Lightning-Fast or Lagging Behind? The Impact of Lead Response Time on Home Care Agencies

Response to client leads takes way too long for most businesses, and for some they never even follow up. See how you can stand out!

A clock and other scheduling tools represent the need for a fast lead response time.

You already have several channels for lead generation, like phone calls and email, and you might even have a few targeted approaches set up, like online form-fills, marketing campaigns, gated content, referrals, and online chats.

Channels like these send home care leads directly to you—practically handing you potential clients. But are you forfeiting those leads? If you’re not following up in a timely manner, then you’re letting those potential clients slip by. That’s lost business.

Here’s how to optimize lead response time to maximize the chance of winning that sale.

What’s the ideal lead response time?

Conventional wisdom says five minutes. That means you need to be monitoring your incoming leads all day, every day—but you may have more wiggle room.

Responding within an hour makes you 7x more likely to get a decision-maker on the line, according to research published in the Harvard Business Review, yet only 37% of businesses respond within an hour. It gets worse: 23% of businesses never respond at all.

If you respond within an hour, you’re 60 times as likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker than companies that wait 24 hours or more.

According to Forbes, the average lead response time is 47 hours (the research in the Harvard Business Review found 42 hours) — that’s two days for one of your competitors to swoop in and scoop up your leads while they’re waiting for you to get in touch.

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes: You’re sitting in the hospital with a loved one who’s just had a stroke, looking at a discharge tomorrow. That means you need care arranged now. You don’t have 47 hours to wait. You don’t even have a full 24.

Why you need to respond to client leads quickly

So, why is it important to initiate a response within an hour?

  • Healthcare struggles with lead response times: Hubspot studied industry lead times and found that healthcare tends to be one of the slowest to reach out to potential clients. Your senior care agency can set the precedent and get to clients before the competition does.
  • The longer you wait, the more sales you lose: The adage is that the company that responds first gets the business. Of course, it’s slightly more complicated—there’s also the matter of customer service and availability—but if you don’t try, you’ll never have a chance.
  • Your reputation depends on it: Quickly following up on requests shows that you’re conscientious, proactive, and that you respect your clients’ needs and their time. Even if you don’t win them as a client, a quick response can make a good impression.

What happens when you don’t respond to senior care leads fast enough?

You lose the client—and future businesses as well

First and foremost, you forfeit that potential client. The longer you wait, the bigger the window of opportunity becomes for your competitors to swoop in and grab that client.

Here’s a simple exercise: Let’s say you need to get your car to a mechanic, and quickly—your battery is less than a year old, but the car won’t start. So, you call three mechanics in your area. One calls you back right away to schedule an appointment. The other two: Well, one waits two days to call you back, but by that time the first mechanic has already replaced your starter and you’re back on the road. And the third, you never hear from them again.

The next time you need a mechanic, which one will you call?

You damage your reputation

Not responding is also a matter of etiquette—radio silence will be seen as rude. Plus, it can land you bad Google reviews, turning others away before they even pick up the phone.

You don’t learn anything about your ideal clients

The more conversations you have with potential clients, the more you can learn about their needs, concerns, and questions. Even if you don’t close the sale, you can come away with valuable information about your client demographic.

How automation can shorten lead response time

It’s likely that you won’t be able to staff a 24-hour client services team to respond to incoming leads at all hours. But that doesn’t mean you have to entirely postpone an interaction with potential clients.

Marketing automation can help you quickly respond to clients at any time of day or night, and it can help you slide them smoothly into your sales funnel.

  • Make it easy for leads to reach you: Provide your contact information on your Google Business Profile, add a click-to-call button on your website, and offer a form for clients to provide you with their contact information. You might even try live text messaging or enabling Google Business Messages.
  • Get immediate notifications when a lead contacts you: No need to constantly check your email and voicemail. Marketing automation can notify you as soon as a lead reaches out.
  • Mark leads who have been contacted and those waiting on a response: Sort clients so you don’t duplicate outreach or miss potential clients.
  • Respond to clients even when your office is closed: When someone reaches out after hours, you can send them a friendly, automated response confirming that you’ve received their message and will be following up.
  • Serve clients a brief questionnaire to get more information: While they wait to hear back from you, your marketing automation platform can ask them some questions about their needs.
  • Use chatbots for basic interactions when you’re not in the office: AI-powered chatbots can answer basic questions for leads while they wait for a response.
  • Start their customer journey right away: Automation can insert leads directly into your sales funnel so you can start them on their customer journey as soon as they reach out.

3 tips for optimizing your lead response time and maximizing sales

  1. Use chatbots to interact with leads until a human can reach out: Just remember that chatbots aren’t a substitute for people, they’re a first line of contact when your client services team isn’t available right away.
  2. Let your clients choose how they want to be contacted: Ask potential clients for the best way to get in touch to increase the likelihood of engaging with your leads.
  3. Track your lead response time: Your automation platform can keep a record of response times so you can control the quality of your sales outreach. You might even learn that your optimal response window is different than the recommended one hour.

Home Care Marketings Pros' automation is here to improve your lead response time

As an agency, it's vital that you follow up promptly and professionally on leads. However, our CareFunnels service makes it easier by allowing you to immediately connect with potential clients and applicants using our automated text message follow-up solution and keep leads from slipping through the cracks while you get back to them. Find out more here!

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