Occupancy is and always will be a top priority for senior living communities across the country. More often than not, an older adult and their family members' initial introduction into educating themselves about their options comes from the internet - in particular, a community's website. In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Patrick Leonard sits down with Evan Friedkin, Head of Business Development at Roobrik.
Roobrik’s mission is to help older adults and their families make informed decisions about the future. Learn how The Roobrik Engagement Platform combines decision science, user-friendly technology and a heavy dose of compassion to quickly match care needs with senior care options.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome to RaisingTech, a podcast about all things, technology and senior living. Today, we're mixing it up a little bit and giving our primary host Amber Bardon, a little break today. I hope to fill those shoes as best as I can. My name's Patrick Leonard, Chief Growth Officer at Parasol Alliance, the full service IT partner, exclusively serving senior living communities. We're excited to have Evan Friedkin from Roobrik joining us. Evan, welcome to the show.Evan:
Thanks for having me Patrick.Patrick:
I'm really excited about our conversation today as, as we were talking before the show, you know, as someone who grew up in the senior living industry on the operator side and as a family member of many who have gone through senior living and experienced it firsthand, I'm particularly excited about our session today because it's really where it all starts for prospective resident and their family members and their initial journey into exploring senior living options. But before I get ahead of myself and get too excited here, Evan , can you introduce yourself a little bit to the audience and, and tell us a little bit about how and why Roobrik was founded?Evan:
Yeah. Happy to do that. And , so my name, my name is Evan. I am the head of business development here at Roobrik. And , so you can kind of think of Roobrik as a way to help folks who have to undergo highly complex decisions in a non pressured way to be able to be able to make those decisions much more efficiently, where the idea came from is when you think about a decision that is highly complex, usually medical, usually the search pattern is you go to whoever you think is gonna have the answer. First, when you go online, if you don't find the answers, your next step is to go to Google and you begin frantically searching phrases that you might think that you need to be thinking about. And Google's not really the friend of somebody who has to make this type of decision or any complex decision, because there is so much information that it's very easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole. And then you get information overload, you get paralysis by analysis and you just ultimately get stuck. And basically the founding of Roobrik was two founders who were found themselves in this exact situation. One was looking for a place for her mom and realized that there were not a whole lot of resources out there. And then the other founder actually had a preemie and realized that also there were a lot of decisions that needed to be made, but there was really no good one stop shop to get those answers, unless you wanted to talk to somebody directly. So they kind of thought to themselves and they said, well, what if there was a tool that asked you the questions that you should be thinking about? And then based on the responses to those questions, give you the resources that you need. And so that's kind of where it started. And fast forward to today, we've been in the senior living industry for about six, seven years. And that's what we've been doing. So helping older adults and family members get more educated on what is senior living and what options make the most sense for them.Patrick:
That's awesome. Thanks for that intro. And it's , it's funny, you mentioned that the Google rabbit hole, which it could be a lot of fun when you're researching certain things, but not when you're looking for senior living options for y our loved one or for yourself. I never really thought about it like that. That's pretty good.Evan:
Yeah. We're all familiar with the WebMD effect.Patrick:
Especially if it's medical, so I , I don't even need to describe it, everybody just chuckles because they know exactly what it is.Patrick:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I love it. So one of the things that I think is really interesting about, about rubric is how you actually tie in the decision science model. And before I go and butcher that concept I'd love for you to kind of describe what does that mean? And can you tell us a little bit more about what that whole concept and why you guys incorporate that into your solution?Evan:
Yeah. So this concept of decision science or motivational interviewing any decision you make, there is a process that you go through. There is a research phase, there's an understanding phase. There is you need to kind of first understand where are we today and then begin to understand kind of what's important to me what's important in this decision. And then we need to understand what are the different options that I have available. And once we're able to paint that picture and begin asking those questions, we all kind of know the best way to educate somebody is through really good questions. You can't tell somebody into their way of taking a next step. And so the importance behind this decision science is how do we take that person who is in this, in their own world and frantically trying to figure out what do we do? It's taking them, getting them to a point where they can just step back, go through these series of questions without feeling like they have to talk to somebody, but walking through that process that they need to be going through to make them feel comfortable, confident, educated, and motivated to be able to, to take that next step by the end of it. And so we really need to focus in on, are we asking the right questions with the right tone in the right way to be able to educate them as they go through the process?Patrick:
Yeah, it's really interesting. It's really a much more helpful approach than kind of force feeding certain information down their throat that they're not necessarily looking for or need. That's just gonna confuse them and frustrate them more at that point in the process. So given, and I completely agree like the questions you ask, particularly at that stage in their journey are critical. And can make or break the rest of their journey a nd process in interaction with the tool or with that community. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you all come up with the questions that you're asking and what drives those decisions?Evan:
Yeah. So the, the questions kind of first start off on the personalization side of things. We want to make sure that everything that we're asking them is personalized. That is the first thing that this audience is looking for. They're gonna , they're gonna say, or they're gonna be thinking things like, are they talking to me? And so early on in the, in our question flow, a lot of it is personalization and understanding where are things today? Then we, then we start moving into what is their background in the research. So have they looked other places? Have they looked into this before trying to understand what level of education do they have around their options. And then we move into those values and preferences. So what's, what's important to them. What is it that they're looking for in their next, in their next step? Then we move into, okay, what type of things may they potentially need help with? Or what do they need out of wherever they end up, we'll hit that. And then we move into timeline. So how shortly out are you looking? We get into a little bit of finances. So is financials gonna be a barrier for them or do they feel pretty good about it? And so everything that we're asking through this flow, we're also layering in that education. So we want them to understand why are we asking this? Because they are kind of slow to trust in this instance at the time that they're looking, they feel like everywhere they go, somebody's trying to sell them something. And so we're trying to, and o ftentimes the questions we ask it may actually be the first time they've ever even thought of that question. And so we try to layer in that education a nd say, H ey, here's why we're asking. Here's why it's important. These are some things to think about. And so ultimately, as you're layering in that education, it's building confidence. So it becomes easier for them to envision. What does that next step look like? So we're trying to layer one thing on top of another to really build up that confidence.Patrick:
Yeah. That's awesome. And you know, really they're the ultimate benefactor of your tool when you think about it , the perspective residents and their family members in the way that you guys are able to, you know, have this undercoding of extreme empathy throughout the process is super critical for them. And , and I know it's much appreciated. So on the flip side of that, how do you if I'm a senior living community, you know, and I'm implementing this and putting this on my website for prospective residents or family members to interact with, you know, you have to have a healthy balance of, and you kind of alluded to it earlier, empathizing with their situation, educating, but eventually you're hoping to help make some progress, right? You're hoping to advance them along in their decision making progress, whatever that decision may be, of course. But how , how do you kind of tow that line? Right? That's a tough feat, especially when people are kind of at their most vulnerable state, they may not know where to turn and don't always know who to trust. You touched on a little bit. Can you expand on that from kind of a operator perspective, how you hope to provide that value to them?Evan:
