Accelerating Value
Accelerating Value

Episode · 1 year ago

Lindsay Hutter: Balancing Shifting Customer Values & Building Trust in Senior Living Communities


Choosing a senior living community can be one of the biggest decisions of a person’s life. That community will usher them until their last days—providing care and a relational experience unmatched by other healthcare services such as a hospital stay.

Lindsay Hutter, CMO of Goodwin House, joins the show to discuss her strategies for building a first-rate experience for customers, tailoring the experience w/ shifting customer values, & reinforcing the idea that senior care can never be just a transaction.

What we talked about:

- Background of Goodwin House

- AARP and Other Associations’ Relationship w/ Goodwin House

- Rating Systems within Senior Living Communities

- Data Accumulation & Following Customer Journeys

- The Velocity of Commitment Concept

- Understanding the Changing Values of the Customer & Associated Risks

- Long Term VS. Short Term Value Creation

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to the Accelerating Value on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

Today. Every budget approval is an investment deal. If you're a marketer, sales or business leader, you had to promise to deliver value and impact. Writing the wave to get there is hard enough. Finding your way through the storm is even harder. If you're looking for that path forward so that you don't wipe out. You've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Hi everybody, this is Mark Stuice, your host of accelerating value, where we come together every week. We talked to really, really, really smart people across many different parts of professional life about value. How we create it, how we support it, how we prove it, how we defend it, how we invest more in it and how do we know that we've already invested too much? Right? Where's that breakover point? So we really, we really look at all this stuff and I think, based on the feedback that we're getting, we're just seeing this show take off like a rocket ship. So please share it with your friends. It's you know, there are a lot of marketers and people like that, sales leaders, on the show, but there are also a lot of HR leaders and CEOS and CFOs and all kinds of folks right talking about value from their perspective. We even have a very, very, very, three varies senior clergy person coming on the show pretty soon to to talk about how he delivers value spiritually and as the CEO of his denomination. Right. So it's that that's going to be a really unusual and very interesting, I think, very revealing conversation. Today we have Lindsay Hudder, and let me tell you something. Lindsay is one of those people that you're going to be glad that you listen to, because not only is she eloquent and and very erudite, but she's seen a lot, she's been through a lot and she brings that kind of perspective. In addition, she is working in a very, very, very current and very important part of our society, and I will let her talk about that as part of the introduction. But, Lindsay, thank you very much for coming. Absolutely my pleasure of our thank you for the honor to be on this program now. You Bet, NAN's our honor. Absolutely. So tell us about yourself. You've got a very what you're doing right now is really interesting as the chief strategy and marketing officer of good one house. So what... good one house? Let's talk about that first. Good One house is a nonprofit faith based senior living and Healthcare Services Organization and if I unpack that for the audience, it's to say that we serve older adults, sixty two and up, and we also do that in our communities, senior living retirement communities, we do that in other retirement communities and we do that in individual homes where there are older adults that choose to age in place, and we do that across the National Capital Region in the Washington DC market. And the scale is kind of what like, how many people are you serving and how long have you been doing this and all that kind of stuff. So the organization was founded in one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven and at the time we had one senior living community which we open in Alexandria, Virginia, and it was the first of its kind in Virginia at the time, known as a continuing care retirement community, or CEC our s for short, and what that means is that older adults can move into the community and independent living and as their needs change over time they never have to leave the camp this to transition to another level of living that can better meet their needs. So it may be that at some point they need some assistance with just activities of daily living, a little bit of assistance with bathing or with their medication management. They can move it. It what's called assisted living. If they experience cognitive decline, they may need special memory support and we have memory support areas is on our campuses. And then finally, if they need more full timecare, often known as skilled nursing, they can move into one of our healthcare centers. And so all these levels of living exist on one campus. So the older adults can truly transition that never leave that community, never leave their friends and staff that know them now in one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven, that's awesome. So from a contextual point of view, right, how do you guys fit or partner? Otherwise don't fit, don't partner, as the case maybe with something like a ARP. So there are some wonderful national associations and state associations and a a ARP is certainly one of them. We tend to be resources for each other. There are resource because their expertise is really serving older adults as individuals and we're resource and that we actually bring them into our communities. And we care for them till the end of their days or we serve them in their homes or are in other senior living communities that don't have some of the healthcare services that we provide. Don't we interact with IT AARP in terms of a resource sharing and then we have state associations and national...

