Customer experience – are we there yet? Valuable insights from aged care mystery shoppers

Ever wondered what a mystery shopper would tell you about their experiences interacting with aged care services? We have. One can only wonder what it would be like if the system was foreign to you and you did not know what questions to ask. We know what to ask – we often even know who we need to speak to when to call, but it is not uncommon for us to spend about 5 – 10 mins on hold and department hopping. So, the topic of health care mystery shoppers has come up in our offices a time or two.

KPMG obviously asked themselves the same thing. They recently released a report on customer experience in the aged care sector and as part of this process they released mystery shoppers into various parts of the industry. Shoppers explored retirement living, home care, and residential care.

Interested in the results? Here are some of them:

80% of retirement living operators did not answer when called, and when customers left a message for a return call only 50% of these calls were actually returned1

That means 40% of interested buyers (who have found out the service and taken the time to call) are potentially lost BEFORE the first phone call. That is not a pretty sales funnel!

60% of home care service providers contacted did not disclose their current prices1

We wonder is that because pricing structures are so complex or because providers are worried about losing customers in the first phase of interactions based on the notion that customers are heavily price driven (i.e. we are not the cheapest so we are not going to tell you just yet)?

If it is the first – perhaps we need to apply a little more Einstein ‘any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex … it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction’. And if it’s the second, being cagey about pricing is unlikely to put us ahead of the game – if we are trying to build relationships with our customers and solve their problems we are on the journey of know, like, and trust. Not disclosing prices seems counterproductive to this journey – of course the how remains important.

80% of residential care enquiries resulted in a provider sending out an information pack and/or suggesting a site visit to answer customer questions1

Wow – whilst information packs and site visits are great extra resources to help a customer feel confident about what they are buying surely we need to be doing more than this. For example, if we were buying health insurance. We would look online, see what was being offered, think about our situation and what we needed and then we would call. Would the response be …. ‘that’s great your interested in our services let us send you out an information pack and then if you have any more questions book in a visit to our store and they will be able to answer all your questions’. We don’t think so. If they did that we would hang up the phone and that would be that – sales funnel exited! This experience is happening to a staggering 80% of potential customers. Our customers deserve better.

There is certainly a long way to go within the sector if we truly want to provide exceptional customer service.

How do you think your organisation really stacks up? Have you ever considered investing in your own mystery shoppers and getting a detailed report on your organisation’s customer experience? If you have and would like to explore this further, get in touch and find out more about our tailored made packages.

The full KPMG report is available here on their website



1  N. Doyle, L. Forsyth, D. Johnson and K. Owens, ‘Customer experience in the ageing sector, starting the journey to wow’, KPMG, Sydney, 2017.