Yeah. So I think if we take a step back and we think about who the audience is. Let's say I'm an operator and I'm, I'm on the marketing team and it's my job to get as many high quality leads and I'm putting it in air quotes, but ultimately those leads are families over to the sales team so that they can get them the help they need. We need to be looking at the website and thinking, okay, what is it that my audience is looking for? There's gonna be a subset of people that are looking just to get in touch. They want to pick up the phone and call, or they want to fill out a contact form and they want to take that next step because they're already there mentally, but then there's this whole other audience. And we're watching this audience grow year over year. And that is, they're a little bit slower to trust. They're not quite ready to talk to a salesperson I'm guilty of this. I will do everything in my power to avoid talking to a salesperson until it is the last possible thing that I need to do to get me to the next step. So I kind of fall into this category and I , and historically I think , I think most of the audience that senior living served in the past didn't necessarily fall into that audience as much because it was a needs based decision. Now we're seeing that the shift to more of a wants based decision to get into senior living. And that means the buyer is changing. It's no longer the adult child or adult daughter looking for mom as much as it is the older adult themself . And the preconceived notion is that the older adult themself is not very technically savvy. That's not, that's not the case. I look at my grandparents and they are texting they're on social media. They know how to work technology. And so it's, it's shifting up, who are we talking to and shifting up the messaging in ways for them to engage? I think the biggest part of this is how do we let this audience, this specific group feel as though they are in control. So giving them options, do they want to fill out a contact form? Do they want to call somebody, or do you wanna do your own research? Which majority of them are in that phase where they wanna do their own research. And so it's, it's again, giving up the reins, letting them take control and being able to move through this process at their own pace, but with you guiding them. And I think that's the most important part is how can I have all these different tools that live on my website to meet people where they are and move them through that process. And so I think that's ultimately what, what marketers should be thinking about as they're going through this.Patrick:
That's great. So right now in senior living, and I hate to even say it, because it's, you know, talked about so much, you think of two main issues out there, right? Obviously the staffing crisis and then occupancy is and always will be a concern regardless of COVID . So building off of the conversation we just had, where do you see your clients using this tool, if at all, to push the needle on occupancy or supplement other sales and marketing efforts that they may have at the community. People are always throwing different solutions to solve this problem while also making sure they're taking care of their residents. But at the end of the day, operators do need to stay full in order to provide that care and service. So how is your tool kind of complimenting these other tools out there to solve the sales and marketing? I won't call it a problem, but to, to provide that solution and that opportunity.Evan:
Yeah. I love the question because it's not a linear process for a consumer or for this , the sales process is not a straight line it's , I don't, I wouldn't even wanna try to draw a shape because it's probably all over the place and what's great. So when we think about it, you can kind of think of it as this prospect or this consumer is on a highway and they're trying to get from point a to point B and they , they don't fully know exactly what point B is. They just know point B is gonna be to help alleviate some of their concerns. And along that road or along that path, there are different on ramps and off ramps that they're gonna take, they might be derailed, and they say, you know what? This is too overwhelming. I no longer , I don't want to go through this process anymore. They might just get off that highway, but they're still involved in to the salesperson. They're still, they're still there. They're gonna come back. Something is going to happen. That gets them back on the highway and begin getting closer to point B again. And so there are all these different initiatives and tactics that are, that are gonna be happening behind the scenes. So first database I'm sure sales teams have a database of leads that maybe haven't heard from the sales team in a while . They might, they may be getting some messaging from a drip campaign or something along those lines, but they may have been marked lost. They may have been disqualified for whatever reason, but there is a large database that is not getting the communication that they probably could. And I know there's a lot of talk around how do we mine the database for gold. I've seen a lot of webinars recently, I think with that subject or with that headline. And one of the things I always recommend to our clients is even though they might not have been a good fit for you a year ago, things change . We all know that. So why wouldn't you send a , send an email to all of them say, Hey, recently, things may have changed. You might be in the position where you're reconsidering your options. We've got this great tool to help you figure out what different options are available for you. Give 'em a hyperlink over to your ver to their version of the Roobrik assessment. Send it over. If you get 3% of them, re-engaging that is 3% that you already owned. You didn't have to pay somebody for you. Didn't need to pay to drive new web traffic to it. You just send it out and they re-engage - great. So that's one way, another way is they all have social media because they're trying to be a resource for the communities that they serve. This is another great tool that is that they can share with, Hey, we've got this