...associations that directly represent providers in senior living and work. We're known as a provider. So you're almost like I used to be on the board of an organization called living water, which is there are a lot of organizations of all types raising money on the water issue, but none of them are actually really drilling water wells and and living water is. That is really the resource right that, it's the it's the fulfillment house for all of those water pledges and turning that into actual on the ground well drilling right. So whether it's individual organizations or the UN, different parts of the UN, or different other governments or whatever, right, that's what that that's what living water does. So they're sort of the back office or the fulfillment right for a lot of these other organizations and it sounds like there is a similar relationship in terms of the value that's being passed back and forth between you guys and some of these other organizations like a ARP. Is that right? Well, it a little bit on value, because the marketer in me is starting to emerge and say that in the time that I was able to support a lot of different clients working at Hillton strategies, everyone said, no, we're really in the relationship business, we're not in the transaction business, and I understand that marketers want to have that sentiment and it's a wonderful sentiment. Get to know your customer serve them based on your needs. What I've learned in the field of senior living in healthcare services is that it's probably the most unique feel and the most relational of all that exist. Why do I say that? Because when older adults come into any of our retirement communities, whether it's a good one house, incorporated community or any other senior the community, or whether they choose us to be there at home partner, they want to age in place. We're with them until the end of their days. We will help coordinate care in those moments when they are least able to do so for themselves and there is a vulnerability and an intimacy to this. It is extraordinary and it's different even from the healthcare profession because if you think about hospitals, goal of the hospital is to get someone home within three days. So it's a very acute, in intense pory of time and then it's over. When providers and senior living and see your living services come into the lives of an order at all, we're walking alongside them until the end of their days. That is about as relational as it gets. It's and and very you know, one of the things...

...we talked about a lot, not not, certainly not. My research actually started at Princeton University. But when people make commitments and make decisions that are rather momentous, they involve three things awareness, confidence and trust. And awareness is obviously what it is right. Everyone can understand what that is. Confidence and trusts are used interchangeably in conversation, but they're they're not the same thing at all. You know, the way I typically express it is that we all have worked with people who are incredibly good at what they do and you don't trust them at all. or or we all know really super awesome people right that you would just trust, totally right, but you know that they're not going to be any good in this particular job right, and that's the distinction. And so the more of the risk goes up, real or perceived, and the more the cost goes up, real or perceived, the more active confidence and trust become in the decisionmaking process. And so I could see in your situation where that is off the charts, and not just with the the older person, but with their family. You're absolutely right mark, and that's why we recognize that there are important influencers that contribute to confidence and contribute to trust. And who might those influencers be? Well, at a very macro level, our industry is very regulated and so government entities actually evaluate us and we can be a one star, not so good, or we can be a five star with cms, and so there are government entities which rate us. We, as an organization, even though we're nonprofit, good one has incorporated, chooses to be evaluated by the financial rating firms, and so we're rated by Fitch and they come in about every two years and they rate us because if an older adult is going to move into a senior living community or they're going to join there at home program, they do not want the risk that two and a half years from now this organization collapses financially or it goes through a fire sale and income new owners and we don't know who they are. So financial stability is one of the most important confidence builders for older adults when they make decisions about organizations to be alongside them and frankly, our customers are current customers are probably the most important voice in all because an older adult might come into one of our senior living communities and have a wonderful experience over a period of several months or several years, depending on their timeline for living in, with a sales counselor and really trust that sales counsel really believe that sales counselor knows what they're talking about, the confidence in their expertise.

At the end of the day, the sales counselor isn't a customer. Good one house our residents and are going house at home members of the customers, and so we actually lived it about a year and a half ago and instead of having the sales counselor be the first one to give a tour, we have residents that are the first ones to give a tour, and I'm going to tell you a very funny story which illustrates how sometimes we as marketers, we as communicators, we in sales, actually get it wrong. So we have one of our most wonderful residents give a tour and it was our first tour to a new prospect to one of our communities and tour seemed to go well and at the appointed time the sales counselor meets the resident and the prospect and says, how was it? Did you have an informative time? And the residents says, I want to let you know I started the tour in the story room in the sales counselor just sort of tries to refrain from saying the storage room is in the basement and they're big crates and bents and that's where residents can store their luggage and that is the last place that I would want to prospect to see because it's not attractive. And the prospect jumped in and said, and I'm so glad she started the tour there, because one of my biggest questions was is there storage for us? Is Their storage space? These council would never started the tour in the basement in storage. That was exactly what the prospect needed to hear totally. Yeah, I I can. Actually it's again, as the risk levels go up in decision, the under thee the unsexy parts, right, are typically the parts that people are most concerned about. So, like with proof, you know, there's the the analytics or real really super cool and very razzle dazzle and it's, you know, it's pretty awesome. But the you know, where we start is with the data, in the data mobilization process, because that's the part that everybody worries about, right, and so even though it's you're kind of like sitting there going, okay, this is really not exciting, right, it meets them where they are, right, and that's the most important thing. Data is critical and the challenge for so many organizations and hours as well, is the integration of all the data points that we have. So we have a firm that helps us with identifying the list for prospects. That is very, very, very macrotargeting across the national capital region. They have a set...

