Keeping your clients/patients and their families happy and satisfied is essential to the success of your home care agency – and for many reasons. Satisfied clients not only affect client retention, reimbursement and, in some cases, clinical outcomes but also positively impact your referral network, helping your business to grow.
For these reasons, smart home care agencies are continually looking for innovative ways to increase client/patient satisfaction – as effectively and efficiently as possible – to help them rise to the top of their local market. Investing in improving your clients’ experience and engagement is an investment in improving and growing your home care business.
Happy clients are simply good for business.
Here we offer seven steps to help your agency raise the bar when it comes to those all-important client and family satisfaction scores in 2022:
Step 1: Invest in training
To standardize the quality of care your agency provides, it is essential that all staff go through the required training to perform their jobs as effectively as possible. There will be a minimum training requirement in your state, and your agency must obtain all the proper state and local certifications. However, this is just the start.
To significantly impact the quality of care and client/patient satisfaction scores, all agencies should be developing training programs that offer career and personal growth opportunities for their caregivers and office staff. A well-trained, confident, motivated team will deliver a much higher, standardized level of care to your clients and their families.
Training caregivers should, of course, be a high priority for every agency, but the importance of training office employees should not be overlooked.
For example, training staff in organizational skills, scheduling, time management, and communication skills will help your team build solid relationships and rapport, significantly improve workflows, and directly impact client satisfaction and retention.
From comprehensive onboarding and beyond, training is also a powerful tool for caregiver recruitment and retention and an effective marketing tool to help your business grow in a highly competitive market. It is a win-win-win strategy!
Step 2: Get your caregiver-client matching right
Multiple studies show that a good relationship between caregivers and their clients significantly improves both caregiver and client satisfaction and retention. In addition, well-matched, long-lasting relationships play a vital role in higher client/patient satisfaction, increased referrals, better relationships between agencies and their clients’/patients’ families, and can help to attract new prospective clients.
However, this isn’t an easy thing to do. Coordinators in charge of scheduling need to possess a thorough knowledge of each caregiver’s personality and skill set, in addition to each client’s specific requirements and characteristics – in order to match them appropriately.
Thankfully, agencies can now leverage the latest technology to identify the best matches between caregivers and clients – to ensure maximum success. SMARTcare’s unique machine learning (ML) technology and matching algorithms make this pairing process easy and take it to an advanced level.
It also allows agencies to tailor matching solutions to their local market criteria, further cementing the caregiver/client bond and improving caregiver and client satisfaction and retention rates.
Step 3: Identify all client touch points with your agency
When measuring client and family satisfaction, many agencies make the mistake of viewing their clients’ needs solely through the lens of the caregiver-client relationship.
In reality, your clients and their families have a much broader experience with your agency than that, and it can be helpful to identify each of their touchpoints. For example:
- Communicating with your agency/care team
- Accessing billing/invoicing/payments/spending history
- Reviewing schedules
- Adding and reviewing care documentation
- Accessing educational materials and additional services
- Medication management
- Emergency calls for fall incidents.
Being aware of (and tracking) each client’s journey through your agency’s services can be beneficial, as every one of these contact points will affect their overall experience and levels of satisfaction.
Understanding the complete picture can give your agency that all-important edge in knowing which touchpoints need to be added, enhanced, or completely revamped.
Step 4: Regularly ask for feedback from your clients and their families
While client satisfaction is crucial to all home care agencies, defining and measuring it can prove challenging. To know how satisfied your clients are, where your agency is lacking in service, as well as the areas where you are excelling, you need to ask your clients and their families directly.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the client/patient experience your agency provides, it is important to establish and promote different client feedback channels – depending on your clients’ preferred methods.
For example, via phone call, face-to-face chat, email, text, online, by post, etc. You can also obtain client feedback from other sources – including social media comments, online reviews, and client surveys.
If you are using home care software, like Smartcare’s Family Portal, your clients and families will already have easy access to feedback features via a mobile app, where they can rate their experience of shifts and caregivers. When ratings are completed, automatic notifications are sent to your team, who can view/run reports to see KPIs, average caregiver ratings over time, and so on.
Gathering regular feedback not only shows your clients and families that you are committed to them and their satisfaction but will also allow you to leverage the data to improve your agency’s performance.
The information you gather will help you see precisely where you need to focus your efforts and resources for maximum results to improve the client experience your agency is providing.
Step 5: Take prompt action on feedback
Firstly, it is essential that all staff are trained in active listening and how to respond to client/patient feedback so that any bad situations do not escalate further. This will be a big part of your agency’s culture – client-centered care – and needs to start at the top of the organization.
If you want your caregivers to be mindful of your clients’ needs, you need to create the right environment for that to happen – prioritizing a high commitment to the satisfaction of clients and their families.
All feedback provides an opportunity to identify ways you can improve and innovate at your agency to ensure a better client experience in the future. It may be minor problems that impact large numbers of clients – that you can proactively fix in advance of them becoming more significant problems later on – or larger issues specific to just one or two clients and their families. They all need to be fixed quickly and efficiently.
It can be hugely beneficial to set up an internal ‘satisfaction team’ to make the most out of the feedback you gather 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.
Of course, not all feedback will be negative – and it is essential to celebrate the wins with your team too. Identify what your clients love about your agency and do more of it. For example, you might have multiple clients feeding back that they like their caregiver checking in with them via a video chat on the days they’re not making a home visit.
In this case, you could consider rolling this out as an agency-wide policy to ensure more of your clients get to experience that higher level of care and service.
Step 6: Utilize technology to improve agency performance
Increasing client/patient satisfaction and loyalty to your agency – to drive client retention and overall business growth – can be far more time- and cost-effective with the right technology in place.
From client-caregiver matching tools, scheduling software, and EVV solutions to advanced client (and family) engagement and communication tools, the right software can significantly improve workflows and outcomes and help you deliver first-class care consistently.
The right home care management software, like SMARTcare’s complete Home Care Platform, will also ensure you capture client and family feedback in real-time, giving you operational insights to continually improve your services and grow your agency.
Step 7: Be transparent
Client satisfaction and loyalty to your home care agency don’t just happen overnight. It takes time to build rapport, trust, and bonded relationships through consistent care and nurturing from your entire team.
It also requires transparency – which applies equally to when things are going well and when things have gone wrong. Being direct and transparent, admitting shortfalls, and communicating openly with your clients and their families, promotes your agency culture and builds trust over time.
It lets your clients and families know that you actively listen to them, understand their needs, and value their opinions. It lets them know that you are invested in them and can be trusted. This all goes a long way to driving up that all-important customer satisfaction score and loyalty to your agency.
The long-term success of any home care agency is largely determined by how well it commits to client and family satisfaction. This requires conscious, continuous effort from every member of an agency team.
With a firm understanding of what drives client/patient satisfaction within your agency, a robust strategy for ongoing improvement, and the right software in place, you can transform operations, excel in client and family satisfaction and retention, and boost your agency’s overall reputation in 2022 – rising above your competitors and achieving business growth.
To learn more about how SMARTcare software can help your home care agency excel in client and family satisfaction for 2022 and beyond, please give us a call today.