great tool to help figure out what level of care either you might be a good fit, or you might know somebody that may benefit from it, feel free to share it. And so we'll see it being sent that way. We've seen it in news stories, through local news outlets being used for specific communities, but primarily it's from the website. And it's understanding that there are gonna be those people that want to just engage immediately. And then there's the ones that are kind of in anonymous browsing mode. Those are , that's kind of where we're ending, where we're really focused is how do we get more leads that are already on the website over to the sales team and from a downstream perspective, to get back to the conversion story that you had , or that you had brought up of, how does this impact occupancy? What we're finding is that audience that previously went unengaged is actually moving in faster than the ones that have already identified that senior living is what they want. So they're moving in a double, the rate of other digital leads and they've got they from what we're finding, have a 17% shorter sales cycle. So they're moving in faster.Patrick:
Wow. That's interesting. And I didn't even think about all the different use cases too. You know, obviously the website being the primary driver, but I love the creativity that communities are using to kind of reengage and get the assessment out there. So that's fantastic.Evan:
So can you talk to me, this all sounds incredible, right. And I just get excited thinking about it and the impact you can have on communities. Talk to me about practical implementation at the community level. Or corporate level, whatever it may be, who are you partnering with? What does that look like? You know, timeline, customization, adoption training. What does it look like from your perspective when you're partnering with the community? So our listeners can kind of understand on a real life basis.Evan:
Yeah . So we recently heard from a few, so we're typically partnering with the VPs of marketing on the corporate level. Whoever is kind of in charge of the website that may be partnering with their marketing agency, could be , partnering with, if they've got the CRM, we'll do some integrations there, but a great quote that I've heard from a new new client is I loved it. Cause at the end of the demo, you said it was easy, but I was not expecting it to be that easy. I think that kind of summed it up, basically timeline from the time that they say, Hey, let's do it. It takes three to four weeks. It sounds like a lot but 99% of that time is on our end. All we need from clients is logos. Where do you want the leads to go? So who do you want the leads to go to? And then what phone numbers do you wanna appear on the top? Right? We do the rest. Usually most of those things they have in a file, they just share it with us. We'll set up the integrations on our end. We'll make sure everything's created. We get on a 20 minute phone call to review it. Make sure it all looks good. Everything looks good. We give 'em the line of code and they're ready to go. We'll, we'll consult on kind of showing 'em where on the websites, we recommend it being placed. We'll create a bunch of different tracking links for them to use in different campaigns. So in those emails and social media paid advertising, things like that. Other than that, that's really it. It does not take a whole lot of time. And it is one of the fastest things that you can do to , to get up and running.Patrick:
I love it. Ease of implementation, very important, you know, with everything going on in the senior living community, all the different systems that they're working with. And that's that kind of segues actually into my, to my next thought or question for you, I guess, with any new technology implementation, two things I always hear come up first and foremost are integration and getting the data out of the system. So what types of systems does Roobrik integrate with at the community level? You have to go into specifics necessarily, but just the types of different systems and what types of useful analytics can be drawn from the tool itself.Evan:
Yeah . So we integrate with all the major CRMs. So making sure that the lead gets over to the sales team with the responses, to all of the questions throughout the assessment . So that's first and foremost, it's making sure that that family can get the help they need as quickly as possible. So get 'em over to the sales team. We'll also send them through an email, but all the major CRMs will do the integration with marketing automation. So if the HubSpot, the active demands, all the, kind of the major marketing automation platforms, which allow marketers to create campaigns based on specific responses to certain questions so that they can send custom content to only the people that need it and really be super focused in their messaging. Ultimately allowing more of these people to move through the pipeline much quicker. So those are the two major integrations from a data standpoint, we have a lot of it. So we're going to on a monthly basis, send over monthly reports that basically will show you not just how the people who opted in or became a sales qualified lead for the sales teams answered the questions. We're gonna show you how everybody who completed the assessment is answering the questions, whether they wanted to talk to your sales team or not, we'll do that on the individual community basis. So across the provider so that they can see trends that way. But we also have a lot of industry wide data. So we can talk about kind of in different geographies. How does the buyer change different care levels? What does that look like? So there's all these different trends that we have access to just based on the sheer volume of people completing our assessment. So those are, those are some of the major, key data areas that we can dig into with clients.Patrick:
