Want a Better Bottom Line? Think Like a Client.

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Enticing the baby boomers requires getting into their mindset and anticipating their needs.

Good Afternoon, ProviderNation. Today we have a guest blog from Peg Black, development director, Cerenity Senior Care.

We’ve long heard the statistics that tell us how rapidly the baby boomers are aging, and these numbers give many senior service providers a feeling that the well can never run dry. The truth is that even though there are plenty of people in the United States who are going to need inpatient and outpatient rehab, home health options, transitional patient options, nursing facilities and more, they do have a choice as to where they’ll go. In order to woo them, you have to be willing to “walk a mile in their moccasins,” as the old saying goes. This means thinking like a client.

When our organization undertook a dramatic five-year renovation, we knew we owed it to both our clients and to our bottom line to start thinking about what future residents and visitors would want and need. This involved examining what might be considered the “little” things. Make no mistake, though: Considering the “little” things can mean big payoffs. When we began to see the world from our clients’ eyes, we saw opportunities to make huge strides toward ensuring our organization would be around and viable for many more years.

We knew we wanted a warm water therapy pool and looked at many styles. We ruled out pools that required patients to walk down steps or to be lifted above the water in slings or contraptions that might be scary to them. A pool with a moveable floor for zero-depth entry made the most sense, especially to bariatric patients who face daily living challenges such as exercise opportunities.

Other options we incorporated included upgrading to newer technologies for the residents. Just because residents may be older doesn’t mean they are ignorant of technology. This translates to everything from incorporating flat screen TVs in our rooms to having Wi-Fi accessibility. Too many facilities ignore these touches, or consider them to be unessential. Yet, to modern seniors, they’re indispensable.

We also conducted a mind meld with our residents and their family members, as well as others (e.g. community neighbors, client families, corporations) over the issue of fundraising. Whether or not you’re a nonprofit like we are, you can often accept donations for specific projects or for a fundraiser. We use online donation calls to action on our website, as well as “old-fashioned” paper requests. These methods remove the barriers to having individuals make contributions, and allow us to keep adding new features and services.

Does this type of client-based way of planning take more time than other methods? Absolutely. However, in a competitive marketplace, it’s vital. If you’re not getting into your clients’ moccasins, you’re missing the whole journey.

Peg Black is a 40-year veteran and development director at Cerenity Senior Care (http://cerenityseniorcare.org/) in White Bear Lake, Minn. For the past seven years she has assisted with the  fundraising process to support a $15 million capital campaign to build a 40-bed transitional care building, including pool, therapy center, and chapel.

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