It’s pretty obvious Support Coordinators are critical to your organisation’s success. They assist Participants to spend their funds and organise the connection with providers. DSC’s friend and gun Support Coordinator, Sam Paior from The Growing Space enlightens us on how to make the most of the relationship with these people who matter.
Let me begin by telling you what Support Coordinators DO NOT want from providers:
1. We don't want a stack of shiny brochures in the mail. We cannot forward them on or electronically file them without scanning, which we all know is a pain. So in reality, we just chuck them in a paper folder and never look at them again. But if you insist on emailing us a brochure then please make it a readable PDF with 12 point font or higher. No fancy cursive fonts or light grey text on a dark grey background. I should not need to tell you this, but all communications need to be accessible.
2. We don’t want to have a sales meeting with you, so please stop asking. We are all so wildly busy and just don't have the time. Moreover, we are only paid to deliver services to Participants. So time with you is time that we are not compensated for.
So, what DO we want?
We want an email that explains your services in a clear and thorough manner. In just the past week, my organisation, The Growing Space, has received marketing emails from providers that failed to include:
1. Location- PLEASE tell me where you work. Your mobile number leaves no clues and your unsolicited email could, for all I know, be from anywhere from Far North Queensland to Hobart. I also need to know your geographic catchment area- right down to local councils or regional areas that you operate in.
2. Qualifications and experience- I do not care if you have started a new physio business with an awesome logo, if you have just graduated I am going to want to know that you are working in an experienced team before I refer to you. And, by the way, "counsellor" is not a qualification unless you can back it up with registration evidence.
3. Service delivery- Are you office, home or car based? Will you come to Participants or do they need to come to you? If they need to come to you, then we need to know about the accessibility of your office. Is it on a main road? Is there accessible parking and accessible toilets? Do your toilets use stinky perfumes or have loud hand dryers? This information matters to people I work with.
4. Fees – What are your rates? Do you charge for travel? If so, how much?
5. Availability – If I called you today, how long before I could get an appointment?
6. Registration status – Are you NDIS Registered? If so, for what registration groups? Do you accept Self and Plan Managed Participants in conjunction or exclusively?
7. Contact details – I cannot tell you the number of times I get an email with no contact name or phone number. Also, if the email address is a Gmail account, that sets off massive alarms bells for me. If you are using Gmail as your work email address, I am probably going to assume that you do not have insurance either (that won’t always be right, but really guys, please get your own domain and a website– even just a simple placeholder page).
What do we love?
And last, but not least, what would make us go: “Oh My, I must refer loads of people today”?
1. An Easy English explanation of your services in an accessible format.
2. A copy of your service agreement that is less than 4 pages long, alongside an Easy English version.
3. A three-paragraph summary in the body of the email, signed with a real person's name.
4. An email greeting that includes my actual name and something that tells me you have looked at our website and understand our philosophy.
5. An honest description of your strengths. For example: “We focus on the needs of teens and young adults with intellectual disability”, or “Our team has been prescribing complex equipment to adults with physical disability for a combined 230 years” or “We pride ourselves on making connections for young parent carers." Whatever makes you get up in the morning – that's what we want to know.
Sam Paior runs a fabulous independent Support Coordination business in SA, The Growing Space. Their Facebook page includes a stacks of great NDIS info like this, designed to help families demystify this disability maze. If you're looking for a blog that manages to give you a cathartic release for NDIS stress and at the same time make you feel optimistic about its future, Sam's blog is the place to be.