Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Bringing Our 'CAPS' To The Client's Door Is Just The First Step"

We take the CAPS training for many reasons, but one of them is to demonstrate to our clients, fellow professionals, and the marketplace in general that we care about the work we do and that we are interested in learning as much as we can about ways to serve our clients even more effectively.

In many cases, there is no magic in the CAPS curriculum that transforms a mediocre professional into a skilled service provider. There is training on how to work with people of various levels of ability or impairment - from none, slight, and more serious. Possible solutions, ways of looking at situations, and various products to employ in a solution are presented.

Still, as great as the CAPS designation is to have, it doesn't transform a contractor, OT, PT, designer, DME specialist, architect, real estate professional, or anyone else from an average professional to a top-notch aging in place specialist. It helps, but we have to add a little bit to the mix ourselves.

This is the challenge. We should hold ourselves to a higher level of competency for having the designation. There is no rigorous training and examination like there is for becoming a licensed general contractor, real estate broker, or architect, but we have the main tool to make us great - the designation and the training it represents.

We know that the client is going to respect someone with a CAPS designation more than a person without those four letters after their name. They are going to expect more from us, so we must as well.

Having the CAPS training and designation may get us inside the client's home to meet with them and discuss possible solutions for their needs or requirements, but it can't stop there. We must have a passion for working with and helping people who want to remain in their homes long-term. We must share with them our enthusiasm for creating effective solutions that will accomplish their aims. Other contractors - possibly other CAPS trained contractors may be able to provide the solutions they seek, but we need to impress upon them that we can complete them with more expertise than others they might choose to use.

Our CAPS designation is a great starting point for the relationship with our clients, but it can't be the only reason they select us to help them. It will open the door, and then we need to convince them that we have a tremendous amount of ability, insight, and experience to offer them.

Our designation may open the door, but we have to use our skills, assessment abilities, design sense, and solution execution to create what they need and want for the budget they have. We have to do it with a minimum amount of mess in their homes (particularly if they are going to remain present during the renovation), and we have to look like we have done this project successfully in the past - even if this is our first attempt at this type of solution.

When we are finished, we want them to be glad they insisted on using a CAPS- trained professional (singularly or as a team), and we want them to tell their friends and others they talk with about the great experience they had in working with a CAPS professional. Then, the door to other homes will open for us.

Just remember as we are approaching the client's project that someone without the CAPS background may not have the sensitivity to their issues or to working in their home and range of solutions that we offer them. The CAPS designation is powerful. Let's showcase it and not hide it.

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.