Human-Centered CRM Can Make a Difference for Seniors
When most people hear the term CRM, the first thing they think of is sales. That’s not an incorrect assumption—after all, from the earliest days of sales force automation, CRM software providers have focused on helping companies streamline and modernize lead generation and sales activities previously managed on paper spreadsheets. Over the past 40 years, the category has evolved from glorified spreadsheets into sophisticated multiplatform tools that leverage artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and of course mobile data collection and access to manage leads, drive sales, and keep existing customers engaged.
One of the interesting aspects of this innovation path is that CRM software has created ways to customize the consumer experience, and there’s no better example of this than the senior living industry. For most industries, a CRM is relied upon to generate leads, convert prospects, and continually engage customers. However, in senior living it’s called upon to do much more. Not only does senior living CRM software help operators maximize their occupancy rates, it also is the foundation that enables them to personalize the quality of care and overall living experience that they provide to their senior residents.
While providers from outside the industry market their CRM platforms to senior housing operators, in many cases, they fall short, because the nature of the overall sales process is significantly different than it is in most other industries. At the same time, it needs to have the ability to support customer retention in a unique way.
For senior living communities, customers typically include residents and family members. A CRM must gather information that allows the facility to nurture relationships with the senior and their family. In this space, families are looking for a community and caregivers to whom they can entrust the wellbeing and safety of their beloved family members. Simply selling based on cost and amenities doesn’t work because intangibles are often what guide customer choice. In the senior living world, a CRM needs to help the salesperson create trust and develop relationships by prompting them to understand the senior and in most cases, the family.
Because CRM is typically viewed in the context of lead generation and sales, its ability to sustain personal relationships and continuous service is often an afterthought. This is where a CRM designed specifically for senior living really shines, because it is the foundational piece that provides community staff a unified view of each resident from which to deliver their care and living experience in a highly personalized way.
Hobbies, daily activities, personal living preferences, the type of care required, and similar personal information helps operators ensure that their prospects find the right community, beyond the basic factors of price and location. Once they become a resident, this information is used to customize and enhance their experiences within the community in addition to delivering the care and services they expect.
For example, a resident who is a big sports fan might be motivated by activities like a communal Sunday football game in the television room. A retired teacher might be pleased to know that there are other retired teachers in the community, presenting an opportunity for the sales team to initiate relationships with other residents. These are the kinds of things that CRM systems designed for the senior living industry consider. Think of it as “CRM with a heart” because there are so many personal factors that play a key role in making the right match.
The information collected often shapes how communities craft the entire experience throughout the resident life cycle, from planning activities to curating dining menus to supporting daily living preferences and care. Seniors need various levels of care, not only when they move in but throughout their entire stay in a community. The CRM not only informs the provider on individual residents but collectively provides information that helps drive services that the community provides.
Every robust CRM tool facilitates marketing, employee productivity and communication, lead nurturing, sales, and forecasting, but for the senior housing industry, CRM is called upon to do much more. It’s the driving force that helps providers deliver a safe, healthy, and fulfilling living experience for the residents who are entrusted to their care.
Erin Hayes is president of Enquire CRM | Glennis Solutions | Sherpa CRM, the leading senior living software system that manages and elevates the entire senior living experience for operators and residents.