...of analytics, then we have a set of analytics from our website, then we have a set of analytics from sales force, which is our crm platform, and the challenge becomes how do you integrate these and the other data cumulation platforms to create a truly integrated dashboard that isn't just integrated in one place, but it allows me to follow customers through that journey and it allows me, the marketer, to say, okay, are the prospects that are widowed experiencing the journey differently than those that are at a couple relationship or a partnership? Are The prospects that are under seventy five experiencing a one way in the prospects that are over seventy five, or you pick the age taking that journey differently? And we're not yet there, but we were on that journey to be there. And then you throw in the other DAB point which we started measuring. If that prospect has a conversation with an existing customer, do they go to the next decision point more quickly than when the otherwise would have if they hadn't had that early conversation with an existing customer? No, it's, you know, one of the things that that I think a lot of people it's one of those things where people have an epiphany on it because they haven't thought about it at all and then all of a sudden it goes right. But if we look at the velocity with which people commit to something, it is really if there is a single summary data point or KPI, it's that right, because it's sums up the fact that they did make a decision. It sums up the fact that it gives you a sense of how confident they were and how much trust they have. If they also made a bigger decision than they thought they were going to make, that's also in there as well, right, and so that that kind of that velocity thing is is really, really, really key. It's the you know, a lot of marketers tend to think about the top of the funnel, but the lowhanging fruit, particularly in stuff of like what we're talking about, whether it's literally your area or other areas that involve a high confidence, high trust kind of decision journey, that the lowhanging fruit is at the bottom of the funnel. It's around velocity. Velocity of commitment is a wonderful concept and we probably don't talk about it often enough. One of the other things that I would suggest mark and it's really relevant to any area for which the unknown can happen tomorrow and if you don't have a plan B. You are truly scrambling, and so we seek... affirm decisions, at whatever velocity they're made, and at each new decision point we're seeking to provide a bit more of information to say, okay, that's a good decision. Now here's some more decision making. That's before you. What do I mean by that? They're are the older adults which come to know our organization or any other senior living organization, and they'll take tours and they'll meet your sales counselors, they'll understand the financial plans and this okay, we think we're going to make the move in an eighteen months. We want a little more time, we need to put our house on the market, we need to d clutter. It'll be about eighteen months and we'll affirm that decision and then we'll say, Ay, in the event something would happen in those eighteen months. One of you has a fall, you're not able to live on your own anymore. What is your plan? And that's where I think marketers have an opportunity, is to talk about what's your plan be? Most people focus on their plan a and think that there is no price for not having a plan B and in fact, as a former colleague of ours used to say quite often, what's the price of doing nothing? And you need to play out the scenarios of what's the price of doing nothing. And I want to give him credit. That was Josh Reynolds. Yeah, right, that sounds like Josh totally. Hey, Josh, you got some weird time in. Yeah, I know it's you're exactly right. I mean the the you know, again and kind of more in the marketing s space. But you know, there are a lot of marketers, particularly in be tob that were that we're using multituch attribution as a way of kind of sort of understanding what was going on with their investments, and they and they had loaded so much into that and so many expectations into that that when apple and Google started really substantially messing with third party data access right and those, those approaches completely just I mean got hammered far more than a lot of people are willing to talk about right now. They they're all scurrying for a plan B right now. So you're absolutely right about that. So let's let's talk about what value looks like through the eyes of your customer. Like what are they really how would they define it? At the end of the day, customer... so singular a word and in the field of senior living, in healthcare services, we have many customers right now. We span two generations, and let me put that in context. The third generation would be the greatest generation and and there are not many of the greatest generation left their individuals that are in their their mid S and above. And that generation, in terms of size cohort, was sixty four million, born out of the depression, born out of World War II, a high sense of duty. Then you have the silent generation, by contrast, forty eight million. Silent generation grew up in the aftermath of World War II and was a little bit more relaxed. Have the opportunity to be a bit more relaxed than their their parents, for their instant uncles. And then you have the baby rumors, seventy seven million. And my definition for those customer cohorts is that the first two were need based. What is my need when I get older? To be cared for and in Maslow at the basic level, roof shelter, cleanliness, safety, kind of people around me. Baby boomers are want based. There are what Bas should I want? This this, this is this, and so our customer base has changed dramatically simply by virtue of that societal change, from the first two generations to the baby rumors. So what does the customer want? You know, an older customer is not asking about smart apartments. Someone that is approaching us in their early S, they're not asking about smart apartments. If they're in their S, they want to know what our smart apartments look like. So very different customer and therefore me, customers plural in the biggest sense of the word, and that's that's one is how do they view value? And then we also as an organization, because we are a business, we must match that up with how does the Organization you value? And it's viewed through our mission and fulfilling our mission. It's also view through being a good stward of financial resources, in the assets we have, in ensuring that we serve those we serve today with excellence in all we do and that we are laying the groundwork for being able to serve older adults in the future with excellence in all that we do. So customer macro plural, and then balancing that with how the organization use value. So, given that, what sort...

