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BlogCommunity EngagementThe Newest Decision Maker in the Senior Living Technology Sales Cycle: Resident Tech Committees

The Newest Decision Maker in the Senior Living Technology Sales Cycle: Resident Tech Committees

Seventy-nine percent of senior living operators increased their technology budget in 2024.

This budgetary growth means that more communities will be having more conversations with potential vendors. But there’s a stakeholder that’s absent from a lot of these conversations: the resident.

That’s where the resident tech committee can come in. The roles of a resident tech committee can vary, but the most common duties are to (A) educate residents on using their technology and (B) advocate on behalf of residents when it comes to adopting new technology.

When resident buy-in plays such a crucial role in technology ROI, though, we see a world where the resident tech committee isn’t an advocate; they’re an active participant in sales conversations.

Here, we spell out why resident tech committees should play a key role in technology decisions, how that benefits your community’s bottom line, and three ways you can help foster committee development.

Background: Older Adults Understand the Benefits and Basic How-To’s of Technology

Let’s finally dispel the myth that older adults don’t (or can’t) use technology. Even three years ago, more than 60 percent of older adults owned a smartphone. And that figure has been trending up for the past decade. (For reference, just 30 percent owned a smartphone in 2015.)

What’s more: older adults are a key audience demographic for wearable technology and for smart home tech solutions. They use these devices regularly.

You might recognize this. You might already have a technology adoption process that integrates pilot groups and ample opportunity for resident feedback. You might know how important it is to get resident buy-in.

But if resident involvement doesn’t happen before adopting a solution, you’re not adequately leveraging your residents’ strengths. Remember, residents are your community’s champions. They want you to succeed – and they have ideas that can make life better. That’s why, when residents can inform which events you put on your life enrichment calendar, engagement often grows.

Why should your approach to adopting resident technology be any different?

Yes, a resident tech committee serves the residents. But it’s a major asset for you, too. A resident tech committee can bridge the gaps between your tech implementation and ongoing tech training. It demystifies technology. It empowers older adults to connect with others in a different way.

Today, the resident tech committee is a strategic partner. And when that group can play such a pivotal role in technology adoption, it’s one that you should help foster. Here are three ways you can.

Tip #1: Designate a Home Base for the Tech Committee

Residents might be getting more comfortable with virtual meetings, but offering a physical “home base” accomplishes a few things:

  1. Underscores the tech committee’s value. One of the easiest ways to show you value something is by literally making space for it. The home base doesn’t even have to be solely designated for the resident tech committee, e.g., a flex room that you book for miscellaneous activities. But it should be a space that the tech committee can use on a regular basis.
  2. Makes accessibility a priority. Some residents may not know how to use certain video conference platforms. A meeting place gives every resident the opportunity to speak directly with committee members (and vice-versa).
  3. Encourages resident interactions. A physical space increases the odds that residents can spontaneously see each other and strike up conversations. Virtual and hybrid events are still a necessary inclusion in community life, but there’s also a clear value to in-person interactions.

Importantly, once your resident tech committee has a physical space they can use, other residents can easily schedule time to speak with them, whether about tech malfunctions or questions about your new engagement platform. This is one way the Royal Oaks’ tech committee (called “Tech-Connect”) delivers value to the community.

Tip #2: Schedule Regular Check-Ins with the Tech Committee

As residents start formalizing the tech committee’s role, you should schedule recurring meetings with the group.

While it’s true that your staff members are able to share insights from residents, and that reporting tools can measure resident sentiment on a number of topics, there’s nothing better than hearing takeaways directly from the source. Your tech committee works with residents to troubleshoot and explain countless technological issues. They have a unique insight into how residents are actually experiencing the technology in your community.

This engagement is especially valuable as you adopt new technology – or start looking for better options. Your resident tech committee can surface concerns that you didn’t even know about.

For example, your committee might bring up an interface issue with your engagement platform – it takes too many clicks for residents to access a page they want. You can use this information to inform any formal product specifications you’ve outlined ahead of sales calls. If a vendor, for example, offers a “click rule,” that could elevate them in your standings.

Tip #3: Invite Committee Members to Discovery Calls with Prospective Vendors

Better yet: don’t just use the tech committee’s insights to inform sales conversations; invite committee members to those conversations.

Are we suggesting you add every member of your 20-plus-person committee to every sales call? No. But if you want to get resident buy-in, inviting members of the tech committee to sales conversations is a great way to do it. It gives them a seat at the table and a chance to voice their needs within the context of what the vendors are offering.

And when usability is such a key factor to any successful senior living technology implementation, having the users in the room, vetting the solution, can save you a lot of time on follow-up calls.

There’s also an educational value to inviting your resident tech committee. Once your committee has a clear understanding of which platforms exist, they can make more informed requests, whether that’s about the three-click-rule, SSO capabilities, or mobile optimization.

This increased awareness can also power any independent research they do. Your tech committee could proactively find your community’s next tech partner.

Your Residents Aren’t Customers; They’re Stakeholders

You need to look after the needs and wants of your residents. There’s no question about that. They’re paying you for an iconic aging experience.

But your residents also want control over their lives. They want to have a say in the technology they use. So give them a voice. Help them form a resident tech committee. Make sure this committee can join conversations about the technology you adopt and use in your community.

Once again, when residents buy into the technology you adopt, the odds of it paying off skyrocket.For more information on resident tech committees, technology that pays for itself, and finding the right vendor, shoot us a message. Or book a demo!

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