Each year on the first Tuesday in October, customer experience professionals around the world celebrate #CXDay and recognize the people and companies that make great customer experiences happen. It’s an opportunity to recognize great customer work, especially in 2020—a year like no other! Companies had to be agile and many had to pivot, some, like Brookdale, even changed their business model overnight. Lack of product availability and personal financial uncertainty have impacted shopping behavior. In fact, 75% of U.S. consumers have tried new shopping behaviors since COVID-19.*
The pandemic has been very challenging for many industries, including senior living. At Brookdale, our associates had to pivot quickly and they continue to adjust to rapidly changing conditions brought on by the pandemic. We are considered an essential service, and residents and families continue to depend on services from Brookdale associates, which have included delivering meals, reopening dining rooms, helping residents stay virtually connected to loved ones and adapting resident engagement activities to meet social distancing guidelines. Our teams have done all of this while keeping our cleaning and infection control protocols up to date while the pandemic evolves. Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and monitoring residents and associates for COVID-19 symptoms became part of our daily lives. Our residents and associates pivoted to virtual visits, window visits, and leveraged technology in ways we had never imagined. Creative ways to keep residents engaged included car parades and virtual poetry challenges. COVID-19 brought challenges but also some silver linings. Thousands of new residents have joined the Brookdale family during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is a privilege to be there for them during their moment of need. Despite numerous challenges, Brookdale associates are ready to serve and to enrich the lives of our residents. At Brookdale, our associates are part of the customer experience team showcasing the Brookdale Experience: Say “Yes,” Say “Thank You,” and Ask “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Whether our associates are serving residents, patients, families or each other, every day and every night they enrich the lives of others—our customers. It is our mission and culture—pandemic or not.
Another part of Brookdale’s Customer Experience program is feedback.Feedback comes into our corporate and community teams through various channels that include surveys, social media, Resident and Family Connection telephone line, and the National Advisory Council (NAC) comprised of independent living residents. We are a culture built on feedback—not just for the sake of asking for it, but because we act on it. And we learn from it. Without feedback, we don’t know what we are doing well and what we can do better.This is especially true during and after the pandemic, which is certain to have an impact on how people feel about a wide variety of topics. It is important to stay on top of that and understand how residents’ and patients’ feelings, needs and expectations might have changed. And great ideas come from feedback! One suggestion that came from the NAC during COVID-19 was to create a door hanger to notify associates if a resident needed anything—snacks, games, puzzles, newspaper, etc. We took that idea and created it for all our communities.
From celebrating a special birthday to keeping spirits up during the pandemic to helping during a wildfire or hurricane, Brookdale associates go above and beyond for others to create memorable experiences and stories that are told over and over. So thank you to all of our associates for your commitment, hard work, and passion for helping others!
(*source: McKinsey: Consumer sentiment and behavior continue to reflect the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis; July 8, 2020).