If you look at this series you will discover more service failures than blow-out success stories.

On July 3 I had a coffee appointment that ran long so I didn’t head out to do a tour until after 5 pm and I didn’t show up at the door or parking lot of any of the communities until close to 6 pm.  On the other hand . . . It was 6 pm and a time when people might have time to go look at senior living options. . . Building One This particular building was behind security gates with a drive-up push button access control.  I punched in the code as the sign instructed and could hear the phone ring.   After about 6 rings the community voicemail came on spitting out the normal hours for the community and then offering  an after-hours emergency number. I moved on.

Wipeout #1

Building Two

This building was a sister building to the first one.  I parked next door in a hotel parking lot (I couldn’t find or they didn’t have a significant amount of guest parking).  I walked over to find a locked door and no easy way to get access. I moved on.

Wipeout  #2

Building Three

This building was about 3 miles away from the first two and I know some of the company leadership team so I was expecting good things.  I have no idea what it was like.  Their back parking was closed off (I later learned for an Independence Day special event).  There was no decent parking even close to the front door.  I gave up and headed home.

Wipeout #3

Building Four

I was out of town for a conference and, because of flight schedules, I ended up at the conference venue fairly early in the morning. As the first event was not until the evening, I went for a long walk.  Along the way I spotted a senior living community  and it seemed like a sign that I should turn my walk into a site visit. Some things you need to know:

  • It was a Sunday afternoon around 3:30
  • Because I had not planned on doing a site I was in shorts, a baseball hat, T-shirt and Crocs.
  • The location was a resort area so my dress was not particularly unusual.

I walked in and there were two people at the front desk so immediately I thought this is going to work. My opening line was this:

“My name is Steve Moran and I write about the senior living industry, though I know I am not dressed like that.  I was out for a walk and I saw your community and wanted to find out some information about what you do.  Is your marketing director available?”

The person who responded asked me to repeat what I wanted and I gave more or less the same response.  She told me there was no marketing person available . . .  on a Sunday afternoon.

Wipeout # 4

Thinking About This . . .

  • I kind of get that July 3 at 6pm is not the greatest time to make these visits look good and I am not trying to set communities up for failure.  But should it really be that hard, that early in the afternoon when the sun does not go down until after 8 pm?
  • I also get that parking, particularly for newer projects, can be a real challenge and that, if you have a really successful event, your parking lot could be chockablock full and that would be a good thing.
  • I also get that even great companies have service failures . . . .

But honestly if you look at this series you will discover more service failures than blow-out success stories.  In every case there is specific situation that caused that failure to occur. Of these 4 experiences, and of pretty much all my not so good experiences, the one with the special event is the only one I am really sympathetic with . . .  particularly because after that happened I talked to someone from the operating company who told me about the special event and that the community was full. More Competitive We have more inventory than ever.  There are also more and more people working on solutions that will keep people out of senior living (This is our biggest competition). These kinds of experiences do not make senior living more appealing. Steve Moran If you like this article (or even if you don’t) it would be a great honor to have you subscribe to our mailing list HERE