How to provide real 24/7 service to your clients

It’s 7PM and your mother, who just had hip surgery, spilled her dinner in the kitchen, and needs you to call her home care companion to come clean up the mess and help her fix another meal.

You dial the phone number of the “24/7 service line” and you get a voice mail. The first thought that pops into your head is “Why do they advertise 24/7 service if they don’t answer the phone when I need them. Never mind how great they say they are. I need them now and they’re not answering!!!”

This situation, in some form or fashion, is all too familiar to the home care industry. Companies tout their service as being top notch and claim to be available 24/7.

Unfortunately, most of them turn customers off, like in the above example, because their idea of 24/7 service is giving one of their staff a cell phone and telling them to answer it. What if the staff member has to go to the bathroom and forgets to bring the cell phone. Or worse, what if they are using the bathroom when a client calls? Do you really want them talking to your clients while they’re sitting on the toilet? What if they’re in the shower?

Here you are as the owner of a home care company, whose paying out overtime for someone to be on call, who can’t guarantee that they will be available to answer the phone.

Most companies in the home care industry rely on one cell phone or one on-call employee to carry a cell phone to handle all the calls that come in for that office. Aside from the examples of why this doesn’t work that I’ve already listed, here are a couple more reasons why it’s a bad idea:

– It’s expensive. You have to pay time and a half at the least to get someone to cover those hours.

– It’s ineffective. There are several scenarios where the on-call person will not be able to answer the phone and even when they do, the calls are often times not emergencies.

– You are liable! This is the worst one. If your employee who is paid to be on-call 24/7 answers the phone in their car and gets in an accident, you can be sued for millions of dollars, unless you buy the proper insurance or, instruct the on-call person not to answer while they’re driving, which depletes the entire reason for having 24/7 service.

This article isn’t a rant on the home care industry or those who own home care services. The industry is much needed in our ever-aging society. Quite honestly the home care industry puts up with enough in terms of legislation and government regulation. It doesn’t need additional guff from me.

The purpose of this article is to open the eyes of those who read it to understand that there is a much better, cheaper, and customer-friendly way to do business. The answer is to hire an answering service. They have people sitting at a desk 24/7/365 waiting to take and dispatch your calls according to your instruction. You’d be surprised how inexpensive it can really be, especially when you compare it to the cost of paying someone overtime to field all those after-hours calls.

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