Data has been called the new natural resource. According to the most recent Experian Data Quality benchmark study, 97% of U.S. companies use data to gain insight into their organizations.
Data is a powerful tool that senior living executives can use to make decisions about the future of their communities. But just as good data can lead to good decisions, bad data can result in bad decisions.
Problems with data quality aren’t unique to senior living. In the Experian survey, companies said that 32% of their data is inaccurate, and 91% believe this is affecting their revenue. In fact, organizations “feel that 27% of their revenue is wasted due to inaccurate and incomplete customer or prospect data.” This is despite the fact that 90% of companies have some sort of data quality tool or technology in place.
Thomas Schutz, Experian Data Quality VP and general manager, suggested that the problem isn’t technical, it’s human. He noted: “While data quality technology is certainly a requirement, many businesses have neglected to focus on staff and organizational structure. Very few organizations have appointed a centralized manager for data quality and most lack sophistication in their data management methods. Organizations need to do more than buy a new piece of software; they need to make data quality an organizational priority and put the right team in place to manage that complex effort.”
Customer and prospect data quality can be a huge problem for senior living communities. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a good start, but many senior living companies have trouble getting employees to use the CRM software. Forrester Research estimates that 70% of CRM implementations suffer because staff refuse to use the software -- because they don’t know how, because they don’t see the value in it, or because the software is integrated with other business processes. For example, we hear often that staff at various communities only enter leads into the CRM software that they believe they can close. This leads to skewed appointment ratios and inquiry counts.
In senior living, it's common for companies to have a large number of marketing numbers. But when calls start coming in, the data from call tracking reports never gets transferred into the CRM. The result is that executives have no tangible data other than the quantity of calls that come in. They don’t know what marketing source is being used and have no insight into what is happening throughout the sales cycle. Thus, their CRM data is not sufficient to support good decision-making.
How can you avoid making bad decisions based on bad data?
Focus on the human element
Like Schutz said, the problem isn’t the technology -- the problem is getting people to use it. Make data a priority and ensure your staff has the tools and the training they need to implement good data management practices.
Use a call center
Instead of fighting an uphill battle, many senior living communities are using call centers for data collection and management. With a call center, you know that 100% of your calls are being tracked and entered accurately into your CRM software. Better data will lead to increased tours and higher occupancy.
Our 2014 Senior Living Sales Benchmarking report found that call centers lead to significantly higher appointment ratios across all types of care.
Data is a powerful tool for business intelligence, but only to the extent that the data is accurate and reliable. Learn how a call center can supply the high-quality data you need to make good decisions for your communities.
Download our Senior Living Sales Benchmarking report to start making better data-driven decisions for your community.