Finding and maintaining an ongoing relationship with NDIS participants are two very different things. To find participants, especially as a new business it is important to get the word out there so that people know they can come to you for your provider support. However, marketing alone won’t have participants opting to return for your services. If you want participants to come back, you need to create a safe and trusting environment with their best interests at the heart of your business.
Step 1: Find Participants
The initial success of any business relies on how you market your business. With marketing shifting more and more into the online platform - website content and social media being at the forefront of this - service providers need to develop a strong marketing plan to ensure that they are reaching the participants who may need their support and services.
There are many NDIS participants on Facebook and Instagram who use these social platforms as a resource for finding information, supports and services that they need. You can use social platforms to share information while showcasing your knowledge of the industry or the services that you provide. However, it is important to understand the line between information sharing and pushing your services through intense promotion. Avoid “the hard sell” on social platforms, and instead be a source of information from a genuine place of wanting to share your expertise and knowledge with the community.
Step 2: Service Agreements
If you are a NDIS registered service provider, then you should already be using service agreements as this is something the NDIS requires for registered providers. However, if you are an unregistered provider, you may or may not be using service agreements. Service agreements can ensure that communication is clear and that both the provider and the NDIS participant are on the same page regarding the services being provided, the cost of those services, and any expectations on the part of the provider or participant. It’s much easier to be able to refer back to an agreed understanding that has been signed off by both parties if any challenges in the relationship or communication arise.
It is a good idea to have a general service agreement template on hand that can be adapted to sit in line with the participant’s support needs.
For more information on why service agreements are worth it, check out our provider specific blog on this topic post here.
Step 3: Build Strong Relationships
When a participant is searching for a service provider, they are likely to consider:
What experience and skills do you have?
Will you be a good addition to their current support team (and communicate with their other support providers/family where necessary)?
Are you personable, do you listen to their needs, and tailor your supports if necessary?
What reviews do you have? Or do they know someone who has used your service?
If a participant seeks out your services it is important to listen to their needs, tailor your service approach if needed and to clearly outline the supports you can provide for them. The most important aspect of any relationship is communication. So, if you and the participant decide to work together ensure that you are communicating openly with them, and that they feel comfortable to communicate openly with you too.
And it’s not just participants who you should consider building a strong relationship with – Plan Managers and Support Coordinators can be a great resource. If they know that you provide quality services and put the needs of your participants first, then they are more likely to refer you if a participant asks for guidance on choosing a particular provider.
Step 4: Reputation and word of mouth
While marketing can bring participants to your door, building a strong relationship with participants, Plan Managers, and Support Coordinators based on genuine care, communication and mutual trust will see that participants continue to use your services in an ongoing capacity and recommend you to others within the community. After all, word of mouth really is the best way to showcase your supports and services.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.