Blog | Angela Gifford

Fee Payers - The New Customers

In countries where older populations have lived with the luxury of having state subsidised care services, it comes as a shock to find the future reality is that financial assessment will determine their ability to pay for the care they need. The decision will be made for them.

For a while, the purchase of care on a fee paying basis is a grudge purchase made with resentment and reluctance. However, inevitably, services will be purchased and paid for.

The fee payers become customers and as such will demand value for money and where possible extra value. Just as any purchaser of goods and services their specifications as to what shape they wish their care services to be will be the criteria against which any care provider will be judged.

To any care provider the ‘new world’ of having fee paying clients can be divided into two distinct areas both of which are equally important to recognise:

1. For any organisation to grow safely and profitably the maintenance of existing clients is paramount. Care providers selling care services will need to provide a quality service, tailored to the individual customer and having all staff of the organisation working to achieve this aim. In addition looking to see where extra value can be added to place your care service above your competitors.
2. The most important factor however is how do care organisations attract the new, fee paying clients?

In a population where fee paying is introduced the emergence of new companies into the market will have a profound effect on those companies that have been established and offered services in the ‘state paid’ environment.

The new entrants will have new ideas, may have already worked in other countries with fee paying customers, and these providers will have marketing and promotional skills already proven and refined. New names and new services will always attract attention and it will be imperative that existing organisations recognise this and act accordingly to ensure their continued growth and existence.

Marketing to individuals is a skill that has to be learnt, developed and ongoing. Defining who your target customer is, is a relevant starting point.

The ‘new world’ of fee paying clients also has to be viewed from the need to recruit and maintain the appropriate care worker base. Again there are two areas to recognise:

1. The front line care workers and ‘in house’ staff hold the success of your organisation in their hands. Attract/recruit/train for your customer’s needs and impressions.
2. Once you have the care workers you want, respect them and work vigorously to maintain their loyalty to your organisation.

Fee paying clients stimulate the market, will help to expand services, will push the quality of care provision higher and offer challenges which should be embraced.

By:  Angela E Gifford
Posted:  11 Oct 2016

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