For most businesses, performing consistently at the same level month over month, year over year, isn’t enough. From a variety of perspectives, growth is a requirement in order to keep up with increased costs on everything from food to energy bills to cost of living increases for employees.
If your community is in a place where current and prospective customers appear to be eager for – or are even expecting – an expansion of an existing service, or the introduction of a new service all together, don’t let the stress of that demand overshadow the fact that the demand exists! “When your customers and prospects are seeking a new or expanded service, that’s a good sign,” says SageAge Strategies Senior Vice President & Senior Consultant Karen Nelson Crolius. “It shows that your customer base and prospective customers are paying attention and want you to be the one to meet their needs.”
That said, it can be a bit stressful contemplating the costs of a new service or service expansion, even if the demand appears to be there. While it’s initially a good sign that your customers and prospects are demanding it, that “good sign” can turn into some negative grumbling and ill will if you take too long to address demands. Let’s look at strategies for assessing the viability of introducing a new or expanded service and what to do once that new or expanded service is in place.
When Do New or Expanded Services Make Sense?
There are a number of circumstances when it makes good business sense to expand a service or introduce a new one:
You have reliable and consistent feedback from prospective and existing customers about the need for this new or expanded service. It’s one thing to have anecdotal conversations with customers and prospects about the possibility of a new service; it’s another thing entirely to have verifiable numbers and statistics regarding the level of interest in a new or expanded service. The former can be the first inkling that change is on the horizon, but the latter is necessary in order to truly assess whether investing in a new or expanded service is a worthwhile venture. To get the latter, you must conduct thorough customer research and feedback gathering via the use of surveys, phone calls, interviews and more.
A special opportunity presents itself. Perhaps a competitor in the market has decided to discontinue a certain service, leaving their customers and prospects disappointed. Or perhaps you hear of a sentiment in the larger community outside of your senior living facility, stating how nice it would be if only someone in town would offer X, Y or Z. Both of these are unique opportunities to capitalize on a market demand that could potentially benefit you, your community and your residents, both current and future.
It will improve customer loyalty. Not all service introductions or expansions should be done solely based on the numbers. Sometimes, it makes sense to introduce something because it shows your customers you’re listening to them and that you value them. It may not result in immediate, massive returns on your investment, but the goodwill you will foster among your residents and prospective residents will go a long way when it comes to securing their loyalty – and we all know how valuable a loyal customer is.
How to Be Smart About Introducing or Expanding a Service
Do your homework! This is by far the most important step in considering a new or expanded service at your community. You must not only assess the demand for this new or expanded service via customer and prospect feedback, but you need to also do larger market research to know about the long-term viability and potential competition your expansion might face. Is this new or expanded service absolutely critical to your future growth? Can it wait? Should it? Is there another service that is in need of attention first? You must answer all these questions, and many more, before making any decisions.
Create a strategic, smart marketing plan for introducing your new or expanded service. If you do decide to move forward, you must do so in a way that meshes with your existing strategic marketing plan. There will be things you should do to draw attention to your community’s growth and new offering, but these things should be done in lockstep with other moving parts in your existing marketing plan. Look for ways to dovetail off of your current efforts to make the promotion both effective and seamless.
Get the most you can out of this update. Perhaps offering a new or expanded service will open a door to improve or revamp another aspect of your community. If you’re going to invest the time and money, you should get the most you can out of it. So, be on the lookout. Perhaps this expansion will make it easier to do a full renovation of a certain wing of your community, or perhaps it will position you to partner with another business in the community for mutual benefit. Thoroughly examine all avenues for getting the most bang for your buck.
With a smart, strategic approach, even the small updates and expansions you make to a service at your community can be an opportunity for considerable growth and new business. Just be thoughtful and measured in your steps forward, and you’ll create a win-win situation for your business, your residents and the larger community around you.
Expert Metric Assessment to Support Continued Growth
If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in developing and assessing effective marketing, sales and outreach metrics, contact us today. We excel at helping communities identify what metrics matter most to them, and how to create strategies that ensure growth.
SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.