There Is a Speed to Lead Crisis in Senior Living

Southwest Airlines had a massive failure this week. The reason? They might publicly tell you “weather” or “staffing problems” — both of which are true. But the real reason was revealed by one of their own; a Southwest pilot for 35 years said this failure was caused by “antiquated software systems” and “no automation.”

I know there is a lot that goes into that, and this is coming from just one pilot. But I also believe there is a strong comparison to make between the Southwest disaster and the terrible speed to lead data from senior living communities we gathered this year.

In case you missed it, here is a quick summary of what we did:

  • We mystery shopped 2,000+ websites (submitted an online form) to determine the average speed to lead, frequency of follow-up, and most often used follow-up channels (text, call, or email).

When we started getting the numbers back, we found a crisis:

  • Almost half of our inquiries were never responded to (49% to be exact).
  • The communities who did respond took an average of:
    • 48 hours to respond via email.
    • 83 hours to respond via text.
    • 80 hours to respond via call.

Almost half of our inquiries were never responded to (49% to be exact).

SeniorLivingPROS 2022 Mystery Shops

I hope you can see the crisis that is caused by “antiquated software systems” and “no automation.”

But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are three facts about improving your speed to lead.

Fact #1: Your speed to lead standard should be one minute.

We typically have said “five minutes or less” in the past, but the data shows that every minute that passes decreases your chances at connecting with the lead. So to give your sales team the best chances, your standard should be one minute.

It can be easy to think, “But could we possibly respond too quickly to a lead?” Nope. Studies show the faster you respond, the better odds you have. Period.

Fact #2: If your standard is one minute or less, you can’t put that standard on your sales team or sales person.

We need to be realistic about what a human being can do. You cannot hold your sales director / marketing director at the community to the one-minute standard with the many responsibilities, jobs, and tasks they have on their plate. What if they are giving a tour and a new lead hits their inbox? It may take them hours to get back to their desk to open that email.

Fact #3: In order to meet the one-minute standard for every lead, you must use automation.

Now that we’ve established the fact that one person will not be able to meet that standard, we must think about how to meet the speed to lead standard every time. And that can be done with automation.

Good automation will reach out to every new lead in one-minute or less with personalized messaging that doesn’t feel robotic.

Besides knowing that every lead will be responded to in one minute, another benefit of automation is that you can A/B test different messaging and determine what works the best for your community.

Fact #4: Good automation isn’t expensive.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how expensive this would be.

For $297 a month, we can help you:

  • Text and email every lead in one minute.
  • Put a tour calendar on your website with automated reminders.
  • Record organic testimonial videos from residents, their family members, and your staff.
  • Record a video for your new website video chat widget.

Fact #5: Your speed to lead problem can be fixed overnight.

It won’t take weeks to get this up and running on your website. With our tools, you can change your speed to lead with a few simple website code additions. We give the code to your web team, they add it to the website, and your speed to lead is fixed.


Many communities across the country are implementing tools to fix their speed to lead. And we think that within a couple of years, the communities that don’t fix their speed to lead will be bought out by those that do.

Southwest Airlines had a crisis because they did not prepare for the future. Don’t let your communities follow the same mistake.

Ready to solve your crisis? Click here to book a call.