this cloud-based software and mobile app will help your company is in hiring staff; another is in scheduling; and also marketing and getting new clients.

You can easily track, manage and update your team of caregivers using EVV (electronic visit verification), empowering caregivers and improving workflow (Medicaid specific EVV is being approved and introduced on a state-by-state basis). This technology enables you to accurately track the types of tasks performed, hours worked, and clients and locations visited by your home care professionals.

In addition, ebilling, automated invoicing and payroll processing can be integrated, offering flexible multi-tiered payroll support, thereby saving huge amounts of time on paperwork and avoiding potential errors in calculation or lost documents. Plus, everyone always gets paid on time, leading to a more contented workforce.

Digitalizing your agency only has upsides – you are saving everyone’s time, improving everyone’s productivity, and streamlining the entire operation. The economic benefits are obvious from the outset.

5. What Business Intelligence (BI) metrics should I be monitoring?

One of the most important aspects of home care software for business owners, from a strategic planning and review perspective, is the BI and insights offered. This information and data can provide the answers to key questions without being too complex or adding to your workload.

Using integrated homecare software like Smartcare, you can visualize trends with customizable KPI (key performance indicator) dashboards offering access to essential metrics. In this way, your performance can be measured against key business objectives.

These measurable values include client conversion, staff retention, customer satisfaction, turnover, margin, and profit. You can work out how to increase your revenue: what targets do you need to set? Where do you need to make cost savings? How will progress towards these targets be measured? How often will growth be calculated? How will it be compared?

All KPIs should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed (i.e. within a time-frame) – and, above all, outcome-oriented.

To have actionable insights, you need to review your business objectives, analyze your current performance, set short and long-term trackable goals, review those targets, assess progress – and readjust KPIs as appropriate. They need to evolve and respond organically to the changing environment of your business.

This business intelligence is what will give you the edge over your competitors, ensuring that your agency goes from strength to strength.