Hey, everybody, it's Kathryn Watson here with Marketing Your Care. I'm here because I want to talk to you about Coronavirus and how it's going to affect your business. Feel free to listen to the video or read the article- your choice! :-)
And if you don't think it's going to affect your business, you've got your head stuck in the sand. Because it will.
Maybe A Lot and Maybe A Little
How much it affects your business is yet to be determined. And a lot of it is up to you and how you're handling the situation. Now I know probably the majority of people who are following my page and on my group are in the eldercare industry. Not all of you. But all of you are in service-related industries where you work directly with people in some way or another.
I have some massage therapists that I know have joined the group. Acupuncturists, different, different people in different professions. It's definitely going to affect them big time. I think they're going to have a lot of people who are just afraid of that close contact and they may be afraid to do that close contact as well.
The Eldercare Industry Will Be Affected
The majority of my clients are in the home care or assisted living industry and related industries, and it's going to affect you. It may already be affecting you. Chances are families are wanting to know, how are you going to protect my loved one? That's a big question.
It Doesn't Matter What You Believe About The Coronavirus
I know some of you are in the camp that believe it's a bunch of hoaxes. It's just it's not any big deal. The flu is much worse. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And others of you are listening to the World Health Organization and going, oh, my word! What's gonna happen? So regardless of which camp you're in. It's affecting business. We've already seen that with the stock market.
How You Respond Will Make The Difference in Whether Your Business Thrives
Chances are families are wanting to know what you're doing. And if you just tell them everybody's washing their hands. We're all washing our hands. You've got to wash your hands. It's no big deal. If you try to downplay it. They're going to feel that you're not taking them seriously.
People Just Want To Be Heard
I know I would as an adult daughter. I want you to hear me. It's very important that you hear what I'm saying and you address it. So how you talk to people is critical for the health of your business.
How Do You Talk To Families Who Are Panicking?
So let's talk about some of those ways that you can talk to families. So let's say you have an assisted living. Maybe it's a small assisted living facility. Maybe it's a large one. I don't know. Maybe you're a marketer for a large facility. What are you going to tell the families? Of course, we are washing our hands. Absolutely. We're making sure everybody is washing their hands.
They want to see things happening, though. So having people walking around and wiping the doorknobs and wiping the counter tops and light switches and that sort of thing is going to help. OK, to calm some of the fears. Having signs up is good. Yeah. You want to have a sign up saying, hey, you know, if you're sick, please don't come in and visit your family member.
But you might need to take that a step further.
You might need to talk to people one on one and address their concerns. And also talk to people one on one who may be coming in coughing. And let's face it, it's allergy season. Oh, my gosh. It's allergy season and so many people are plagued with allergies right now. But with this coronavirus thing hanging over our heads, we don't know if it's an allergy.
Our Elderly Are The Most Vulnerable
They're the ones that seem to be targeted by this disease. And we want to protect them, right? So we're going to be in your face asking questions. I'm saying we because I'm talking as if I'm the adult daughter. And that is because I have been the adult daughter and I know how I would react. My mom and my mother in law have passed away now. But if they were still living and they were still in an assisted living, I know the kind of questions I would be asking . And the kind of things I would want to see.
So you're going to need to really step up your game.
You're going to need to have regular classes with your caregivers. They're going to all need to be on board. Furthermore, they need to understand the importance of extra precautions. This means extra hand-washing and extra wiping down of surfaces in the bathrooms and such. This will be for the staff and the residents. Many of the residents will need help with this. Maybe you could create a game of washing hands.
Is It Just Allergies?
So what do you do if somebody comes in and they're coughing and they say, oh, it's just allergies. It's just allergies. If my mother was there, I would want you to tell that person they have to go home. But it's- it's kind of tricky, isn't it? Because that's their mom that they're coming to see.
Use Technology To Help Everyone Be More Comfortable
What if you put into place a regular video conferencing call time for them to talk to their mom. So you could set up IPads. And have the caregivers work together on them with your residents to make calls to the family members regularly. Maybe for some family members you might have to do it three or four times a day just to alleviate their fears. They want to see. They want to have eyeballs on mom or dad and know that they're OK.
I would love to hear your ideas.
What are you doing in your community? What do you think you should be doing in your community? How can you calm the fears somewhat? I'd love to hear from you. So please post under this post in the comments, talk about what you would do, how you could help to alleviate the fears.
Will Your Business Suffer?
Because the truth of the matter is it probably is going to get worse before it gets better. And you could end up really losing a lot of business and that can hurt, especially to small businesses. And I know a good many of you are small business owners. OK. Now, what if you're in a related field? Maybe you sell Medicare insurance. OK. It might not affect you in just the same way, but it's still going to affect you because it's that trickle-down effect. OK. One area gets affected. Another area gets affected. And so on and so forth.
Online Workshops and Conferences
It is time to start using online resources to do your education. Because if you're trying to do classes where people gather together in a church or something. Guess what? You might find your attendance dropping . Because nobody wants to go to a big public gathering right now. OK, so you're going to need to start thinking outside the box. You're going to need to look for other ways.
I Can Help With That !
Reach out to me if you need some help with doing any of this. I tend to have a lot of experience in this area. I can help you with scheduling webinars and get these things in place so that you can continue to do business.
Speaking of webinars, having a webinar to educate the families of the residents that you have about what's going on and to address their concerns in one place might be a great idea. They could come together on the webinar. They could talk to you. They could ask questions. You could be able to tell everybody in one swoop about what you're doing, how you're doing it, and the best ways for everybody to work together to keep our seniors your safe.
So maybe you own a home care company, I know I've got a lot of home care company owners here. I imagine that at some point you may have trouble with caregivers. Maybe caregivers might be afraid to go into somebody's home if they seem like they might have a virus. What do you do if they are working in a home and that person does get sick? Maybe it is determined that that person has this corona virus. What do you do then?
How do you handle that?
What protocol do you have? What are you putting in place to alleviate the family's concerns that you're not bringing something into the house? All of these are questions that you need to think about and you need to address. This is so important. How you react today is going to make all the difference.
It Is Time To Get On Board With Social Media
Going further and it's even more important now to have a strong social media presence. This is a great place that you can post pictures of what's going on with your residence, whether it be in a community that you own or if you have a home care company. Maybe you'd post some pictures of mom and dad being entertained by the caregiver or the caregiver fixing a great meal or something. You want to use media to your advantage. You want to use it to educate, to help people calm their fears and understand and see what's going on, what's really happening, especially for the communities.
Coming and Going
I think people are more concerned about the communities than home care. Because they're exposed to lots of different people. Right? And you have people coming and going. Now, let's talk about that, too. There are hospice companies coming in. There are home health care companies coming in. There are doctors. There are foot doctors coming in. There are just all kinds of health care professionals coming in. And let's face it, health care professionals are out there dealing with sick people a lot of times. So they're exposed to more things.
How do you keep your facilities safe? What protocols do you have in place when they come in? I don't know. Maybe check their temperature? Maybe you have the little thing and pop it on their head and just check the temperature as they do in the airport to make sure that they're not bringing anything into your community. It wouldn't hurt anybody and it might be a wise thing to do. And another layer of protection, or at least a feeling of protection for your families. Every everybody that comes in here, we're going to test on the forehead with this little laser thermometer to see if they have a temperature and anybody with a temperature would be sent home. It will not keep everyone safe.
Because the truth is people may not have symptoms.
But what it will do is help to calm fears. It will show the public that you are truly doing everything you can. And at the end of the day that is all you can do. And this can help you stay in business because the world needs you and what you do. :-)
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"I help clients save time and end their frustration with social media." Kathryn