Blog | Angela Gifford

Fee Paying Clients

In countries where older populations have lived with the luxury of their State paying for their social care services, it comes as a shock to find that the reality for the future means that they are going to be financially assessed as to their ability to pay for their social care requirements. After such a financial assessment if they are found to be above the financial eligibility criteria for State funding then simply put, if they require social care then they will have to recognise that they will need to pay for it.

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. When the remit of the organisation is the provision of social care services then providing a quality service, tailoring the care provided to the individual, having all staff of the organisation working to achieve the aims in the organisation’s mission statement and giving extra value where possible has to be continuous.

  2. The most important factor however is how do you attract the fee paying clients in the first instance?

In a population where fee paying has just been 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 organisations 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 is the customer in the first instance is a relevant starting point whilst recognising that the consumer may well become the customer once your service provision has commenced.

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 hold the success of your organisation in their hands. Attract/recruit/train for your customers needs.

  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:  17 Oct 2013

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