Market research

By Leon A Smith
March 1, 2013

It’s now a couple of months since the white smoke above the United Synagogue offices in Finchley has begun to evaporate and fade and we now look forward with great optimism to Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis taking up the role of Chief Rabbi later this year. Lord Sacks will be a hard act to follow as indeed was Lord Jakobovits before him ….etc…etc.

It is extremely difficult to refrain from making a comparison from one personality to another for the obvious reason that any leader, be they religious, political or managerial, will bring their own style, strengths and personality to the role. Whilst there must of course be a formal job description for all of these roles, there would be a natural tendency for people to play to their ownstrengths and particular areas of interest. Indeed, this is the case throughout society. It applies to managers such as Chief Executives of charities! Trustees, school governors, etc….etc.

It is interesting to measure to what extent management style impacts upon the nature of an organisation. Indeed, can a body as amorphous as a charity have a personality and if so what is that personality like? It is very difficult for me to determine the personality of my own charity as I am clearly far too close to it. Gathering feedback therefore from customers and/or potential customers is very important to us.

In my blog last week I spoke about the importance of demographic research - and general market research is just as important. Why do clients choose to come to one of our two homes – either Nightingale House or Hammerson House? It’s always interesting to understand what made them reach that decision. Choosing a care home can be a major “purchase”. Not as big as buying a house, but bigger than buying a car. Making the right or wrong decision can have huge ramifications which of course are by no means all financial. Indeed, how does one put a value on the quality of life that might be enjoyed in one home as compared to another?

It is interesting for me running these homes to understand not only why people choose to come here but also why people choose not to come here. We are therefore shortly going to be doing some further research with people that have made enquiries about coming into one of our homes but for whatever reason have decided not to do so.

This information is invaluable as is the demographic research which I referred to last week in helping us to plan our services for the future. We are aware that it is likely that increasingly in the future people are going to be more informed and sophisticated in making their choices, particularly with so much information being available on the Internet – indeed, an infinite amount of information !

There is talk of the possible establishment of a Trip Advisor type websites where people can rate their own experiences of care, in much the same way as in a restaurant or hotel. We all know how valuable and/or otherwise such websites can be!

One thing is sure, however, we must never be complacent. I am proud of the standards of care which we offer and the range of facilities in our homes. We need to strive to be the best and information plays a very important part in equipping us to do so. Equally important of course is our ability to attract quality staff to our organisation. Whilst unemployment is still far too high, there is still great competition amongst care homes and health providers generally for quality staff. That’s another reason we need to make sure that we are offering excellent care in order that we can have a justifiably strong reputation to attract such quality staff who want to work for a quality organisation.

Our philosophy is “you have to be special to work in our homes!”


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