At the Seattle airport, Wolfgang Puck had some beautiful pizzas in the display window. I ordered one and mine was well done – almost burnt. Should I have taken it back? I ate it. It was good enough…then when I walked by the display window again…I had to look…the display had a burnt pizza. Why would anyone showcase burnt anything? If you make pizzas, how hard is it to make them perfect (I was in the pizza business for 3 years early in my career)?
How are you showcasing your retirement community? How is your phone being answered? Is it answered within one or two rings? When guests arrive at your community how are they greeted? Does the receptionist stand to greet them? Are guests offered water on hot days and coffee on cold days?
Are first impressions a priority for your organization? Or is everything good enough? Is your 85% to 90% occupancy good enough? What would it take to go to 95% or 100%? How are you differentiating yourself from your competitors? Is everyone in the neighborhood, just getting by and just good enough? Why not stand out from the senior housing pack and go above and beyond? How about exceeding expectations? What about giving a WOW experience?
What does it take to give a WOW experience? Sometimes it is only a 5% to 10% difference, but it takes a team approach! Some communities are making changes and watching the occupancy grow! What is making the difference?
1) Pull in the driveway of your community with the eyes of a customer on a regular basis.
2) Have someone mystery shop your community to find out how guests are greeted by telephone and in person.
3) Offer refreshments to guests.
4) Find out what the prospect’s needs are and why they came today.
6) Ask open ended questions to discovery their needs, wants and desires.
8) Invite them on a tour tailored to their needs.
9) Every staff they encounter needs to be smiling and welcoming to them.
10) Introduce prospective residents to key staff.
11) Check in with them to see if what you are showing them addresses their needs and if they can picture themselves or their family member living at your senior living community.
12) Ask for the deposit and determine next steps…don’t be pushy…it is in their best interest to have a plan for his or her future, so the children will not have to put them some place in a crisis situation.
Your senior living community has a choice to be the best you can be with first impressions or just be good enough – an almost burnt pizza…
Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com. If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/