A customer experience program is a must-have for aged care providers to ensure happy clients and continuous improvement, industry expert Jennene Buckley writes in the seventh article in this series.

Priority 7:  Understand your client experience

It has never been more important for providers to consider the strength of their brand and their customer experience (CX) as a key metric for ongoing viability. 

Aged care reforms are dictating CX as a key factor for success. For example:

  • a key component of the residential aged care new star-rating system planned for implementation in late 2022 is third-party CX scores for every aged care home
  • the implementation of extended quality indicators is expected to include quality of life and consumer care experience scores
  • the removal of bed licenses in the future will enable an easier entry to market and increased competition
  • the new Support at Home Program will include a mandated fixed price list for all service types, meaning reputation will replace price as the key differentiator in a growing home care market.  
Jennene Buckley

Providers will need to pay greater attention to what clients are saying and invest in ways to drive their loyalty. Key questions for every organisation are:

  1. What are you doing to ensure you are always listening to your customer?
  2. Do you have a voice-of-a-customer (VoC) program and the associated resources?
  3. If you have a VoC program, how are you using these insights to drive improvements to our consumer experience?

Generic feedback forms and a once-a-year survey won’t cut it anymore. Providers need to implement comprehensive targeted suites of tools that purposefully and continually capture feedback and customer sentiments at different touchpoints along the service journey to enable them to immediately action service improvements. The term we hear a lot these days is ‘always listening’.  

“The true magic happens when the CX program is key to the company’s culture and strategy.”

The VoC program can use a range of mechanisms to capture the feedback, insights, and sentiments, such as a schedule of targeted interviews, surveys, social media and feedback apps. For example, QR codes can be placed on brochures, feedback forms, business cards, equipment, forms and fridge magnets to provide continuous opportunities for consumers to provide feedback on your services.

Organisations are also using artificial intelligence to scan social platforms to gather a comprehensive picture on what people are saying about their organisation and their services online to capture insights on their consumer sentiment and brand representation. This has been termed social listening and is a key component of a CX program.

But the true magic happens when the CX program – regardless of its sophistication or simplicity – is key to the company’s culture and strategy.

This happens when people in your organisation want to know what their customers are saying, and when real-time feedback dashboards and reports are available to frontline managers to enable action on feedback and the continuous improvement of services.

This type of strategy also includes the creation of performance scorecards or key performance indicators for service managers on timely action and positive experiences provided to customers.

This all drives behaviour to strengthen loyalty, brand, and reputation. 

Jennene Buckley is founding partner at Enkindle Consulting, which provides business advisory, strategic and operational planning, and transformation service to the aged care sector.

Read next: Make the most of collaborative advantage

Read previous: Understand your costs

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Jennene Buckley

Founding partner at Enkindle consulting

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