For most home care agencies, referrals are a primary source of new customers. After your referrals start rolling in, having built relationships with other elder care providers like local geriatric care managers, physicians and senior center organizers, it becomes critical to put a referral follow-up system in place. A reliable follow-up system will ensure that individuals who are referring potential clients to you continue to do so.
After each referral comes into your office, a chain of best practices should be set into place. Some of the steps may include
1. Thank the referrer: Even in today’s fast paced business world, an old fashioned thank you goes a long way. A quick note in the mail, or even an email to acknowledge that you received the referral is key to building reliable partnerships with referral sources. Periodically, you can consider more extensive tokens of appreciation such as a basket of gourmet foods or other small gift.
2. Schedule follow-up meetings: While agency managers often think about meeting with the referred new client, meeting with the referrer can be overlooked. Although it’s not necessary to meet with referral sources after each new referral, attempt to schedule meetings on a regular basis; perhaps quarterly, with referrers. Use this time to thank them for the referrals, ask what you can do to provide better service and listen to any feedback regarding your agency from shared clients. Also take advantage of this time to show what’s new in your agency and how you’re providing the best possible care to your clients. Toot your own horn, as they say!
3. Provide visibility to the care: Some of the best referral sources for your home care agency will be individuals with whom you share a client while caring for the elderly; physicians, physical therapists,geriatric care managers, hospices and the like. When a client referred by one of these sources signs with your agency, if desired by the referral source, you can differentiate your agency by developing a plan to provide visibility to your referral source to the care provided.
The use of ClearCare care management software is a great way to show referrers that you are committed to providing real time updates and being completely transparent with your caregiver services. You can provide your referral source with complete visibility to the point-of-care via your ClearCare portal, which is branded with the logo and colors of your agency.
If families do grant authorization for these partnering professionals to have ClearCare access via the secure log-in site for particular clients, take the time to meet with the referrers to show how ClearCare works. The data logged by your agency’s caregivers for seniors can be an invaluable tool in helping these professionals adjust care and create long term care plans to increase senior independence. Many agencies that use ClearCare find that when they go head-to-head with another agency that doesn’t use ClearCare, whether with a referral source or a prospect, they win the business because of the transparency they can provide.
By paying proper attention to your referral sources and working diligently to secure new clients from your referral base, you’ll be on the road to expanding your client base with seniors in need of your services!