...of risk do you find that you have to run or consider an order to meet your customers where they are? That is a fantastic question and it's, frankly, one that we probably talked about every day, because a customer is going to have expectations about the ambiance, the environment, the programming, the services provided, the quality of the talent, the innovative nature, just as I mention smart apartments, and we can miss it aiming too higher too well, we can invest more than we needed to or we can under invest and we're no longer seen as relevant by the marketplace. So we tend to aim for above the middle. There are some organizations which talk about the bleeding edge of innovation or value delivery or the leading edge. Our view is we'd like to be on on the leading edge in terms of value, and I tried to answer that question generally about the word value and how we seek to serve the value underneath that mark. There are lots of surveys on how our current customers are defining value, how well we're serving them and how our perspective customers define value, and your kind of constantly in balance of holding the present well while you're aiming for the future. So that would also to me. That would imply that you are cycling this fairly quickly. Right, so you're you're mitigating risk in the immediate short term by kind of aiming above the middle, but you're constantly redefining what the just above the middle is, yes, as as opposed to looking at just above the middle and not thinking about it again for five years. Right. So you're really doing a lot of RECALC if you will, in order to stay relevant at while at the same time mitigating the risk of overinvesting or underinvesting. Right, you're quite accurate that it is a constant, iterative recount, and that's in part because the customers constantly changing and it's in part because the market is constantly changing. And Margaret defined in two ways. One all of the different alternatives, products and services that exist, but then also new competitors that are in our market. There there are new senior living opportunities that are opening up every day and private equity recognizes that there're seventy seven million baby boomers and there are not enough places for them to age in this country, and so private equity has come into this field in a very big way and they'll continue to do so for I think we can...

...anticipate this for easily and ex five to ten years. Yeah, yeah, that is actually such a profound truth, right, because a lot of not just marketers but business people, right when they're thinking about what it is that they're doing, they're thinking about, okay, this is this is what we're proposing to do, these of these some specific business goals. What they're not really including in that calculation is what is going on out there in the market place and what are all these head winds and tailwinds that could change the game for us that we do not control and we will never control. Right. And so one of the things that our customers, a proof, saw a lot of in two thousand and twenty, because not only were things changing fast, but it was a lot of volatility. And so the stuff that they were doing for a while and into two thousand and twenty was staying the same, but the context in the marketplace was changing so fast and so much that all of a sudden stuff that had been working great forever almost stopped working and other things that they had been doing that they did, you know, they kind of did to fill in a crack in the program and that you know, they weren't all that super used about, suddenly became the really super high performers, right, and people were having to really recalibrate and use, use proof in this case, to do that. And it was the speed of that recalt, that consistent recalt, as opposed to waiting six months or a year to recalt again, that that really help them mitigate their risk. And that's is exactly what you're talking about in a completely different example, but it's the it's the same thing. Mark, I can imagine that, with proof powering the analytics for your customers, they were able, in a very immediate timeline, to understand what did their customers all of a sudden value on March first that they weren't thinking about on January first of two thousand and twenty. And the way I can translate that to our world is that we have never featured our HVAC systems and the presence of personal protective equipment in our communities in any of our marketing literature. And you could be certain that as a March one two thousand and twenty, we were communicating to our residence, to their families, to our good one house at all members, to our prospects. We have great AH BAC systems that filter the air. And let us tell you about the PPE that we have always on hand in our organization and that...

