How to Grow Your Senior Living Center’s Census Using AI Chat
July 28, 2021
Senior living centers are facing major challenges like Covid changes, industry competition, and tech innovation. AI chat can help. Learn the top 5 ways you can grow your senior living center’s census using conversational AI.
The global pandemic had a huge impact on senior living centers. In March 2020, occupancy rates at senior housing properties in the United States were at nearly 88 percent. By April 2021, nationwide occupancy rates had dropped nearly 10%, leading to an estimated loss of $17 billion. Throughout the pandemic, the tragic loss of life exposed vulnerabilities in the industry and led to shifting public perception about senior living healthcare facilities.
Hesitant prospects have even more to grapple with now that senior living options flow across a spectrum, with varying degrees of medical care and independence on offer. Increased competition and misinformation in the industry have underscored the importance of articulating a senior living healthcare facility’s value proposition in a reliable, trustworthy way.
For sales professionals in the senior living space, communicating the right information at the right moment is also more challenging than ever. Modern consumers’ expectations are leading to a more self-directed buyer’s journey and accelerating digital transformation in the industry. In offering the tech-enabled experiences that senior living prospects and their families demand, marketers must simultaneously prioritize digital methods and protect a compassionate, human, and highly personal approach.
These challenges have made it increasingly important for senior living centers to invest in innovative digital solutions. In this article, we’ll look at five ways AI chat solutions can help senior living centers grow their census in light of today’s most pressing challenges.
1. Provide on-demand support with a digital front door
It’s critical for senior living centers to keep pace with developments in tech. Today’s consumers expect to have seamless experiences online, and they want answers to their questions instantaneously. That’s no different in the senior living space, where residents themselves are increasingly tech-savvy and the adult children researching residential options are skewing younger and younger. Gone are the days of hours-long phone conversations, and those who do pick up the phone often do their due diligence online to learn about a brand first.
Intelligent chat personalizes prospects’ experience with the brand, fosters trust, and reinforces credibility. It also simplifies the research phase by delivering prospects (of any age) faster and more helpful answers to their most pressing questions. As senior living centers evolve, their websites are becoming repositories for incredible quantities of information. But no matter how beautiful their content is, it can be overwhelming for prospects to sort through those resources and find what they need. With a virtual assistant, senior living centers can focus on delivering a trustworthy experience while welcoming prospects, understanding what they’re looking for, and serving up the most helpful answers and resources possible.
2. Enhance digital interactions with conversational AI
Senior living marketing and sales teams develop SEO strategies, craft and share beautiful content, and spend on cross-channel advertising campaigns. But in addition to attracting new visitors and prospects, it’s also important to invest in powerful on-site experiences.
Intelligent chat solutions enhance digital interactions, while also aiming to transform question-and-answer exchanges into actual sales conversations. No matter what your prospective customers are looking for, a virtual assistant works to engage them in conversation and redirect them to the next stage of the sales funnel. With so many brands vying for the same leads, senior living centers should use every tool available to rise above the competition and secure the sale toward an increased census.
3. Offer virtual tours in a post-Covid world
As perception about senior living centers shifted during the pandemic, many seniors and their families reconsidered their long-term care plans. Personal tours are a high-priority tool for senior living centers looking to assuage those concerns and instill confidence in their communities, but the Covid safety measures still in place across much of the country make offering in-person tours impossible.
It has become increasingly difficult for seniors to form personal connections with staff or community members, and in turn, for sales teams to fill beds. In the absence of physical tours, senior living centers have pivoted to rely primarily on digital channels like websites and social media to open a window onto their communities.
Within that framework, intelligent chat solutions provide a detailed virtual experience of the physical space when welcoming people physically isn’t possible. Armed with rich media resources like photographs and videos, virtual assistants can offer prospects an intimate sense of individual residences, on-site facilities, and community activities. With scheduling app integrations, potential residents can book virtual tours (or in-person tours, where permitted) from within the conversation with the virtual assistant. For sales teams, tour appointments appear magically on their calendars with absolutely no effort required.
4. Personalize responses with your brand’s personality
Intelligent chat solutions are also a great way to communicate your brand’s unique qualities before someone ever steps foot onto the property. While training a new virtual assistant, senior living marketers should take care to customize its personality to reflect the values of the brand. Not only will the helpful interactions delight and engage prospects, but a defined personality also encourages potential residents to open up about what’s important to them and what they’re looking for, enabling meaningful conversations about how your senior living center can offer worthwhile experiences.
Customizing your intelligent chat solution also helps facilitate conversations that are aligned with your company’s sales focus at any given time and at scale. Virtual assistants can offer promotions and discounts, prioritize available floor plans, or highlight trending seasonal activities, for example. They also learn and improve over time, from data that does double duty to help inform future marketing and sales efforts, optimize search engine strategies, and more.
5. Leave no lead behind (and qualify each one, faster)
Census growth requires sales and marketing teams to treat each and every lead with great care and attention, but they often see more inquiries than they can handle. Introducing intelligent chat doesn’t just ensure each lead is captured, it also helps pre-qualify those leads before they ever arrive on a sales representative’s desk.
Teams can use virtual assistants to predetermine whether or not prospects meet the financial requirements for their properties, for example. Through in-depth conversations at that digital front door, senior living centers can triage inquiries to make sure that lead information ends up with the right manager to take the interaction further. And thanks to integration with popular CRM platforms and other sales systems, chat solutions ensure that when a lead moves from a marketing team to a sales team, it’s already a fully qualified, warm lead. That empowers sales teams with a much more advanced understanding of prospects’ needs, instead of requiring them to use valuable time covering basic questions with cold leads.
The Botco.ai intelligent chat solution helps senior living centers pre-qualify leads, offer modern digital experiences, and give prospects an up close and personal sense of their communities. Botco.ai puts algorithmic tools within reach for teams with no prior AI experience, offering total personalization, robust dashboards, and custom integrations to marketing teams looking to move the needle. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.