The Occupancy Challenge (Part 2) – How to Evaluate Reporting Tools for your Retirement Home Community

Nov 21, 2011   //   by admin   //   Features, Industry News  //  No Comments

What gets measured gets done

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage” – Jack Welch

A key factor critical to the success of any retirement home is management’s ability to generate, retrieve and act upon reliable and timely information. This is especially true for new communities facing stiff ramp-up targets and more established communities facing 25% plus attrition rates. However, whenever I meet with owners and managers of Retirement Home Communities, they repeatedly reveal that measurement and reporting are often manual, frequently inaccurate and always the most painful part of their jobs!

While most retirement home managers are well aware of their occupancy rates, resident days, close rates and overall cost of operations, major shortcomings exist in the scope and way that operational data is accessed and used:

  • Data generated is usually restricted to financial data, with the exclusion of key metric information required to make operational decisions
  • Reports are only available periodically, such as at month and year end
  • Data is accumulated in several isolated systems that require extensive manual reconciliation and duplicate entry prior to allowing for any analysis; in most companies, this preparation time leaves little or no time for the analytical function
  • Information is geared to “what happened” as opposed to “what should happen” and “how do we achieve results”

When evaluating the reporting capacity of retirement home software, there are numerous factors to consider at both the community and corporate levels that can significantly increase close rates, occupancy levels and marketing effectiveness.

Community Requirements

Quick Adoption - Rapid sales team adoption is essential to the success of any new system. To ensure sales staff support, team members must believe that the new reporting system will save them time. In essence, the best salespeople despise manual reporting, as they intuitively understand that arduous manual documentation deprives them of face-to-face or phone time with prospective residents. Given that manual processes and reporting diminish valuable selling time, the benefits of automated daily, weekly and monthly reporting cannot be overstated.

Improved Sales Process – Sales reporting allows users to track sales performance over time and evaluate the impact of procedures designed to improve sales effectiveness. By tracking specific metrics at every step of the sales cycle, management can pinpoint the exact stage where the sales process breaks down. For example, if many prospective seniors take tours but few return for revisits or leave a deposit, sales personnel should take a serious look at the tour process. By analysing tour feedback, managers may discover certain areas of their communities that require further attention, and/or gain insight into which areas of the tour are most attractive to seniors and require greater marketing emphasis. The availability of this information allows the sales and marketing team to focus on areas that directly affect sales.

Marketing Performance Analysis - In addition to reporting on overall event performance, such as responses by event, new residents signed, and comparative costs of acquisition, marketing event planning allows for seamless coordination of the multitude of tasks required to host promotional events during the year. Constant monitoring allows management to track progress and make adjustments accordingly.

Dashboards and Activity Reports – Regardless of the metrics requested by management, dashboards provide constant visibility to relevant data. When compared with traditional reporting distributed at the end of the week or month, dashboards continually display the sales pipeline, hot prospects and action items in real-time, enabling the sales team to focus its efforts on key opportunities. Activity reports further enhance the sales process by identifying neglected prospects, providing follow-up reminders and automating numerous manual tasks.

Easy to use report writers – Simple, user friendly reporting software empowers your sales and marketing personnel to access information when they need it and in the format that they require. Designed for the average business user, these tools allow for the quick creation of reports and dashboards, enabling users to personally access and monitor the business metrics that are important to them.

When evaluating reporting software for your sales team, select a system that reduces manual entry, is simple to use and provides constant visibility to real-time marketing and sales information.

Corporate Requirements

Cross Community Reporting – It is essential to determine whether the new system is capable of combining and comparing data from multiple communities on one report. Although cross community reporting would seem to be a logical requirement, many communities still depend on antiquated reporting systems incapable of generating cross community metrics. To succeed in today’s fast-moving, highly competitive marketplace, one integrated system is the only solution. For example, a cross community comparison of conversion rates between initial calls to tours, to revisits, to deposits, to move-ins can highlight areas of lead breakage. Similarly, cross community lead-time analysis can determine which homes employ a more efficient sales process, with the result that the underperforming sales teams implement the necessary changes to boost efficiency.

Sales Process Compliance - The most successful retirement home managers understand that sales effectiveness is a result of consistently following an appropriate process in conjunction with a predetermined activity level (i.e. prospect calls or community tours). Accordingly, the new reporting system should track staff activities and document whether team members are following the appropriate sales and marketing processes. A strong reporting system provides detailed feedback on the quality and completeness of the data entered. To demonstrate, it reveals whether all interview questions are completed, if prospect hot buttons and needs are documented, etc. Key elements of a corporate reporting package should include activity reporting, budget comparisons and the highlighting of special areas of interest (i.e. neglected prospects).

Marketing Investment Analysis – In today’s economy, stringent use of a marketing budget is mandatory in all retirement communities. Beyond providing statistics on leads generated per marketing dollar, marketing ROI reports should evaluate closing ratios and assess the effects of the multiple touch-points involved in closing a sale.

Ad hoc reporting – Retirement home managers often complain that they cannot create their own reports without involving the IT department or a third-party vendor to develop a new report or modify an existing one. A strong reporting system should empower users to build their own reports quickly and easily.

Automatic Report Generation and Distribution Well-designed reporting software should provide the option of viewing information in real-time or exporting information to spreadsheets for further analysis. Automated daily reports can be emailed to managers, owners and salespeople first thing every morning, with exception reports forwarded as necessary.  In today’s world of connected devices, it is also reasonable to evaluate a system’s ability to access data remotely from home and elsewhere, and from devices such as smartphones and tablets.

When evaluating reporting software for your sales and marketing department, select a system with enhanced metrics and reporting tools that display the real-time performance of your communities and promote the rapid implementation of any sales and marketing process improvements required to increase occupancy levels. 

Contact us today for three sample reports that every Retirement Home Corporate Office must have!

Reporting and business measurement are not painful when you work with the right tools. A well-designed system provides users with real-time information essential to increase occupancy, profits and resident satisfaction.

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