...our staff and our residents are able to use today, as this pandemic was bursting on the sea and I joked about it. I said in a million years I never thought I'd talked about the HVAC system in market. M Now, you're right, I mean that goes so one of our customers is Johnson controls. They've been very outspoken. That's why I feel comfortable saying this. And one of the things that they did they sell hback commercial h Bac, right, really heavy duty big deals, right, and so they're in the business. And yet, you know, they were sort of preaching to the converted before March, one of two thousand and twenty, right, and then all of a sudden they became hugely relevant, right, in a way that no one could have foreseen, you know, because, I mean, let's be honest me, each fact isn't particular. Commercial h fact is not exactly the sexiest thing in the whole life world, right, and it's one of those things where it only becomes noticeable to you when it's broken right when you're not getting air conditioning or heating right. And so the fact that all of a sudden they their advanced filtration and all this kind of stuff, it just completely transformed their go to market in ways that, again, it was all Tailwin for them. It was all goodness for them, but it was but six months earlier they could never foreseen it. Ever. So from one of the things that we talked about with with almost every single guest is on. Our last question is this, how do you see yourself? Right? So each of us is also a creator of value across many different areas of life. You know, our family are communities, causes that we care about. Whatever it is right. And one of the main reasons why I ask this question is that it tends to reveal, and there's not a it's not right or wrong. It just tends to reveal whether a person is, their idea of value is more lasting and long term or whether it's short term, short cycle kind of thing. Right. So talk to me a little bit here at the end about how where, how you think about this for yourself. It's a very rich question. I'm grateful for it and it's important to context that my parents dad is no longer living. Mom still is. They were born in one thousand nine hundred and twenty five. So they grew up as children during the depression and then my father and his brother and my mother's brothers and brother in law's all went off to World War II. So over the time my parents are twenty years old they've lived in two of them, all tumultuous moments challenging them as in American history, in world history. And so I am a product of that generation and the way I think about personal value,...

...and I'm going to say value very humbly, is a quote from Dietrich von Hoffer, and Bon Hoffer said the ultimate question of a thinking man is how will the next generation live? And so I've been blessed to have parents that that really lived that example and taught my brothers and me how to with that example. And so when I go into an organization, you know I'm thinking about, yes, how do we serve with excellence those we serve today and how do we ensure that when tomorrow comes we will have done our part for the next generation? It's the modhoffer quote. For me. The ultimate question of a thinking man is how the next generation up. Okay, so this actually so. This is now bringing out the hidden history nerd in me. Okay, so I've got it. Since you have this direct experience, I really want to ask you this question. You think about all the Americans who went overseason World War One, right, and and, for that matter, all the Europeans that fought in that war as well. What happened after that was they essentially went on a decade long party, right, and they were kind of thought of as the lost generation. How true that is is another story, but that's how they were kind of grouped. And then you have the your parents and people like them, right, who went through a very similar you know really. I mean by the time, as you said, about time they were twenty, they've been through a lot and nobody would have, at one level anyway, nobody would have begrudged them an attitude that said, man, I've just passed through hell and now I just kind of want to have fun for a while, right. And yet they didn't do that and start in contrast to a lot of the people who were in the first war. What do you think might have been the difference there? You, you have hit upon a fascinating conversation which, you know, I want to say, okay, let's go have tea or let's go to the glass of wine and and talk about this. I think that we had more of an American commonality by the time World War Two hit. What do I mean by that? My father's ancestors report and came from Switzerland and Ireland. My mother's ancestors were poor and they came from England and Germany and the the melting pot was still melting in the early part of the twenty century and by the time you hit post World War II, that melting pot had been through something together and that was called the depression. World War II was not a would one excuse me, was more about Europe, in feuding kingdoms in Europe. The depression was about us, and so I think there's also that difference that it was a shared experience. So they went into World War Two and came out of World War Two with a tremendous bond, which you know, I...

I'm sad to say, I think the last experience we had like that in this country was not eleven lindsay's. This has been such a great conversation. You know, one of the things I love about doing this is that the the conversations on each one of these podcasts always goes in a direction that probably nobody necessarily anticipated, and it's one of those things that is, I think, the hallmark of something that people really want to listen to. So Lindsay is one of those people that connects readily with folks, so she's on Linkedin all that kind of stuff. If you reach out to her and say hey, I heard John Marks Podcast, I'm sure she'd love to talk to you and we'll see you again next week. The sooner you can optimize your marketing spend, the quicker you can start delivering clear, measurable value to Your Business. That's exactly where business GPS from. Proof analytics can help learn more at proof analytics DOT AI. You've been listening to accelerating value, where raw conversations about the journey to business impact help you weather the storm ahead. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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