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9 Questions to Ask as You Assess Potential Senior Living Technology Vendors

B2B technology buying cycles have increased over the years. And today, 78 percent of business buyers say they’re “more careful about spending money than before,” according to a recent Salesforce report. The same report went on to show that 73 percent of buyers feel that most sales interactions feel transactional.

So how do you spend money in the right places? How do you find the perfect partner? You ask questions. Here, we share nine questions that can help guide your senior living community’s technology buying process – and ensure you come away with a solution (and partner) that drives success.

Questions You Should Ask within Your Community

These five questions are for your community members – your enterprise team, your staff, your residents, and even your residents’ families. The purpose of these questions: finding the right technology fit.

Plenty of solutions may look good in theory. In practice, however, results can vary. Your goal here is to identify how technology might benefit the various aspects of your community experience.

#1: Which problems do we want this technology to solve?

This is perhaps the first and most foundational question. What do you need your technology to do?

Maybe you’re replacing a legacy engagement platform that didn’t offer enough integrations. Maybe you’re hoping to further streamline staff communications with an additional tool. Maybe you want to give families more visibility into your community with a new platform.

Whatever the reason, make sure you use it as your North Star in this process. (And make sure to tie your answer to other community goals.)

#2: What does our implementation plan look like?

The best technology in the world can’t overcome an inadequate implementation plan. If you want your tech investment to pay off, you need to make sure you have the right systems in place when it comes time to adopt it.

Note: your vendor should support you here. A technology implementation is, in many ways, a collaborative process. But the more prepared you are, the greater the odds your vendor will be able to add the exact value you need. For instance, a vendor might review your full training program and notice that you could also teach residents how to troubleshoot issues with the WiFi.

For a deeper dive into implementation and adoption plans, check out: 17 Best Practices for Implementing and Using Your Senior Living Technology: An Icon Roundup

#3: Do our residents actually want this technology?

Residents are becoming more and more invested in the senior living technology their communities assess. And because resident adoption plays such a crucial role in technology ROI, it’s important that you establish buy-in throughout your search process.

This is an area where resident tech committees can provide additional value. These groups don’t just help fellow residents use and understand tech; they can also help you identify your residents’ needs and preferences.

If residents don’t want a new virtual activities platform, for instance, it’s important to figure out why. It could be because they like the existing platform. But it might also be because they’re worried about learning a new one.

#4: Do we have the necessary technical systems to adopt this technology?

Before committing to a new solution, you have to make sure your existing infrastructure can support it. Evaluate your WiFi speeds. Check out the bandwidth. If you’re installing hardware, ask yourself: do we have enough ethernet ports?

Use this as an opportunity to assess your staff members’ tech-savviness, too. You don’t want to find out, after signing a contract, that your staff doesn’t understand the tech well enough to easily troubleshoot it or train residents on using it.

#5: How will this technology work with our existing stack?

Most senior living communities have some technology footprint, whether it’s a communication tool or calendar platform. If this sounds like you, make sure vendors’ solutions play well with your current tech. (Alternatively, if you’re planning to replace your existing systems with an all-in-one platform, think about what integrations you may want in the future.)

The goal here is to future-proof your senior living technology investment. The best system is an interoperable system.

Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Vendor(s)

These four questions are for your potential vendors to answer, and they largely focus on customer service. While customer support isn’t as easy to measure as, say, the specifications of smart voice devices, it’s just as (if not more) important. You need a partner. These questions can help you find out whether you’ll have one.

#6: Will we have a dedicated account manager?

Too many companies outsource all of your concerns to a rotating panel of third party representatives. This doesn’t just feel alienating; it also makes it harder for you to quickly get a much-needed answer.

A dedicated account manager helps prevent these headaches. You have a point person that you can reach if something’s awry – someone who knows you and your community on a personal level.

#7: What technology training resources do you offer?

If your potential vendor doesn’t offer how-to guides, technical one-pagers, best practices worksheets, or onsite training options, don’t work with them.

That’s blunt, but it’s true. When your vendor doesn’t demonstrate a vested interest in you getting the most out of their tech, they’re telling you they don’t care what happens after you adopt it. The right vendor will make sure every person who interacts with the technology has the training support they need.

#8: What would our first 30, 60, and 90 days look like with you?

This 30-60-90 framework is valuable for a couple reasons.

The first: it’s specific. There’s no way to answer this question with a series of platitudes. The second reason: it will immediately show you the thoroughness of your vendor’s planning – and what they’ll be checking in on as your community gets more familiar with the technology.

#9: How can you help our community achieve its goals?

Customer success isn’t just there to make sure your community knows how to use technology; it’s also there to help you improve your community. Your success is their success; and they’re invested in your community’s growth.

You might adopt an engagement platform because you want residents to participate in your programming more often. A true partner will look holistically at your community and identify ways you can use the technology to, for example, get more positive reviews and ultimately increase occupancy.

In other words, your vendor should be a technology supplier and a strategic partner.

Your Vendor Relationship Shouldn’t Feel Transactional

The ongoing relationship between a senior living community and a technology vendor is evidence of a business transaction. You sign a contract and your vendor renders their product and services.

It seems simple enough. And it often is that simple. But unfortunately there are many vendors who, once the ink has dried, effectively abandon their community partners.

In this case, the vendor demonstrates top-notch customer support in the buying cycle. They follow up regularly. They ask about your pets. They share helpful how-to guides. But, once you implement the technology, they vanish, returning only to upsell you on premium features.

That’s not a partnership. And it’s not the right way to do business. Your community deserves better. That’s why we offer white glove customer service at every stage of the partnership, from implementation to your first executive business review.Want to see the difference that a partnership makes for your technology investments? Reach out!

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