By Steve Moran
In 2022 I attended the Senior Living Innovation Forum in the Bahamas, and one of the speakers was Chris Barton, the founder and first CEO of Shazam, the “What’s the name of that song?” app you have, or should have, on your mobile phone.
He talked about how, as they built the app, one of their biggest goals was to make the process of using it as frictionless as possible. It was the single point in his talk that most resonated with me, and I made a note to myself to devote an entire article to that idea. This is also a concept that some senior living organizations are starting to apply to their higher process, but should probably be its own article.
A High Friction Purchase
I am sure it would be possible to make purchasing senior living harder than it is, but it is hard to imagine. Even people who work in senior living complain about how hard it is …
- Figuring out the right level of care
- Finding prices on senior living communities’ websites (A HUGE PET PEEVE OF MINE)
- That lead aggregators make consumers a party to a contract in a way they can’t possibly understand just by filling out a web form, checking a box, and hitting the submit button
- Figuring out how to pay for it
- Figuring out what to do with the house and stuff
- Wondering if Mom or Dad will really be happy
- Wondering if a loved one will really be safe
- Then, when the decision is made, completing the mounds and mounds of paperwork — so much that no one ever really reads it all
There is great opportunity to reduce the friction, and mostly we just accept that it is the way it is, and nothing changes … when it could and should.
Nope, the title is not clickbait … read on …
But Then …
I came across this great article in Forbes where it talks about how Amazon, a company that is 100% committed to creating a frictionless purchase experience (Can you say “one click, buy now?”) has actually increased the friction by adding a box you have to check to apply a coupon.
They, for sure, assume 100% of the shoppers will click the box, but it turns out that by clicking the box, consumers end up being happier with their purchase, liking it better, and feeling more in control.
How It Might Work In Senior Living …
I can imagine a lead aggregator adding a checkbox on their inquiry form that would entitle the person submitting to a discount off their entrance fee or first month’s rent. I could see a senior living community doing the same thing. Or maybe a senior living community would make available a welcome package that would be significant if they clicked the box.
I could see senior living solution providers doing something similar with their inquiry forms.
It is simply a really cool way to make your prospects and your customers like you better.
I’ll give you an example of how a company is making it even harder. The 100 year old definition of a CCRC is a community that has a full continuum of care: IL, AL and Skilled Nursing. Further, there are two kinds of CCRCs: rental and LifeCare /LifePlan. . Green Cay Life Plan Village is promoting itself (as is evident by its name,)as a LifePlan community. YET….they will have 187 IL units, 16 AL and 16 MC and NO Skilled Nursing. They will charge Entrance Fees of $600K to $1.4M. The developer is attempting to change the definition of a LifePlan community. In an interview he has said that CCRCs don’t need Skilled Nursing any longer. This is so wrong. Isn’t it confusing enough for seniors? He can create whatever kind of community he wants, but don’t steal and try to capitalize on accepted industry terms.
It does not for sure, meet the traditional definition of “Life Plan” or CCRC and I wonder about SNF not being needed anymore. I guess ultimately it will be up to consumers to decide if that is something they want.
Though I worry, it is easy to think and believe you won’t need it. But then what happens when you do and it is not there.