Why domiciliary care needs to look at its reputation 
Posted by: Alistair Clay | 14.09.15

 

The growth of the domiciliary care sector in recent years is a reflection of the growing desire people have to stay in their own homes for longer as their care needs increase.

Providers have largely escaped the media scrutiny which the residential care sector experiences on a daily basis, however that will change as services become ever more popular.

To avoid damaging headlines progressive providers must take a long hard look at the reputational challenges they face and be ready to tackle these.

Three core issues face the sector – length/quality of daily visits to service users by carers, pay levels for carers (these first two are inextricably linked) and consistency of quality across a large franchise service.

All of the above clearly have major cost implications, but providers must consider the opportunities to pull away from the competition by developing a reputation for delivering an outstanding service.

Conversely, if a provider’s reputation is one of poor service, short/irregular visits and very unhappy customers (because after all that’s what service users are, and it pays to think like that) then in the medium to long term that provider will fail – quite a cost implication!

Of course the numbers are important but I’m convinced that if more emphasis is put on the service user experience the word of mouth reviews within a community would justify the extra investment – after all there is no more powerful PR than peer to peer recommendations.

Major franchises have an even greater challenge – delivering consistency across a wide geographical area, the issue all big brands face.

From personal experience I know of one franchise whose services were raved about in a rural scenario but heavily criticised in an inner city setting – so which is the true reputation?

I would urge domiciliary care providers to get a clear idea of how their many audiences perceive them – after all your reputation is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is.

Examine the customer experience and use it as a way to improve your business – don’t wait for the media to come knocking, by then it could be too late.