Opening Scene (Resident’s View)
Does this scene sound familiar? You walk into the office of the Director of Sales & Marketing for a senior living community. They’re in the middle of building out all of their incoming resident’s move-in packets, surrounded by thick stacks of two inch binders - and like the Great Wall of China you’re wondering if you, too, could see this scene from space. You feel intimidated, and are nearly nervous to ask questions, as to not add to the stress of an obviously busy employee. And, to make matters worse, you just realized that YOU’RE the one who is going to have to read and sign the contents of the binder.
Oftentimes, prospective residents are overwhelmed by the transition from their home into a senior living community - and I think we can all agree that walking into the familiar scene described above isn’t going to soothe the emotions of an anxious and hesitant resident.
Sales & Marketing View
Switch views. You’re the Director of Sales & Marketing, and you love your job because of the residents and have a personality that thrives in a social environment! You’re sensitive to seniors, and try your best to provide them with a personal touch and a warm welcome into their new home - your senior living community. Your heart is in the right place, but you have to accept the “formalities” of the move-in process that don’t always match your kindhearted intentions. You’re feeling burned out because a large portion of your job is spent completing redundant and sluggish administrative tasks. Some of these may include:
You’re aware that software exists to tackle these tasks, but your job isn’t to research/sell/implement software for your community - you’re the people person! Plus, you fear that software will add an emotionless aspect to your move-in process.
Software Lacks Empathy
Okay, now it’s me, Neil. As a guy who builds software, I can't build software that has empathy. But, I can build software that improves processes in your community, and reduces mindless time-consuming tasks. Likely, the “personal touch” you wish for your move-in process isn’t happening by sitting down for three hours to sign an 80+ packet of agreements. It would be far better to bring a resident in, walk them through your community, show them a room, have a meal, do an activity, and introduce them to other residents!
You don't need empathy to sit down and sign a stack of forms. “Hey, you missed a spot!” That’s a task that software can do perfectly. But, to have somebody available to put their arm around mom, and show her the opportunities ahead - that’s the personal touch. What I’m really trying to do is enable people to do what people do best, and then let software streamline the administrative work.
Keep the Personal Touch
Seventeen years ago, my grandparents were looking into assisted living. They toured a nice lifeplan community in Dallas, Texas. My grandmother loved it, but my grandfather has Parkinson's disease and the community didn’t offer what he needed at the time. Two years later, my grandfather passed away, causing my grandmother to reconsider this lifeplan community. When she walked back through the door (without a tour scheduled), the Director of Sales & Marketing immediately remembered my grandmother’s name from two years ago. That made all the difference, and my grandmother has been there and thriving for 14 years.
You can make a major difference in the move-in process for residents if you have the time to create a personal connection! How can you empower your people to do what people do best? Give them the gift of time.
Stop trying to make software do what it was never meant to do - replace human interaction.
Let the people focus on building rapport and trust. Let the people ask about a resident’s favorite travel experience, family background, hobbies, career, and favorite color! Freeing up time for human interaction will give you a good sense of what your community can do to improve the life of your residents.