Top business owners and executives always look for ways to improve their businesses. The sorry state of the American car industry teaches us that companies that do it better will outlast companies that don’t. In a normal market, customer (in senior home care we say “client”) satisfaction is always the bedrock of company success.
Most companies follow up with their customers/clients as a way of gauging satisfaction with their products/services. Family Resource Home Care does that too. Our preferred way of understanding client satisfaction is the daily/weekly contact with a client and family by visit, phone, or email. We want to be aware of the level of client satisfaction on a continual basis.
In addition to the continual contact, once a family has ended service, we send them a questionnaire. We ask families (most likely a relative of the client) how they rate the service they received from us in several areas. We also ask what they like best about our agency and how we can improve.
It’s not always clear what customers value about a particular company or product. In a classic example, people will choose one soft drink over another not because of taste, but because of brand image.
Senior home care faces the same interesting question. The services most clients ask for include homemaking, (e.g. vacuuming the rug, doing the dishes, laundry), meal planning and preparation, companionship (including running errands and monitoring for safety), and personal care (e.g. bathing, dressing, grooming, ambulation and transfer assistance, medication assistance).
But once a client has ended service, what do they say they got?
I have read hundreds and hundreds of client surveys. Not once has a client complimented us on the quality of our housekeeping (although that’s one reason they wanted home care), the grace and skill with which our caregivers help clients bathe or get dressed, or the efficiency of our grocery shopping (although those are also big reasons). Now, we are excellent housekeepers, personal care attendants, and errand runners. But what do our clients say?
“In caring for mom, you took a huge weight off my shoulders.”
“The office staff was always friendly and helpful.”
“Your caregiver Mary was exceptionally kind and patient.”
“You were quiet angels for us.”
We train our caregivers that the basis of caregiving is the relationship they create with their clients. Yes, we do have to be skilled caregivers and efficient housekeepers. But most clients will remember the kindness, caring, and respect that caregiver Mary showed long after they’ve forgotten how great she was at vacuuming the rug.