I recently started a new venture in the social care world, called CareSelector.com. It has been going for 13 weeks now and over this time we have learnt some fascinating things. I am sharing these with the Age Action Alliance/RSA members as I hope it will help mould your offering to meet the needs of the ageing population.
Care Selector was setup in Bristol, with a very lean web application. It’s an online comparison tool that allows people to find the right care provider for themselves or a loved one. Initially we had lots of traffic and after a few teething problems (as with every startup), we started to really learn some qualitative information about the impact our solution was having.
1. People don’t expect the cost of care to be so high
73% of our pilot customers did not expect care costs to be so high. Initially we assumed that if people were searching for a care provider then they would know the likely cost upfront. The majority didn’t, so we needed to be clear about what realistic costs would be from the start, so we decided to include a handy bar on our website that clearly explains the average cost of care in their area. This has helped set expectations and avoid shock further down the path for the customer.
Our research found that the expectation of costs doesn’t just stop at care homes and home care agencies, many also did not know the cost of legal advice, financial advice and more.
Remember: Because we work in the care industry, the costs of care are familiar to you and I. However for a first time carer, the costs will be a shock to the system, so remember to really demonstrate the value that your service provides.
2. In most cases, its the carer that organises the care
97% of our customers were a younger relative of the care receiver, such as a son or daughter. The copy on our website and literature was aimed at both the carer and the care receiver. However, targeted copy is more effective and so once we found out that 97% of our audience were carers, we decide to rewrite it.
This resulted in a 5% more customers.
When the customer is the carer, more people are involved in the decision to purchase care, which can be challenging. Therefore, the process can take a little longer and conflicts do occur.
Remember: Consider who is most likely to purchase your service, this may be different to the end consumer. Addressing the right customer will save you money and time.
3. Making decisions can take time, be patient
We thought that once the customers have found the right provider it would be a quick process, to our surprise carers often took months to organise care, even if initially it was deemed as ‘urgent’.
This was due to a number of factors; some felt guilt, some had panicked off the back of the big event, and some saw improvements in their loved ones health. As a startup, sales projections are crucial and this was constantly altering the plan, however I still believed we were in the right business and the best thing to do was accept this as the case and support people at such a difficult time in their life. This had led to extremely powerful brand loyalty, and we are seen as the go-to organisation for any care issues that carers may have – even for those customers that didn’t purchase care in the end.
Remember: be patient; organising care very rarely happens overnight. Sticking by your customers is an opportunity to build trust and brand loyalty.
4. People’s perception and the reality of care doesn’t match up
Over half of the carers that we helped believed that all care homes are poor quality. This belief stems from the media, yet 100% of the people that Care Selector have placed have been happy with their decision. The great thing about having a comparison tool means you can select only those of the highest quality. There are many care providers out there and so people tend to choose a large number of them, visit and realise they are spoilt for choice.
Remember: Its our job in the care market to deliver a true quality service and change the misleading perception that the media portrays.
If you’re in the care industry and would like connect, I’m always pleased to speak with like-minded individuals. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our solution at www.careselector.com.