Many people think of a brand as being something like the Nike symbol, or the tagline ‘Just Do It’ that goes with it. That’s part of the equation of what makes up a brand, but far more importantly a brand is the level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction that becomes associated with that symbol or tagline, in the consumer’s mind. The consumer creates a sense of value that your services bring to them. They then attach that value to the symbol and tagline.
For a service or product to have value in a consumer’s mind, the benefits of that service or product have to outweigh the costs. We can therefore have consumers who experience your offerings and think of them as being of reasonably low benefit to them, but also low cost and therefore still having value. They may discover competitive offerings that give many more benefits, but are also much more expensive. Whilst those offerings might too be considered as being of value, they are not inherently considered to be better or worse value.
The line one can draw between the low cost-low benefit and high cost-high benefit value points is called a fair value line. See the diagram below:
If you are perceived by consumers to be above the fair value line, independent of where you appear along the line, then your brand accretes value over time.
Value in Aged Care
The benefits delivered by an aged care facility will range, in a consumer’s mind, from the key services related to medical care, to the seemingly frivolous, such as the quality of the towels provided.
On the other side of the equation, cost is not solely comprised of the money customers pay. Costs include the ease of dealing or otherwise with your staff. Or – as a CEO of a facility I talked to at a LASA event told me – the accessibility of car parking for relatives.
The point is, only your customers can tell you what equates to costs and benefits in their mind. Hence, only your customers – which include your clients and their relatives and carers – can tell you what value is.
Therefore, only your customers can determine the value of your aged care brand, by how well you meet their needs and expectations. Remember, even if you have your brand listed as an asset on your balance sheet, you don’t determine the figure – your customers do.
Increasing your aged care brand value
To create an action plan to increase the value of your aged care brand, start with identifying your preferred market segments. Map, for each of your preferred segments, their Moments of Truth.
Use surveys, focus groups, and customer complaints to determine the moments at which your customers in the segment determine whether you offer services that leave a lasting impression of positive (or negative) value at your price point.
Don’t use customer satisfaction surveys unless you are very skilled at creating them. The design of most satisfaction surveys is usually poor in that they ask for an opinion, but not the importance to the customer of that opinion. Satisfaction surveys tend to condition recipients to give a positive response. In a study completed in 1995, customer retention levels of around 40% correlated to an average rating of “satisfied” and did not reach 80% until the average rating reached “very satisfied” (Jones & Sasser, 1995). In another study, 80% of customers who churned from an internet service provider had responded that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their service (Kon, 2004).
From the results of your mapping effort you can create Standards of Operation to ensure your staff know how to provide value in the eyes of your customers. You can then develop a Training Needs Analysis to understand the skills and knowledge required of your staff to deliver against the Standards of Operation. You can go even further though and consider your performance management system, reviewing its ability to reward behaviours which help increase value in your customers mind. Furthermore you can review your recruitment processes to ensure that you recruit the right behaviours and train in skills and knowledge.
If you are serious about building your Aged Care brand, then do not leave the analysis of what creates value to internal opinion. Do analyse your Moments of Truth by researching your preferred segments and then align your strategic human resource processes to deliver value at the points of interaction that leave the biggest impression in your customers mind of the lasting value you provide.
To obtain a free Moments of Truth mapping tool, provide us with your details here. We look forward to hearing from you.
Jones, T., & Sasser, E. (1995). Why satisfied customers defect. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/1995/11/why-satisfied-customers-defect
Kon, M. (2004). Customer churn: stop it before it starts. Retrieved from the website of Oliver Wyman: http://www.oliverwyman.com/content/dam/oliver-wyman/global/en/files/archive/2004/CMMJ17_Customer_Churn.pdf