seniorDECISION Research Shows Assisted Living, Home Support, and CCRC Industries Not Budgeting for Customer Retention

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After a recent research study of 16 senior living communities, Rob Liebreich of seniorDECISION notes that Assisted Living, Home Support, and Continued Care Retirement Community Industries should gear focus towards customer retention rather than customer acquisition.

Acquiring new clients rather than retaining existing clients is what most Assisted Living, Home Support, and CCRC Industries focus on today. Through its contact with hundreds of providers, seniorDECISION has observed that many establish a sales and marketing budget but dedicate zero direct dollars to current customer retention. The growing importance of customer ratings and pro-active family in causing residents or care recipients to change providers suggests that this should change immediately.

According to recent consumer acquisition research, it takes on average five times the cost to acquire a customer than it does to retain a customer. This seniorDECISION article,, written by co-founder Rob Liebreich, details many benefits of focusing on customer retention in the senior housing industry. Liebreich notes that after researching 16 senior living communities, the average cost of move-in for our continuing care retirement communities runs close to $10,000 per move-in. With the current economy as it is, organizations everywhere are doing what they can to cut costs, however a 2% increase in customer retention has the same impact as a 10% cost cutting effort. The article also provides helpful tips that members of the seniorDECISION directory and other organizations in this industry can start using now in order to create loyalty and value in lifetime customers.

Some steps to retaining a customer in the senior care industry include:

1)     Gauging the satisfaction of the customer with a key focus on the answer to: "On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most willing, how willing are you to recommend this Community to friends and family?" Those providing a score of 5 are true positive advocates for your business. Those in the 3-4 range are appreciative, but not likely to promote. Anyone below a 3 should be viewed as a threat to your business.
2)    Asking customers, "what is one thing we can do tomorrow to increase your satisfaction with our service?" The answers here should give you a handful of practical steps that can be assessed, prioritized, and implemented to further engage with existing customers.
3)    Don't wait until the annual survey. Too many organizations rely solely on annual satisfaction survey information to garner consumer feedback. By the time the survey is rolled out, collected, and the findings presented, much time has passed. Instead, weekly feedback should be acquired through surveys following key meals, activities, and more. This helps improve operations and subsequently helps retain residents daily.

Often the best leads and ultimately new customers come from current customers. The more engaged the current customer feels, the more likely they are to provide a referral.

By refocusing on retention, not just acquisition, providers will find and create greater loyalty among current customers that will translate beautifully into additional sustained revenues and profits over time.


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Rob Liebreich
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