by Mark Hager
What makes your senior services company different than your competition? Is it in how you provide your aging in place related services? Your excellent employees? Your value? What you think makes a top-notch service company may not be what your elderly clients value.
We are talking about a generation who have seen many things come and go and have a lot of experience with people. They, like many consumers, are looking to build relationships with people who have a track record of success and a good reputation that precedes them. They naturally will gravitate to people who display the characteristics they believe are important. This includes you and everyone from your company they come in contact with.
Think of this as a refresher.
Tips for success
Be patient - It may take seniors longer to make decisions, they may take more time to think about something or be slower to react physically. They are human and, just like the rest of us; some days will be good and others, not so good. We’re all off of our game at times.
Be trustworthy - You should be so lucky to have your customers refer to you as trustworthy, regardless of whether it is a senior or their adult children. If you want them to feel safe with you in their homes, driving them around or helping them deal with their finances, you’d better make sure they feel able to trust you.
Be resourceful - Let’s face it, just because you are paid to put in a ramp, doesn’t mean you won’t be asked to fix the computer or mow the lawn. It might be something small you could do without too much trouble, but it may be more than you want to do. Keep a list of other businesses that can help with other things you might be asked to do.
Be a good listener - One thing you will run into time and time again as a small business person is that people want to talk a lot. Especially those who don’t get out too much or have limited contact with family and friends. Go into it with that understanding.
Be kind - Smile, be friendly, use your manners and be gracious. Go the extra mile, even when you don’t feel like it. Many of your customers are in a difficult part of their lives and could use a little TLC.
Be knowledgeable – This probably goes without saying, but know your stuff. Keep up on the products and services that can help your customers. Educate yourself about what it is like to be older and run your business like you understand it.
Remember word gets around
Word of mouth is the best (or worst) thing that can happen for your business. If everyone in your company understands that and conducts themselves appropriately, things will go much better. Protect your reputation by adhering to a strict code of conduct and hire people who display the characteristics that will fit well with your clients. And, when a mistake is made, own up to it and make it right. All of these are things that will help you get and keep customers, and build loyalty that lasts.