Enhancing the Customer Experience for the Elderly

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Customer Relationship Management
Customer Experience
A major event for my family over the past several months was my mother's decision to sell her house and move to an independent living facility. There were a lot of moving parts associated with this move, including putting mom's house on the market, selecting an independent living center that met her needs, deciding which furniture and belongings would be moved to her new residence, packing, scheduling the shut off of her utilities, etc. Add it up and it can be a lot of stress for a woman in her 80s. So when it came to selecting a new residence, it was extremely important to my mom to find a place that made the transition easy. Another key factor in the selection criteria was the cultural fit -- my mom has visited quite a few independent and assisted living facilities over the years, both to visit friends and for her own research. In the end, she selected a place where she felt the most comfortable with the residents and with the staff.

A major event for my family over the past several months was my mother's decision to sell her house and move to an independent living facility. There were a lot of moving parts associated with this move, including putting mom's house on the market, selecting an independent living center that met her needs, deciding which furniture and belongings would be moved to her new residence, packing, scheduling the shut off of her utilities, etc. Add it up and it can be a lot of stress for a woman in her 80s. So when it came to selecting a new residence, it was extremely important to my mom to find a place that made the transition easy. Another key factor in the selection criteria was the cultural fit -- my mom has visited quite a few independent and assisted living facilities over the years, both to visit friends and for her own research. In the end, she selected a place where she felt the most comfortable with the residents and with the staff.We talk a lot about demographics and meeting the needs of different types of customers in this space, including Millenials and Baby Boomers. From a business standpoint, there's a huge potential market for catering to the needs of the elderly. As life expectancy continues to increase, revenue for the elder care services industry is expected to grow to a whopping $319.5 billion by 2016, according to MarketResearch.com. Meanwhile, as the first wave of Baby Boomers reach retirement age, it's critical for marketers and other decision-makers to carefully consider the needs, interests, and preferences of older citizens their organizations are looking to accommodate.

On a personal note, I could see that this major life change was pretty stressful at times for my mom. In addition to coordinating all the moving pieces associated with the move - which my two sisters were instrumental in assisting with - it's also been a very emotional time. At the same time this was going on, my mom had to say goodbye to dozens of friends she's made in her community over the past 40 years while trying not to dwell too much on all of the special memories our family has created in this house. All the more reason why a seamless and caring customer experience from the independent living center has been so important during this transition.

For instance, on the day that mom moved in, the staff made the check-in process extremely easy for her. This was the same day that she moved out of her house and said goodbye to the place she has called home for so many years. Making this transition easy and making my mom feel so welcome meant a lot to her and her family.

Since she sold her house and moved a couple of weeks ago, the new residence has been a very good fit for my mom so far. She's extremely happy with her decision and she's been busy making new friends. My family and I are grateful that the staff at the facility has made this such a warm experience.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION