Marketing Assessment Can Reveal Weaknesses

Want to undertake a marketing assessment for your retirement community–from independent and assisted living to a memory care or life plan community?

One of the first steps is to critique incoming telephone calls.

This is critical.

I can’t begin to tell you how much money is potentially lost at one of the initial customer contacts.

Did you know that 38% of a first impression is determined by the tone of voice?

In our marketing assessments of assisted living and life plan communities, we often find the person answering incoming calls mumbles, speaks in a sing-song voice or speaks too quickly.  Also, the structure of a community’s telephone system may be automated and require a caller to push various numbers to be connected to the right department.

While I may want to talk to someone in leasing or marketing, it’s frustrating to have a list of departments to listen to decide what line to press.  While other industries may adopt this telephone system, our customers need a more personal approach. People need the ability to connect with live people not robots.

How can you build trust with a potential customer if your community can’t handle incoming telephone calls properly?  You need to take stock of this situation which can quickly be improved.

Taping incoming calls and having anyone handling incoming telephone calls listen to themself is a first step in improving their skills.  Training with role playing helps too.

Developing a telephone script and practicing is important.  Good receptionists aren’t born—they are trained—not once but continually.

It’s important that a receptionist identify the name of the community and add a greeting.  For example she may say, “Good morning, this is XYZ community, how may I be of help?” It’s not necessary to add branding taglines after the name of the community.  You don’t need to hear, “It’s a beautiful day at XYX community.”

The receptionist needs to be educated in the various departments within the community and the staff who work in each department.  You certainly don’t want the receptionist telling someone they don’t know of the person.  If someone is no longer employed at the community, the caller still needs to be helped.

It’s important to obtain a caller’s information including their name and telephone number in case the call is disconnected when it is transferred or no one answers the line. Since a receptionist can’t be sure if a transferred call will be successful, obtaining a caller’s information may save the inquiry.

I’ve called an assisted living community four times and never been asked my name or telephone number for a follow up. That is simply money down the drain because as a customer, I would be on to the next community on my list.

To learn more about The Ehlers Group’s marketing assessments, please give us a call at 954-726-9228 or email

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