27th February saw the first stage of the Government’s Increasing Choice in Home Care measures implemented. This measure now sees all home care packages provided to individual aged care ‘consumers’ rather than awarded to approved providers under the current allocation process.
This is a huge change in the way care services are offered and one that aims to put control of services and providers into the hands of those receiving care at home, making it easier to change provider if they move home or, if they are dissatisfied with the level or type of services provided.
This new level of Consumer Directed Care is a key part of the Government’s Aged Care Reforms that aims to make an Australian aged care system that is more consumer needs driven, market-based and less regulated.
On the face of it, putting assessment of care needs and supplier offers into the hands of those requiring the support appears to be a good development, certainly for the consumer themselves and also for suppliers of services, who can operate in a less closed market environment and put measures in place to more actively grow their customer base. However, the flip-side to this is that this new market environment will require home care providers to develop a new set of skills to align themselves with the needs of their market and communicate a compelling point of difference to attract and retain customers.
As a business that regularly conducts Voice-Of-The-Customer studies for a cross-section of leading Australian organisations, ACA Research understands only too well the potential pit-falls that home care organisations (and eventually residential care organisations) can face in placing the customer more centrally within their business decision-making. As well as ensuring they are putting in place mechanisms to accurately evaluate and address key customer pain points, there is a need to look at how the organisation operates and communicates from the top down to ensure delivery of a specific customer experience.
To achieve this, a key part of successful implementation of a customer experience strategy involves bringing all staff members along on their journey, ensuring they understand their role in helping deliver the required customer experience consistently. For teams whose focus is on delivering care support, accommodating the view that their actions are part of a bigger organisational view, which may require them to do things differently can be challenging to get across. For this reason, understanding the behavioural and perceptual gaps and needs of internal stakeholders is as critical as understanding the needs and aspirations of your target market.
For more information on how ACA Research can assist your aged care business in meeting the challenges of this new market environment please contact the team using the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website.
Please click here to access further thinking on use of Voice-Of-The Customer healthcare research.