We make lives better
Home health care business owners aren’t ordinary entrepreneurs.
They want to build thriving businesses, of course, but the people who choose this industry are responding to a certain calling. It’s personal to them. In the United States, franchise industry experts estimate that 85 percent of home health care business owners, like our founders John and Ken, have had personal experiences with home health care. Often, they’re bad ones.
That’s why so many get into the business to begin with: They want to improve the way the home health care industry operates and make people’s lives better.
We knew when we founded Nurse Next Door that if we could find a way to minimize the administrative aspects of the business — especially scheduling, the most complicated and time-consuming duty — we could drastically reduce burnout and keep our dedicated franchise partners and caregivers focused on the care that drew them to the industry to begin with.
Our solution: our Care Services Platform, anchored by a round-the-clock call center at our “HeartQuarters” in Vancouver.
The key to a successful home health care business
We spent five years and nearly $1 million building our Care Services Platform into the truly transformative system it’s become. It lifts the most tedious and time-sapping aspects of home health care off the shoulders of our franchise partners, and with incredible efficiency and well-honed practices without peer in the industry.
The call center is the hub. Our Care Services specialists field incoming calls, handle franchise partners’ scheduling, set up appointments, check with caregivers and clients about schedule changes and talk regularly with partners to coordinate. Our reps are assigned by time zone, so the ones handling our East Coast partners have to get in pretty early.
We’ve run some numbers and determined that our call center saves our franchise partners, on average, 237 hours per month in answering and making client calls, scheduling caregivers, follow-ups with customers and answering emails from clients.
We’ll repeat that: nearly 240 hours per month. That’s 10 full, round-the-clock days. That’s a full-time monthly workload and a part-time workload combined. And what do our franchise partners pay for it? Seven percent of gross sales — far less than the cost of a part-time employee even at minimum wage.
A system that works for franchise partners
About 18 months ago, we had a team of 12 specialists. We’ve built that up to 28, with plans to expand even more. It’s one reason why our average hold time is less than 30 seconds. It’s one reason why our Net Promoter Score, one of the industry’s key customer service metrics, is a phenomenal 70 — a world-class score on par with such renowned brands as Amazon.com, Apple and Publix and far above any home health care brand’s.
We know all this because of another critical part of the Care Services Platform: a software package that tracks crucial data on hold times, call volume, email traffic, client needs and successful outcomes. Our franchise partners don’t have to track metrics themselves or wonder how their caseload stacks up to last month’s or last year’s. We have the data constantly updated in real time and available for all our partners.
Our team really gets to know our franchise partners, caregivers and customers: which client always calls at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays to arrange for transportation to her weekly trip to the senior center the next day, which caregiver has odd schedules and which partners want to have regular conference calls.
Finding a better way
Our specialists can build those relationships because they stick around at a rare much higher rate than at most call centers. Call center turnover rates usually hover at around 75 percent; our rate has averaged less than 10 percent over the last three years. The continuity helps keep communication open, service consistent and our partners’ great competitive advantage intact.
In keeping with our core values, we’re always trying to find a better way to improve our Care Services Platform. We’re expanding our night and weekend staff and developing alternate ways to deliver information that doesn’t require give-and-take: email, text messages, Twitter. In spring 2012, we enlisted our customer service team in a program targeting potential clients who had turned us down and offering them a Nurse Next Door trial at no charge.
What Makes the Nurse Next Door Care Services Platform Work
The value of our Care Service Platform is incalculable. It’s the one part of our operation that has vaulted Nurse Next Door to truly world-class, disruptive status in the home health care industry. Our clients have the security of knowing they can call at any time, day or night, and speak with a live human being who probably knows them and can access their case portfolios in seconds.
But the platform’s real importance is to our franchise partners. Simply, it means the difference between an intolerable work life and a great one. With the Care Services Platform, our partners don’t have to sleep with their cell phones. They don’t have to work 16-hour days. They can live happy, balanced lives — the kind Nurse Next Door helps foster for clients and families as well — and ensures that compassionate and skilled home health care business owners keep their businesses running and the care flowing for years.