Understanding your customer is key to making your service model and offerings stand out in a crowded market, writes industry expert Jennene Buckley in the fourth article in this series.

Priority four:  Reimagine your service delivery

A big question for aged care providers, and particularly those in the home care space, is: how much do we need to change? Is it an incremental shift to a new service delivery model in 2023-24? Or is it a leap? Or a transformation? There are three key factors at play.

Aged care reform

We have the five pillars of reform over the next three-to-four years that will see activity-based funding, fixed pricing and more competition, reporting, transparency and accountability. 

It will be important for providers to: 

  • gain efficiencies
  • improve customer experience, reputation and brand
  • boost data intelligence and reporting
  • strengthen governance and clinical systems
  • build information technology capacity to engage digitally through business-to-government, business-to-consumer and business-to-business mechanisms.

Wider market forces

We have the broader market factors and dynamics that we must consider. These include that the traditional workforce no longer exists, workforce pressures are unlikely to subside anytime soon, and the need to think up how to attract, engage and retain workers.

The digital revolution is upon us, which includes customer expectations for seamless, safe and convenient engagement with services through modern platforms, apps and digital means. It is a consumer-driven marketplace, where consumers will be looking for a reliable brand that can give them the modern experience they may expect.

Mainstreaming of telehealth

New since February 2020 is the acceptance by both the health and aged care sectors and consumers that telehealth if effective and here to stay. The use of virtual care has increased by 38 times since pre-COVID rates. 

In the last two years we saw home care programs being managed from home offices and case management and clinical visits by telehealth. We saw the increase in the use of mobile apps and self-service portals. And providers pivoted to predominantly online process to recruit, onboard and train the workforce.

“Designing your services models with a focus on creating the best possible experience for your customer will build loyalty.”

What does this all mean? 

Our future models of care need to consider a seamless hybrid model of remote and face-to-face care that is informed by and designed with customers so we can deliver on their service expectations and achieve superior client experience. For a number of providers this transition to twenty-first century care may be a leap; a need to reimagine and transform.

An ideal first step for all providers is to understand and document your current client journey. Gathering insights from your clients, their informal carers, staff and other stakeholders to understand their journey, the key touchpoints and the moments that matter. These insights will uncover their pain points, the areas of improvement and innovation pieces to inform your new future service delivery models. 

Understanding your customer, and designing your services models with a focus on creating the best possible experience for your customer will build loyalty and make your service model and offerings stand out in a crowded market.

Jennene Buckley is founding partner at Enkindle Consulting, which provides business advisory, strategic and operational planning, and transformation service to the aged care sector.

This post is part of Jennene Buckley’s Top 10 Strategies to Reform Success, published by the Australian Ageing Agenda.

Image Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

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