I would propose there are three moments of truth for consumers of senior living and thinking about those moments of truth will help you be a better operator and improve the quality of life for the seniors and their families.

I am reading the book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works .  It is a series of stories about how Proctor & Gamble uses strategy to win over and over again.  One of the things the book talks about is how consumers who purchase their products have two moments of truth.

  1. The first is when they make the decision to purchase a product.
  2. The second is when they take it home and begin to use it.

The P & G goal is to in both cases set reasonably high expectations and then execute in a way that exceeds those expectations.

Senior Livings Three Moments of Truth

Senior Living is a ton different than consumer products in many ways including:

  • There is almost never repeat business, at least in the traditional sense.  Most families will make the senior living decision just once in their lifetime.
  • It is emotionally, financially and logistically a much more complex decision-making process.

Yet, for all of that, I would propose that:

  • There are three moments of truth for consumers of senior living and
  • Thinking about those moments of truth will help you be a better operator and improve the quality of life for the seniors and their families.

1.  To Consider Senior Living as an Option  –  In some sense this may be the single biggest moment of truth of the three.  It is the moment when the elder and their family accept that living at home is a sub-optimal choice.  Once that truth begins to dawn, the stakeholders begin discussing the options with friends and family members.  They begin to do research, most typically on the internet.  The research typically includes figuring out what options exist in their neighborhood, what they cost and what it is like. At this phase these tire kickers will look at dozens of pages of information about all kinds of things related to senior care and senior living.  They will bookmark pages that have information that has valuable content.   Providing the right content to those dealing with this moment of truth can put you behind, leave you in the middle or put you way ahead of the game as they move toward the second moment of truth.

2.  Making the Decision to Make the Move –  This is one of those huge life changing moments, with stress levels that approach those of getting married, having your first baby, getting fired from a job or having a spouse die.  It may in some sense be the biggest moment of truth because for most seniors it will be relinquishing a lifetime of independence they will never get back. When the decision is finally made to make the leap, people will either begin touring senior communities or, more likely, retour with a much more acute sense of “will this work for me?”, “will this work for my loved one?”  “Will they be happy here?” “Will they be safe here?”    How you address these questions will make the difference of between being in or out of the game.  High expectations can and should be set, but only if you are 100% confident you can meet those expectations.

3.  Consuming The Product  –  It is easy to lulled into the idea that this last moment of truth is not really a moment of truth at all since you have money, a signed contract and a firm move-in date. This is particularly true because there is no significant or at least obvious repeat business waiting in the wings. There are at least  5 reasons why this last moment of truth is the most important:

  1. While not easy for the resident to do, they have the ability to move out of your community either back home or more likely to a competitor.
  2. If they move-in and are unhappy they will spread that unhappiness among the other residents (and their families).
  3. If they move-in and are unhappy, when something goes wrong (and things never go perfectly) you are much more vulnerable to a lawsuit.
  4. If they are unhappy they will tell everyone.  It is well known that people are more likely to tell negative stories than positive stories and that they will tell more people.  This will hurt your whole marketing effort and make the next move-in just that much harder to get.
  5. If they are happy, they won’t tell as many people, but they will tell some people and the person they tell may very well be source of your next resident.

How do you set and exceed expectations for your residents during the sales process?  How do create optimal experiences for your prospects and residents at these three moments of truth?  

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