In the midst of a nationwide workforce shortage, great people are a precious resource. This is especially true in an industry like disability support, where the talent shortage has been biting for years before the pandemic. When resources are stretched, it’s up to executive teams to find ways to enhance the customer experience without increasing the burden on team members, protecting people from burn-out.
The question is, how do you do that without compromising service delivery? To find out, GoodHuman ran its second annual Customer Trends and Values Report. By uncovering what matters most to your customers, we have identified three key things NDIS providers can do today to enhance the customer experience and service quality efficiently, without adding more workload to busy team members.
1. Focus on your strengths to deliver more of what your customers want
Does your disability support organisation offer focused, highly specialised services? Or are you trying to be everything to everyone, assisting as many people as possible? If your answer is the latter, you could be stretching resources thinner than they need to be.
Narrowing the focus of your organisation doesn’t mean shrinking your business, in fact the opposite can be true. Research shows that people are willing to pay more for specialist services and to providers with experience with their specific situation (and although you’re running a non-profit organisation, you want it to remain non-loss too!).
But the best reason to consider specialisation is simply because it’s what your customers want.
When we asked your customers what mattered to them most, specialisation and expertise in specific support needs was ranked in their top three priorities. Despite being the highest priority for many respondents, 62% of respondents agreed that it is hard to find organisations skilled in their specific support needs.
The bottom line: Not only can specialisation create operational efficiencies, it’s also more likely to satisfy your customers and attract people who will benefit most from your expertise.
Want the full picture? Discover insights and actionable points on how to create operational efficiencies through specialisation in the Customer Trends and Values Report.
2. Reduce the burden on your customer service teams by increasing transparency
In 2021, our research found that the internet replaced a referral from a GP/Allied Health provider as the top resource for finding a support organisation (increasing by 33% from 2020). With face-to-face appointments harder to get, referrals went down by 27% and were more relied on by primary carers/legal guardians (24%) than NDIS participants (just 16%).
While using internet research may seem like an efficient way for people to find you, it can also add to confusion and frustration experienced by customers. Three-quarters of NDIS participants and legal guardians have difficulties in finding the right support organisation (75%) and wish the process of accessing support services were simpler (73%), up from 67% in 2020.
This is because the scenario usually plays out like this. People spend hours online researching and trying to find the right NDIS provider. They either call or email an enquiry to a support organisation. Customers are then left waiting while overwhelmed team members work through the large backlog of enquiries, only to be told that there is a lengthy waitlist and services can’t be accessed for several months (or at all). In some cases, the actual service offering differs from what was listed on the website or NDIS listing, leaving customers with a poor experience.
This is a prime opportunity to work smarter, not harder. Instead of hiring more customer service professionals, there is a simple solution that will reduce your backlog: transparency.
Customers told us that the best experience is when a support organisation is upfront about what they did and didn’t do, while setting realistic expectations around availability and wait times.
By being upfront and transparent on your website and customer communication channels about what services you offer and a realistic picture of your waitlist times, you can start the experience positively and avoid wasting the time of both customers and team members.
Need more information? Get the checklist for improving customer communications in the Customer Trends and Values Report.
3. Outsource manual work to purpose-built software for NDIS providers
GoodHuman’s survey revealed that customers would like to see technology being used by NDIS providers to improve their support experience, such as simplifying bookings, communication, and invoicing. The bonus for NDIS providers is that these tools can also reduce administrative workload, giving team members more time to focus on customer support.
However, using tech to address these tasks in isolation is not an efficient solution. If you start throwing together an NDIS rostering tool, NDIS CRM, new invoicing software, communications tools — suddenly you’re racking up apps and creating work for team members by having to ensure that information is consistent across all systems.
This is where organisations need purpose-built software for NDIS providers. The right platform should support your entire workforce, ensuring that admin work is not just minimised, but also kept with back-of-house teams (not falling to frontline workers, who would much rather be supporting your customers).
WISE Employment is a great example of an NDIS provider who is using technology to work with incredible efficiency. After partnering with GoodHuman, WISE Employment reduced their admin time by 99%, transforming their half-day invoicing process to around three minutes. The platform also helps frontline workers to share information with one another, helping to provide a consistency of service when operations are disrupted or staff are furloughed due to ever-evolving pandemic restrictions.
“Where GoodHuman is really helping is collecting all the information about our customers and putting it in one place. It’s easily accessible across the entire customer journey, so people don’t need to repeat their story to us again and again. We have multidisciplinary teams across OT and employment services, so a central point of information means they can easily jump in and help a customer with their different goals”.
— Leesa Miller, Chief Financial Officer, WISE Employment
How NDIS providers can optimise for success in 2022
With rising demand and a workforce that is struggling to keep up, it’s critical for leaders within the disability support sector to look at efficiencies that can enhance the customer experience and service quality.
To discover clear, practical solutions to deliver what your customers value the most, download GoodHuman’s Customer Trends and Values Report or talk to our team to find out what GoodHuman could help you achieve at your disability support organisation.