Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Social Media & The Internet Make It Harder To Be Unfriendly"

When it comes to aging in place solutions, the client is interested in results. To that end, it doesn't really matter (on paper) if we are pleasant to work with or not as long as we can deliver what we promised and the client wants.

But why should it come down to this? We need to be friendly and approachable. Our clients need to feel that they can call us and we will take the call as if it is not interrupting anything - even though it might be. They need to feel they can stop us in the middle of doing something - as long as there is no risk of injury to anyone or having something installed incorrectly because we stopped in the middle of a process - and ask us a question. That's being approachable and that's showing a true interest in communicating.

Contrast this with a matter-of-fact, all-business demeanor where we get the job done and the client is quite happy with the results but they did not feel they could approach or talk to us without being chided for interrupting.This is not the way to spend their money (or funds allocated to them through a third party), in their home, and for their benefit. They have every right and expectation to oversee the work and to participate.

We may have to learn to smile more and to look like we are enjoying ourselves. It truly shows, and with social media posts - which need to be used if they aren't currently a part of the marketing message - and websites, it immediately comes across if we are faking it. The client, our referring professionals, and our strategic partners need to see someone who is engaging, enjoying life, genuinely interested in serving our clients, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

We must be more than just professional in our approach and the work we provide. Our clients need to feel that we are sensitive to them and to preserving and respecting their home and what it represents to them emotionally. They need to be able to speak to us freely and not get the impression that we don't like to be approached or interrupted. We are there to serve them.


All of us have moments – or days – when we feel less than 100%.  However, the mark of a true professional is being able to give the customer a 100%, all-out performance at all times. Our distractions or personal issues are irrelevant to serving their needs. We have to relate to our customers in a genuine, friendly way. They can't detect any insincerity from us or lack of commitment to the overall effort.

It's our attitude, demeanor, speech, posture, and the rest of the total package that our customers and clients are using to evaluate how willing we are to serve them. Knowledge, skill set, and ability are secondary to how they think they will relate to us and how they think they might like working with us or having us in their home.

After they meet us and get to know us in person, they may like us and see how approachable and engaging we are, but we may never get to this point if our social media and online persona is such that we don't convey this. Not all of our clients are going to personally experience our online presence but many are, Even for those older clients who may not have internet or computer access, their children likely do.

We just need to remember that people are watching us and forming opinions about us whether they are seeing us in-person or online. We can't afford to let down our guard or be anything less than ready to create a good impression for potential clients or those who might refer us to their friends or neighbors.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place 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.