Driving Adoption

By on Nov 12, 2019 in News, People

For senior living providers, collecting payments online reduces staff workload and increases cash flow. For senior living residents and their family members, it saves time and eliminates hassle. A win-win all around.

So why is it then that so few residents pay online?

At Validus Senior Living, the finance team understood the value of online payments, and they knew residents and their loved ones would appreciate the convenience once they got on board. They just needed a push in the right direction first.

Validus Senior Living offers residences across the spectrum of care: independent living, assisted living and memory care. They have 15 current communities throughout the Southeast, and they plan on developing two to three new properties per year. Getting their residents to pay online would streamline finances as the organization continued to grow.

Validus finance staff had already offered ACH as a payment option, but adoption was low. To top it off, staff had to enter a resident or family member’s bank details manually to get them in the system, which took extra time and risked errors.

So Validus turned to RENTCafé Senior Living for self-service online payments and launched a variety of initiatives to make it the popular choice for bill pay. The results were clear: They achieved an average 60% adoption rate for online payments across their communities!

How’d they pull it off? Here’s what Lindsey Hacker, chief financial officer at Validus, revealed:

Offer a discount to current residents

Old habits are hard to change, but a simple incentive can work wonders as motivation. Validus ran a promotion for existing residents, asking them to sign up for online payments. In turn, they would get a discount on their bill.

Though incentives like these may seem unaffordable for senior living providers, you have to factor in what a paper-based, manual system costs you. When you crunch the numbers, you’ll see the savings. “We’ve reduced our costs of printing the bills, opening the mail and checks getting lost in the mail,” said Lindsey.

Make it part of your move-in policy

When in Rome, right? If your community is pushing online payments, set new residents up on day one. Many people already pay other bills online, so why not senior living? It’s simply another positive, convenient service that you provide to help your residents. Validus makes it a requirement for newcomers when they step through the door, with a few understandable exceptions for memory care communities.

Run internal competitions for staff

The people best able to convince residents and their loved ones are those who spend the most time with them. “We actually found that the caregivers were the ones who had the most success getting family members to sign up, because they’re the ones interacting with the families on a day-to-day basis,” said Lindsey.

Driven by this insight, Validus launched an internal contest across their communities to see who could get the highest adoption rate, inviting every team member to participate. The victorious community shot past the average, managing to get 80% of their residents on automatic ACH! As a thank-you to the winners, Validus threw a party for the community staff.

Create quick links to the resident portal

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. At Validus, staff would repeatedly get questions like “Where do I go to pay my bills?” So Lindsey and her team took the simple approach and put a big link at the top of the Validus homepage that says Pay Your Bill. “The more transparent we are, the less questions they have,” said Lindsey. “It takes a lot of the workload off of us.” Residents and family members now have an easy way to get into the RENTCafé Senior Living portal, no bookmarks needed.

Put resident bill statements online

Paper records can make it difficult for residents to keep track of their own costs over time. So when Validus began encouraging online payments, residents and their family members appreciated the extra visibility. “The biggest feature they like is being able to go online and see their statements and a history of what they’ve paid in the past,” said Lindsey.

The benefits of online statements extend to the back office too. “It takes a lot of time off your plate answering billing questions or making collection phone calls to families,” said Lindsey. She estimates that it cut office phone calls by 20%!

Inspired by Validus’ success with online payments? Get in touch to learn more about how RENTCafé Senior Living can help improve your own cash flow. We also recommend checking out this video interview with Breck Austin, VP at Clearwater Living, to hear how they use online portals to transform senior living.