boy scout holiday motto – be prepared!
Hopefully with the increased presence and intentional marketing during the holiday seasons, adult children are able to easily find your community. Ideally, your holiday advertising has created the warm- fuzzies that make a family feel good about the selection of a retirement community. If that is the case, the result will be an increase in holiday visitation to your community, both scheduled appointments and walk-ins.
ADEQUATE STAFF COVERAGE
Because the holiday period is also a time when staff frequently request personal time off, the marketing department must plan ahead to provide coverage for both types of visits. Be sure that your staff places their request for time-off early so that you can maintain adequate coverage while also respecting employees’ personal family time by staggering time-off. The preferred staffing pattern would allow for at least one person to conduct scheduled appointments while another person would be available for folks who happen to stop by.
DIVEST SOME OF THE RESPONSIBILITY
IDENTIFYING OTHER AMBASSADORS
Assuming that the sales and marketing department may be operating with less than usual capacity, consider using other resources that may not be a part of the marketing department. Identify other personnel on staff that you think could conduct a tour-lite while leaving an exceptional impression on a family. Train them ahead of time, and let them know your expectations. I usually find it best if the ambassador conducts the tour but declines to discuss financial or contractual details; rather, the ambassador should take the visitors’ name, address, and phone number then promise a follow-up call within 24 hours from a sales counselor who can answer any remaining questions.
UTILIZING THE RECEPTIONIST
Another position that may assist in carrying a heavier load is the front desk receptionist.If things get extremely busy, he/she might not just be the first, but the only impression a drop-in visitor has; therefore, adequate training is imperative. Remind the receptionist of telephone etiquette for inquiries made by phone. Be sure that he/she knows how to handle a call-in when no one from the marketing department is available. Most call-ins, young and old, despise a rotary system or voicemail. The preferred method is for the receptionist to apologize for the inconvenience and then state that all sales counselors are occupied. The caller should be assured that someone will return their call within the day. Be sure that the receptionist is clear about what contact information is desired.
To facilitate the efforts of the receptionist to satisfy walk-ins when counselors are busy, be sure to provide appropriate collateral material. A complete brochure that covers all levels of care/accommodations should be available for distribution. Additionally, it is helpful to have smaller packets of information more specific to what the visitor desires, such as only information for the Assisted Living section of the community.
Holidays are typically family times. Sometimes those family reunions are full of joy and laughter; other times they are rift with changes and concern. Be sure that your community is ready to become a solution to someone’s holiday challenge!
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.