In the world of assisted living, referrals are an invaluable part of keeping your community growing and thriving. In this post, we’re going to focus on how to use surveys to get information from residents’ families that can translate into referrals. After all, a vote of confidence from someone who has trusted you to care for their loved one is a powerful endorsement.

So just how useful is the survey for guiding referrals? Some industry experts refer to it as a “referral power tool.” Here, we’ll look at two types of surveys we’ve found to be effective for encouraging families of existing community members to refer new residents.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey

The first survey type is called the Net Promoter Score. Even if you’ve never heard of it before, you may be familiar with how it looks. NPS surveys ask just one question: how likely you would be to recommend a company or product to a friend. Possible responses range from “Not at all likely” (zero) to “Extremely likely” (10).

Often, you’ll receive this survey in an email following a purchase – or it might appear in a popup window as you’re browsing a website.

The NPS survey has become popular in many industries for two main reasons:

  1. It requires just a single click from customers, meaning it has a high completion rate.
  2. It offers a reliable indicator of customers’ overall attitude toward your brand.

Companies that use NPS surveys calculate brand sentiment by subtracting the percentage of “detractors” (i.e., those who click six or lower) from the percentage of “promoters” (i.e., those who click nine or 10). A brand’s NPS can range from -100 to 100; obviously, higher is better.

So how can assisted living communities use NPS surveys?

The easiest way is to choose a platform that incorporates regular NPS surveys into its functioning. Carmerge’s Family Engagement portal does exactly this.

“Being able to ask families routinely for feedback on how we’re doing and the services we’re offering – the Net Promoter Score lets us stay on top of that,” said Brittnie Buchanan, Director of Engagement at WESTLiving, a memory care facility in Manteca, California.

In the Family Engagement portal, NPS surveys pop up as residents’ family members check in to see how their loved ones are doing. These surveys (which are always skippable) can help communities identify areas where, in residents’ families’ opinions, they’re performing well and where they’re in need of improvement.

“If there is an area where we can do better and put it into action as quickly as possible, the NPS feature lets us do it that much faster,” Buchanan added.

Once you’re using NPS surveys regularly, you can incorporate them into your referral strategy in a few ways:

  1. Track NPS ratings by individual users. For users who consistently give your community a nine or 10, set up a time to talk to them about referrals. The specifics of this conversation will depend on your community and your relationship with the person giving you such high scores, but it may involve the family member who filled out the survey, the resident they’re related to, a sales representative, and others.
  2. Track your improvement and share it. A high score is good news, but so is evidence that you addressed a problem area. Using an improved NPS, along with documentation of what residents’ families were dissatisfied with and how you alleviated their concerns, could be a powerful piece of documentation to share with professional referral sources. It illustrates that you listen to what residents’ families have to say and take action based on their concerns.
  3. Share the score in regular communications. A community newsletter is a great place to mention a strong NPS or improvements you’ve made based on feedback. It’s also a great place for a call to action asking for referrals. While digital communications shouldn’t be your only referral request strategy, they can be a nice supplement because they’re easy to forward with a few clicks and the recipients can visit your website instantly.


Improving Communication, Trust, and Referrals

One last thought: we’re obviously big believers in the power of surveys for improving the satisfaction of residents of assisted living communities – that’s why we built them into our software.

We’ve also got some experience in what moves the needle on survey results: the ability for families to communicate more easily with their loved ones’ caretakers in assisted living communities. Our own surveying showed us that, three months after implementing our Family Engagement solution, communities saw a 68 percent boost in trust and satisfaction among family members. Even better? Those family members were also 50 percent more likely to refer that community.

The bottom line: when your community is meeting your residents’ needs, creating a pleasant living atmosphere, and communicating well with residents’ families, you should be able to get referrals from family members by asking for them. To improve your performance on all of those metrics, you can start surveying residents’ family members regularly for an ongoing sense of how they feel about your community.
Interested in hearing more about how you can get more referrals for your communities? Set up a demo – we’d love to show you the details.

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