The aged care sector in Australia is undergoing unprecedented change. Not only will consumers of aged care services be empowered to control where and how they receive the support they need, but service providers will be held far more accountable for the experience they offer their clients through a range of quality compliance measures that will be made publically available, enabling providers to be benchmarked against one another.
While this is a challenging time for providers, it is also a time of opportunity, driving increased focus on meeting the needs of both their current and potential client-base, in order to offer a sufficiently differentiated and compelling service proposition that will serve to attract, as well as retain custom.
As experts in customer experience research and with knowledge of the market for aged care services, the team at ACA Research are well positioned to help providers make this transition and work-out the optimal bundle and articulation of service and delivery that will help them target their market segment(s) profitably.
However, we do have a question. With only one-fifth of those aged 55-64 actively engaged with the category (considering or looking for aged care services for themselves or someone else) and less than a third of 55-64 year olds having a good understanding of the aged care options available to them*, shouldn’t a key component of this customer-centric focus be to build understanding of specific service offerings and options amongst those who are approaching the age where they need to access services, such that specific providers are top-of-mind when the need arises?
As a society we remain youth-focused and independence-driven and, as such, considering one’s needs as one ages is unlikely to be a compelling proposition. However, as more and more people are now taking the step of planning financially for their retirement, perhaps more consideration should be given to how they think they would like to live and be cared for in their retirement.
As the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states in their 2015 report into the Use of Aged Care Services Before Death- “80% of Australians over the age of 65 will use at least one aged care service in the 8 years before their death.” So, to this end, it makes sense to have some idea about who you would like to have provide that service.
Certainly, the subject does appear to be somewhat taboo, with the majority (66%) of those aged 55-64 years of age stating that they would not be looking forward to their retirement and half of all 55-64 year olds stating they consider themselves to still be young*. The time is becoming ripe for providers of aged care services to look at positioning their services at this group of pre-market consumers, helping redefine what it means to age and require support. This will help build positive perceptions of the life-stage and of specific providers within that space and help make the process of provider selection a smoother one once the need arises.
*Source: ACA Research large-scale online survey of n=1000 adults (aged 18-64) (2014)