Emeritus Senior Living says it is seeing early success based on the September launch of its first in-house call center to field calls from prospective residents and their families.
Receiving calls based on internet marketing efforts, the call center, staffed by more than a dozen Emeritus Family Advocates, is seeing a conversion rate of 60% for inquiries that result in a tour of one of the senior living provider’s communities.
The call center, located in Emeritus’s Seattle headquarters, is the first of its kind for the company, which last year ran a test program with a third-party provider to field calls, but ultimately saw the benefits of bringing the service in-house.
“We looked at costs and benefits of the call center,” said Karen Lucas, vice president of product development and communications. “We looked at whether we should outsource or do our own…. the key qualifies were control, quality and consistency.”
Since its launch last month, and now having been rolled out nationwide across all of Emeritus’s markets, the call center is staffed with 14 full time Family Advocates, a title the company has termed to describe its team of trained sales staff.
“Our advocates work with our families and residents to understand what the needs are and find the proper community for them,” Lucas says. “Their discovery process in working with the families is the most important thing.”
So far, the response has been very positive—so much so during the soft launch that Emeritus rolled out the new system in full more than a month early. The company is seeing inquiry-to-tour conversions of around 60%, compared to an industry average of 35% for assisted living, according to Bild & Company, a national consulting firm that specializes in senior care.
“We are very pleased with the results,” Lucas says. “We can attribute that two two things: first: customer experience and giving our advocates intense training on what it’s like to search for assisted living. Second, our partnership with the communities. Our [community relations directors] are very effective.”
Currently, the majority of calls are coming into the new family advocates center directly from Emeritus’s website. That could change in the near future, Lucas said, while remaining tight lipped about the details.
“As we’ve gotten started, preliminary indications would tell us this is really effective for us in getting folks into our properties,” Lucas says. “We are always looking at ways to increase our online presence and new ways of marketing and branding as a means to drive more people to the site.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker