It is a well-known phrase – but it still rings true – you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Prospective clients are looking for a new place to call home – and there are multiple senior living communities to choose from. If the first impression isn’t good – there will probably not be an opportunity for a second one. Let’s talk about “Curb Appeal” and reception.
Curb Appeal Counts: First impressions of the elder care community start on the driveway. Imagine yourself as the prospective client viewing the facility for the first time. As the client’s car enters the driveway leading up to the elder care residence….what do they want to see? The answer is clear – a well-maintained, attractive and inviting residence.
What does that mean? No deferred maintenance, nice landscaping, painted doors – windows clean and shiny. If it is winter, snow removed and salted sidewalks. If it is fall, leaves cleaned up. The property needs to appear safe and welcoming. Residents want to be comfortable in their new home and referral sources want to be confident sending potential residents to your elder care community. If the property doesn’t look nice on the outside, the assumption will be that the care isn’t good on the inside. The prospect may just keep on driving – to your competitor down the street.
Well-Received at Reception: It has been said that the official title of the receptionist should be “Vice President of First Impressions”. The receptionist is one of the most important jobs in the community. Everyone who enters the elder care building should be acknowledged and welcomed. The reception desk should be organized and without clutter – keep personal items to a minimum. If a prospective client walks into the senior living facility without an appointment – have a plan – do not request that the client return at a later, scheduled time. The client may need to make a quick decision, leave to visit a competitor and not return. Every elder care community should have several employees who are trained to provide a tour. Provide the receptionist with a daily list of key individuals who are available and ready to meet with prospective clients. A prospective customer should never be turned away – or kept waiting too long. And, most importantly, make sure to capture the visitor’s name and contact information.
It is a big decision for the senior and the family to take the step to visit your community. Make sure their first impression is a lasting one.
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, President and Founder of Focus on Aging, has successfully been providing marketing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service-related professions in the Chicago area for over 20 years. Use the contact tab to email Marla for additional information about her services.