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Guide to Live Chat
for Senior Living

Home | Guide to Live Chat for Senior Living

Everything You Need to Know Before You Hire a Live Chat Partner.

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So, you want to add live chat to your website, and you know you’ll need to partner with a great company in order to get that done. But are you ready to make that phone call yet?

This guide will take you through each aspect of what a successful live chat partnership looks like — from how live chat gives you an empathetic advantage, to the questions you should ask a prospective live chat partner.

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    Convert more website visits into tours

    Live chat for businesses has proven to be a great way to begin and build long-term relationships and convert prospects to clients. But, to meet the extremely personal needs of senior living communities and prospective residents, it has to excel in many ways. Before taking the leap to live chat, learn what live chat is and how it can be a marketing success for senior living communities and their prospects and families.

    Live Chat – What’s It All About?

    Live chat is taking the internet by storm for everything from sales to marketing to customer service. When done well, live chat is quick, easy to use, and effective at not only answering questions but building relationships. For senior living brands, live chat can deliver a personal experience that helps prospective residents and their families gain a first impression of a senior living community that makes them feel welcome and special.

    Find out how live chat can become an asset in our blog, “Live Chat: What It Is and Why It’s Important to Your Senior Living Brand,” which looks at:

    • What live chat is and how it works.
    • How live chat benefits senior living communities.
    • Actual live chat statistics from new inquiries to tours to move-ins.

    E is for Empathy

    First and foremost, senior living communities need to extend the human touch to prospective residents from the very first interaction. That means being empathetic, something only a live human can be. Statistics show most people would rather not leave their home for senior living so making empathy an integral part of live chat can make the difference between a brief conversation and a long-term connection.

    But how does a business go about incorporating real, authentic empathy into a live chat? It starts with people who are both trained and naturally kind, patient and, you guessed it, empathetic. They know that genuine empathy cannot be faked. They easily acknowledge and appreciate the stresses prospects are under and strive to answer questions and reassure each visitor that they will do their best to assist them with their senior living needs.

    Learn how empathy makes live chat work for senior living communities in our blog, “Why Senior Living Should Care about Empathetic Marketing,” which includes a look at ways empathetic marketing fails, as well as excellent examples of successful empathetic marketing campaigns.

    Article: Why Senior Living Should Care about Empathetic Marketing

    Human vs. AI

    Chatbots are all the rage and they are appropriate for businesses that do not require introspective and empathetic interaction. For senior living communities, however, chatbots may fall short of meeting the needs of prospective residents and their families simply because they are not real, caring human beings. Because the senior living industry takes pride in providing the highest level of personal care required by each resident, senior living communities should begin each relationship with live chat via a kind, understanding, and knowledgeable chat host.

    Considerations include:

    • Do prospective residents and their families want to talk to a bot about their most personal needs?
    • Can prospective residents and their families with specific, often complex, personal questions get the answers they need from a bot?
    • Will prospective residents and their families feel well cared for after conversing with a bot about future senior living needs?

    Live chat does set the bar high, so find out more about chatbots versus live chat in our blog, “To Chatbot or Not: How it Compares to Live Chat in Senior Living.

    Too Much Tech?

    Even as live chat is becoming the norm across websites in nearly every industry, there remains the argument that too much technology can be a threat to senior living communities. The truth is, however, it’s not technology, but how it’s used that can be a boon or bust in marketing to prospective new residents. Take a deeper look at technology for senior living communities in our blog, “Technology: Threat or Savior for the Senior Living Industry?

    As more seniors are using technology to help them remain at home and stay connected, it only makes sense that senior living communities should also put it to work for them and their residents, including:

    • Improving quality of life by helping residents install and use technology.
    • Increasing operational efficiency through personalized care options and passive monitoring.
    • Adding live chat to provide a friendly first impression and build trust.

    Live Chat – A Game Changer

    As the senior living industry rebounds from declining occupancy rates of the past, it’s never been more important that each community does everything possible to be inviting, engaging, and helpful. Live chat is one of the easiest and most productive ways to accomplish all three at once. From initial inquiries to tours to move-ins, live chat is proven to increase occupancy and to do it economically.

    For prospects live chat has the advantages of:

    • Immediate satisfaction – There’s no waiting on the phone or for a return email for knowledgeable answers to sensitive questions.
    • Inspiring confidence and trust — Few things are more important when choosing a new senior living community, but it has to start at the very first inquiry. Once confidence and trust are lost, they are very hard to recover.
    • Satisfied visitors — Live chat is highly preferred thus live chat satisfaction rates are over 90 percent, higher than phone, email, web forms, and social media. Live chat not only builds trust and confidence with prospects, but also keeps them engaged as they move along the journey from curious prospect to content resident.

    Find out how live chat helps increase senior living community occupancy in our blog, “How Live Chat Can Help You Bounce Back from Senior Living Declines.

    Live Chat as a Competitive Advantage

    Marketing is a moving target that can be hard to get – and keep – a handle on. But one thing about marketing that is consistent is just that, consistency. Known as “omnichannel marketing” it’s used by big brands like Disney, REI, and Walgreens to present the entire brand consistently and intuitively, enabling customers to easily navigate.

    Live chat is one of the competitive advantages in omnichannel marketing that can establish the brand from the first conversation as the one to trust, by providing a helpful and empathetic message that is consistent across the brand. Moreover, live chat provides senior living communities with the data and information to tailor their marketing efforts to meet the real needs of prospective residents and families.