I love it. That's super helpful. So what's next what's on the horizon for Roobrik. You guys have had quite the journey over the last six years. I think you said, you know, since being founded and obviously you can see the benefits for both, you know, the resident and family member perspective, as well as the senior living community operator perspective. Where you guys heading next?Evan:
Yeah . So we, within the past year, we released a new assessment, which is, is it the right time to downsize? Which gives us the ability to work with more active adult and more independent living focused communities. It's less of a care needs score and more of a readiness score. So that's in about, I'd say 200 communities at the moment, our core assessments is it time to get help? And is it the right time for senior living? Are in about 1200 communities across the country. And we are probably by the end of Q3, beginning of Q4, gonna roll out a memory care specific assessment for those memory care only communities who really want something to dig in and much more focused towards those family members who are experiencing or who are going through the process of dealing with a loved one who has dementia or Alzheimer's or other other memory care needs that is going to be very different than all of our others, because the process has to be different. It's it's not a wants based decision it's needs. And a lot of it is not identifying does my family member have dementia. They usually know at that point, it's actually identifying more of where are you in your it's. It's really more for the family member to go through, not necessarily for the person with dementia, which is what our other assessments are designed for. It's really just kind of acknowledging what are the mental mental burdens that you're dealing with and just, and helping them get through that and giving them that catalyst that they need to take the next step. So it's gonna be released . So back to your question on what's next, it's releasing new assessments to become even more specific to help those people who are in these times of crisis, make good decisions and finding ways to do that more efficiently. So I mentioned back to the previous question, which was data. We get to see trends on at such a large scale that we can test out changes in real time , we make a change. So we've got about 20,000 people completing our assessments every month. The reason I share that is because it allows us to test something and see almost immediately the impact that that test had. So it allows us to change the wording of questions, to change the resources that we provide and see does that ultimately get more people ready to talk to the sales teams. So it's gonna be probably for the next year, really leaning into increasing the efficiency of the tool and ultimately getting more people over to the resources that they need to, to get 'em to help that they need.Patrick:
I love it. Not only are you passing along and speaking to the data and analytics, you're passing along the communities themselves, but you're actually mining the data you're getting. From all of your users, taking those findings and incorporating it into your solutions and make 'em better. And, you know, with the initiatives you have through the next year that you mentioned with these additional assessments, you're taking a n already personalized solution and just p ersonalizing even more by doing these offsets for dementia memory care. T hat's really cool. I'm excited to see that.Evan:
Yeah, no completely. And I've got a story that I think, I think the audience would probably like to hear, and mainly because they can take this story and do things on their end to make their websites more efficient. So now this, this test was run in the Roobrik environment across our portfolio. So of the 20,000 completes we did, this is how we did this test. So we looked at, we had this question that came up and we know 40 or 20 to 40% of the people who complete our assessment are going to become a sales qualified lead. So of the 20,000, just take 20 to 40%. That's how many leads we send over every month to the communities. But then we realize , okay, there's 60, 80% that said, no, I'm not ready to talk to somebody, but they did just answer 23 questions about the topic of senior living. So they're there, we just haven't gotten them to the point where they're ready to have the conversation. And we were wondering, well , why, what is what's missing? And so we said, all right , well, let's run a post assessment survey where we surfaced a popup that said, Hey, notice you didn't wanna talk to somebody why? And we gave 'em a few different options, 81% said, because they didn't know what it cost and they didn't know how to pay for it. So we took that information and we changed the call to action on our results page. So a little background for people who have not seen our tool before they get to the results