In a recent blog, we discussed how client/patient and family referrals continue to be the number one marketing source for most home care agencies – and how vital it is to ensure you have satisfied existing customers in order to benefit from this trend.
However, preliminary results from a 2022 Benchmarking Report reveal that less than a quarter of clients/patients are satisfied with their current home care agency. This is the first time in five years that client turnover is on the rise, and it’s a significant rise, from 58% to 76%.
So, what can your agency do about this worrying statistic?
One way to ensure your agency keeps client/patient satisfaction high – and turnover low – is to regularly and consistently measure and monitor satisfaction levels, and act promptly on any feedback received.
While this might seem like a lot of work, it can help you achieve essential, agency-wide objectives over time that significantly decrease client turnover.
Eight ways excel at measuring and monitoring client/patient satisfaction
Client/patient and family satisfaction aren’t just buzzwords that home care providers use to attract new customers. Placing a strong emphasis on measuring and monitoring client/patient and family satisfaction can give your agency a real edge over your competitors.
1. Create the right culture for open communication and honest feedback
Today’s clients and their families want to be part of a home care agency that values their opinions, listens to their concerns, and constantly strives to improve its services.
Creating the right culture – that promotes two-way, open communication and encourages client feedback – needs to be agency-wide, from managers and leaders to office staff, caregivers, and referral partners.
Measuring and monitoring satisfaction is a great way to keep your clients and their families engaged and connected with your agency brand. It sends a strong message that you care about them and about cultivating an environment that embraces quality, transparency, and continuous improvement.
2. Regularly use satisfaction surveys/questionnaires
Surveys are a great way to determine how satisfied your clients and families are with your agency, the services you provide and your care teams.
When selecting (or designing) a survey questionnaire, it’s essential to look for three things: clarity, brevity, and consistency. Try to ensure your survey results are reliable and useable by:
- Keeping the survey process anonymous
- Keeping questions brief, easy to understand
- Keeping questions focused (what exactly are you trying to find out?)
- Using consistent scales for all questions so you can compare results, for example, 5-point scales (e.g., Likert)
- Including one or two open-ended questions to help understand what is behind particular scores (e.g., What do you like best about our home care agency? What are we doing particularly well? What can we do to improve?)
- Collecting demographic data at the end of the survey to see how different groups of patients respond to particular questions.
Surveys can be carried out via mail, email, or a link on your social media/website, depending on your clients’ preferences. You can use various online services to create free and speedy surveys in-house. Depending on your agency’s goals, there are also more advanced options for surveys that you can invest in via an outside vendor.
3. Set up other easy-to-use client/patient feedback channels and tools
The best results will come when you combine both data and customer feedback, as these different views help form a clearer picture of how your agency is doing, what is working well, and where you need to make improvements.
Having different feedback channels and tools that your clients/patients and families can use will help to provide unique insights into their likes, dislikes, and any issues they may have.
Useful channels to use for gathering client/patient and family feedback (direct and indirect) include:
- social media listening (including your competitors)
- phone surveys
- focus groups
- personal interviews, face-to-face or remotely
- online reviews
- short surveys and polls – ask one question or conduct a brief poll from your website or app
- feedback communities and forums on your website (will require monitoring and moderating)
- internal team feedback, including caregivers, direct from clients and families
- in-app feedback tools.
Using home care software, like Smartcare’s Family Portal, your clients and families will already have easy access to instant feedback features via a mobile app. They can rate their experience of shifts, caregivers, your agency performance, and more. Additionally, when these ratings are completed, notifications are automatically sent to your team to view/run reports for KPIs, caregiver ratings over time, and so on.
All of the above channels can be used to strengthen your agency’s engagement with your clients and their families, generate great feedback and fresh ideas, and help improve your business.
4. Be sure to include clients’ families
When building relationships and customer feedback loops, it’s important to remember that you aren’t just trying to build and maintain a relationship with your clients but also with their families.
This is particularly important for families that live some distance from their loved ones who rely heavily on your agency for their daily care.
Be sure to include key family members in your surveys, polls, and in-app feedback to get a complete picture of your agency’s performance from different perspectives.
5. Make sure your clients and their families know how they can provide feedback
Setting up client feedback channels is all well and good, but you have to let your clients and their families know about them.
There are multiple ways to promote your feedback channel options, including:
- Targeted email marketing
- Phone calls and texts
- Built-in social sharing
- Prominent link/pop up on your website’s home page
- Dedicated page on your website
- Information added to your social media bios
- Call-to-actions on blog posts
- Reposting in social and email content.
6. Estabilish standardized internal reporting processes to capture all feedback
Whether running one or multiple channels for gathering client and family feedback, you will need to set up a process that captures and collates the information you receive to ensure nothing gets lost or forgotten. For example, if caregivers report back on client suggestions for improvement, who will they share this with, where will it be recorded, when will it be reviewed?
Decide and define how feedback should be reported and ensure your teams know how, when, and where to submit it.
7. Use the data you collect to keep improving your client experience
Reviewing and analyzing the data you collect can be the most complex part of the process. If your agency doesn’t have the time or resources to analyze multiple survey results or collate feedback from other channels, you can consider outsourcing this stage to someone specializing in home care data analysis.
Consider setting up an internal ‘satisfaction team’ to make the most of your collected feedback and ensure timely action is taken. This team can meet regularly to review all inputs and recommend any actions to be taken based on their findings.
It’s important to remember that not all feedback will be negative! Make sure you acknowledge the positives about the many things you are doing well and regularly celebrate these wins with your team.
8. Offer incentives in exchange for feedback
Not all clients and families will engage with your feedback channels. Still, you need to collect as much information as possible from multiple sources to understand the overall experience with your agency.
Where engagement is low, try offering incentives that are of value to your client/patients. This should not be used as an opportunity to sell or promote your services – you don’t want the incentive to look like a bribe!
Some agencies have successfully incentivized clients with discount coupons/vouchers, service upgrades or freebies, gift cards, loyalty cards, and social gifting.
When promoting your feedback channels and incentives, make sure you emphasize that this is a genuine effort from your agency to listen to its customers to improve engagement and satisfaction.
Any home care agency’s long-term growth and success are determined largely by how well it commits to client and family satisfaction. This requires a clear understanding of what drives client/patient satisfaction within your agency, along with a conscious, continuous effort from every member of your team.
Gathering regular feedback shows your clients and families that you are committed to them and their satisfaction with your agency. Also, it allows you to leverage the data to continually enhance your agency’s performance.
The information you collect will help you see precisely where you need to focus your resources for maximum results to improve the client experience you are providing.
With a clear strategy for collecting and analyzing feedback and the right software in place, you can excel in client/patient and family satisfaction and retention, boost your agency’s overall reputation and rise above your competitors to achieve business growth.