As a home care agency what would you consider your most pressing problem? Taking an educated guess I would say that increasing client referrals would rank in the top 3 issues you deal with on a daily basis.
You are not alone in this thought, this is a problem home care agencies constantly deal with because if there has been a steady increase in the number of agencies that clients can choose from. It doesn’t help that the government constantly changes regulation that either reduces reimbursement or adding more compliance rules that require agencies to hire more staff, thus hurting the agency’s bottom line.
Client referral program to the rescue! Setting up a client referral program can easily ease these pains. Let dive into the ways to establish a winning program.
1. Employee monthly referral program:
Your caregivers are in contact with your clients on a daily or weekly basis, this relationship between caregiver and client helps to keep the client with the agency and it helps to get get referrals from their friends and family.
Set a monthly goal for your employees to refer a certain number of clients a month and incentivize them by providing them with either gift cards, a free lunch, or an employee of the month acknowledgement. You can be creative in finding ways to incentivize your caregivers.
2. Train office staff to ask for referrals:
Apart from your field staff, the office staff should be calling your clients on a regular basis to check on them and to perform satisfaction surveys. When the client is happy with the agency there is an opportunity to ask them if they know others that can benefit from the care.
3. Create a script:
Of course you do not want your staff to go blindly with this goal and you want to make sure they are comfortable asking your clients for referrals. To do this you should create a script for both the field staff and the office staff. Once it has been created let them run the script with you several times to the point they are comfortable with it. This isn’t a one time thing, you should set up a quarterly schedule especially for the field staff to run through the script to make sure they have a good grasp of it. An example:
Staff member: We are glad to hear that you are happy with the services we are providing for you (client name), and knowing that your caregiver (caregiver name) is doing a great job is music to our ears. We are always more than willing to do more for you so please feel free to call us to let us know how we can continuously improve our services for you. (Client name) I would like to ask if you know any of your friends or family members who could benefit from the home care services?
The first time you might not receive a referral but research has shown that the second time you ask your clients, weeks later, 40% of them will respond with a name and contact information. That is why it is of the utmost importance to follow a strict schedule with your referral program.
4. Client referral cards:
Periodically it is good practice to send your clients a client referral card in the mail. Here is a list of some good quotes to use on your referral card
1. Refer A Friend
2. Tell your friends about us
3. Share the love!
4. Your friends are our friends
On the back of the referral card provide an easy way for them to contact your office to give a referral. Make sure the card is simple with big bold letters for them to see, remember your audience, they are older and require simple, but bigger, legible letters.
5. Tracking calls:
Create a plan to track who is making the calls and when the calls are made. You can use a spreadsheet for this or you can use a customer relationship management application like Trello or Asana. Your plan should include:
1. Monthly calls made to clients
2. Quarterly referral cards sent
3. The office staff that is responsible for making the calls
4. The responses
5. The name of the referrals from the clients
6. Tally the winners:
On a monthly basis those that provided the most referrals should be rewarded, not only because they provided the referral but also to motivate them to keep up the good work. Review the data from the spreadsheet monthly to identify the winners and provide them their awesome prize.
7. Thank you dear customer:
You know better than to receive things without saying thank you. Give your clients a personal call or a visit to thank them for referring a new client to the agency.