How to Improve Communication with Home Care Clients
Becoming a good communicator is an important part of cultivating powerful bonds with your home care clients – here’s how to improve your communication skills quickly!
The right words can change someone’s mood, heal and ease their thoughts, and create a comfortable and supportive environment that encourages living life to the fullest. As a home care provider, you must communicate with clients and their families to ensure you’re maximizing your business, creating the absolute best experience for your clients, and positioning yourself as the most responsive home care agency around. Here are five specific tactics you can use to ensure you communicate effectively going forward:
1. Listen: The old saying rings true – “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason!” Try to listen as much as possible and let the client talk. Avoid interrupting them and let them get their thoughts out before you respond. This active listening will demonstrate you are committed to their satisfaction and can place their priorities in front of yours.
2. Ask good questions: Communication is a two-way street, so you’ll want to avoid closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Instead, begin questions with statements like “Tell me about…” or “Help me understand your thoughts on…” This will help you to get the client talking and minimizes the odds of you dominating the conversation.
3. Honesty is key: Accidents are bound to happen, and mistakes will occur at some point, but if you communicate quickly and openly, you’ll endear the client to your home care firm and solidify a foundation built upon mutual trust and understanding. If you aren’t sure of something, tell the client you will quickly circle back with them and deliver an answer. Don’t feel compelled to make it up on the spot.
4. Create a schedule: Instead of clients wondering when you’re going to communicate next, create a communication calendar that you and the client can both agree on. Also, determine how they like to communicate. You might want to consider honoring requests to simply “email me once a week,” or “shoot me a text when you can each week,” versus forcing clients to stick to a rigid communication schedule that you created in the past.
5. Be personal: Nothing screams “I don’t care about you” more than a formulaic approach to communication. Don’t settle for swapping out the recipient’s name on the top of each letter prior to sending out written communication to a group of clients. Instead, communicate in a personal way that invites greater exploration of the client’s true needs and current satisfaction levels. Ask for their opinion, follow up on previous issues, and catalog information about the client to connect more deeply.
Communication is the lifeblood of any business, and it is especially important in the home care field. Satisfied home care clients maintain open and honest lines of communication with the home care provider, and that in turn creates a loyal base of fans who will refer new business and remain loyal for years to come.
Remember that this is a big change for seniors, and you shouldn’t expect them to immediately go along with your ideas. You’ll likely have to strike up a dialogue earlier than you planned, and then continue to talk openly about your plans to support them as they age in place.