page, after they've completed all the, as , or all the questions, there is a question that comes up that says, Hey, would you like to talk to somebody at the community? If they say yes, or maybe the next question's a contact form . And then that's when we send the lead over to the sales teams, but people are still given the ability to say, no, I don't wanna talk to somebody yet . And so it was those people that we raised this question to on the back end , if they have opted in and become a sales qualified lead, there's a sidebar that would be kind of community specific resources. But for the ones that said, no, I don't wanna talk to somebody that sidebar is a contact form. And so that contact form used to say, Hey, do you wanna talk to somebody at XYZ, senior living? So what we did with the data that we gathered, so the 81% that said, no, I , I don't know what it costs , or I don't know how to pay for it. We changed that contact form language or the CTA to , would you like to receive pricing from somebody at XYZ, senior living? What ended up happening was quite surprising. It increased our opt-in rates by between nine and 12%. It was the single largest increase in lead flow from our tool. And all we did was change three words. So what I would have for your audience that are listening is it's not necessarily giving the pricing to them. It's actually kind of demystifying the path that is coming up and it's giving them a clear path to be able to get what it is that they're looking for. So we are not giving them pricing. We're just letting them know, Hey, if you , if you fill this out, you're gonna get the pricing. And then we let the sales team kind of run it from there. So what I would do with some of their contact forms on different pages is maybe change that to, Hey, would you like to get pricing for this floor plan or something along those lines to help more people kind of take that next step? So that's the test we did. And that was single largest change we've ever made. Just off of changing three words ,Patrick:
Three words, three words. That's amazing. It just shows you the power and impact of listening and mining the data and making decisions based on that data, opposed to having preconceived notions about what you think people want to be asked or want to hear. So that , I love that. Thanks for sharing that example. I think that's really powerful and it's a actionable takeaway our listeners can take today to start implementing. Well, this has been fun, man. I , I really appreciate you getting on the show with us. I think these are valuable takeaways for our listeners. Are there, are there any final thoughts or, or words of wisdom you'd have, I guess before we kind of part ways today?Evan:
Yeah. Well first thanks. Thanks for having me. It's always great to great to reconnect with you. And, and I've been a listener you guys podcast for a while now. And, and so, yeah, I think actionable takeaways that I, I want everybody to kind of run with is try to stay away from assumptions. I think most of the time, it's really easy to fall into a rhythm and assume, you know, who your audience is and know what your audience wants. I always come back to that story that I'm sure most have heard, which is that world war II war plane that would make it back. And they hired these, these data scientists to understand kind of how do we, how do we protect these war planes so that more of them make it back. And they were looking at the ones that landed and they noticed that all the wings had holes in them . And so immediately looking at the data that they had available to them was, okay, well, let's reinforce the wings , the data set , or the data scientists that were brought in were like, well, what about the ones that didn't make it home? And so the same, what they realized it was the fuselage that was getting hit and they didn't make it home. And that's actually what needed to be protected, not the ones with the wings. And so the reason I'm sharing the story is because I think a lot of times marketing teams will look at the ones who moved in and then build their marketing plan based on the success stories. But what about all the people that didn't move in? Who are they, what are they concerned about? How do we learn more about them and create our marketing plans and sales tactics to speak to those people? And so that is kind of the story that I , I want this industry to take away is let's keep focusing on the ones that do move in. I think that's great, but then there's this whole other audience that has previously been unengaged. And usually they're called bounces when you look at websites and, and they are more than a bounce, they are , that is a family that's on the website looking for resources. And now we just need to figure out who are they? What do they need to see to get them the help that they need? So that's the big takeaway I'd give to folks and do with it what they want.Patrick:
Awesome. Well, thanks for those final thoughts and words of wisdom for our listeners, Evan. Again, this was a lot of fun. I personally learned a lot. I know our listeners will as well. So listeners, thanks for tuning into this episode of RaisingTech. We'll see you next time with some more fresh technology insights for you . Make sure to follow us on social media and submit any topic, ideas or senior living technology trends you want to hear about in our website at parasolalliance . com. Take care.