    New to omnichannel marketing? Get the facts in our blog, “Stay Ahead of Senior Living Competition with Omnichannel Marketing.

    The Numbers
    Speak for Themselves

    When trying to assess how technology can serve an entire industry or a single business, it’s hard to beat statistics from reputable sources. In marketing, it’s what the consumer wants, needs, likes, and uses that matters most. So when it’s time to consider live chat as an option, take a look at live chat stats in our blog, “14 Ways Live Chat and Business Growth Go Hand-In-Hand,” to understand just how important live chat can be for senior living communities, including aspects like realtime availability, communication preferences (i.e., phone, email or live chat) and what other businesses are or are not doing.

    Here are a few of the many notable statistics:

    • “Per Inc., 44 percent of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person is one of the most important features a website can offer.”
    • “Forrester reports that the number of consumers who use live chat versus phone and email support has increased by more than 50 percent since 2012 and that 30 percent of customers now expect live chat on your website.”
    • “WhosOn states that 41 percent of consumers think a company that offers live chat on its website is more trustworthy.”

    Another angle on the numbers is how live chat can directly benefit senior living communities. Considering features like proactive engagement, optimum consumer experience, improved consumer understanding, and more, our blog, “The Top 6 Benefits of Live Chat for Senior Living,” breaks out all the ways senior living communities can better serve prospects, residents, and families through live chat.

    For example:

    • “ICMI reports that live chat can lead to a 40 percent increase in conversion rate and that website visitors who engage with your company via live chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors who don’t.”
    • “Kayako reports that 42 percent of businesses think consumers prefer phone support, yet 79 percent of companies who do offer live chat say it’s had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.”

    Increased Sales

    79% of companies report that live chat significantly increased sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

    Increased Conversions

    38% of consumers report a higher likelihood of conversion from a company that offers live chat.

    Live Chat Growth

    Live chat has grown by 325% during the past 5 years.

    Keeping Up with Trends

    Senior living, like all businesses, is influenced by trends that shape consumer perceptions, impact financial and staffing considerations, and force change. Staying on top of current and future trends is essential to short-and long-term planning and to crafting a marketing strategy that works seamlessly.

    To help understand today’s trends and how they could impact the future, our blog, “7 Trends That Could Change the Future of Senior Living,” takes a deep dive into:

    1) How Medicare Advantage changes will impact
    senior living communities.

    2) What the future looks like for mergers and acquisitions.

    3) Overcoming staffing problems.

    4) The “young senior” demographic.

    5) Managing third-party reputation and credibility sources.

    6) Data and marketing in the digital age.

    7) How technology impacts senior living.

    As we move slowly and cautiously through 2024 and adjust to our new normal, our blog, “Seeing 2024: Three Trends for Senior Living,” underscores three important trends and how they may help shape the future of the senior living industry.

    1) Staffing — The COVID-19 pandemic has turned plunged senior living communities into a pool of uncertainty regarding hiring and keeping dedicated staff. Although much remains to be seen about how the pandemic will impact staff, it may be time to consider alternative staffing models.

    2) Partnerships — Despite everything pandemic related, people keep getting older and their desires and expectations are changing, so partnerships are becoming a solution. By partnering, senior living communities can explore new options to entice seniors that may not have been possible before.

    3) Technology— As more seniors retire during the next decade, they won’t be leaving their technology behind. Seniors now in their 80s and 90s may never have been computer literate, while those upcoming won’t want to live without their screens. For senior living communities that are behind the tech curve, now is the time to prepare for those boomers who wrote the first software and lived the transition from typewriters to keyboards.

    Live Chat- It's Personal

    Senior living decisions are among the most emotional families will ever make so it’s no surprise that providing personal assistance in that process can only help. Since websites remain the main source of inquiry about senior living communities, having live chat available that provides empathetic yet knowledgeable assistance can be the key to improving conversions and ultimately move-in rates in assisted living facilities. No canned content or chatbots can achieve the connection necessary to take prospects through this emotional time while addressing the unique needs and circumstances of every prospect with understanding and professionalism. Make that first introduction the beginning of a long-term relationship and find out how in our blog, “How to Move Along Your Assisted Living Move-In Strategy.”

    Article: How to Move Along Your Assisted Living Move-In Strategy

    How to Choose a Live Chat Solution

    Once convinced live chat can truly maximize marketing and build business, knowing what to look for in a live chat brand can make the difference between success and failure. There are many things to consider.

    Start with the technical side of live chat which can be murky to the nontech savvy. Is the software easy to install? Can it be integrated with the systems CMS, email marketing, and other sales tools? Is it secure and in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)? All of these are not wish-list items but should be mandatory and immediately available in the live chat service of choice.

    Essential to seamless marketing is analytics. What information do reports and transcripts from live chats provide? Is it the information needed to best address the visitor’s needs and how does the system use those analytics to improve conversion rates and move-ins?

    From the outside looking in, features make a big difference in the quality of live chat. Consider features like the ability to route visitors to the appropriate host or staff member based on different needs such as demographic information, where they are in the buyer’s journey, and their specific housing needs.

    For a more concise best-of list of possible live chat features for senior living communities, take time to read our blog, “How to Choose a Live Chat Solution for Your Senior Living Brand,” before making the choice.

    Article: How to Choose a Live Chat Solution for Your Senior Living Brand

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