Homecare Suppliers finds its audience

Sunday, November 30, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--Homecare Suppliers believes it has stumbled on a blockbuster idea to increase customer service and sales.

The online provider of stairlifts, ramps, walk-in tubs and ADLs, has launched a series of online videos that feature installation instructions and product demonstrations.

“It’s been a huge selling point,” said Pam Billings, director of operations. “Customers will call us and say, ‘You weren’t the most inexpensive place, but I came back to you because of the videos.’”

The free videos, created by Homecare, are accessible through the company’s Web site, buyastairlift.com. They range from two to 25 minutes and cover topics like “How to Measure for a Stair Lift.” As the company expands its product lines, it adds new videos geared toward specific products.

All but one of the company’s products, a stair lift, can be installed by the consumer, said Billings. For those who require additional help, manufacturers offer technical support via phone.

Two particular stair lift installation demos worked almost too well at one point, said Billings. Competitors were selling the lifts then sending their customers to Homecare’s site to view the demo.

“We were missing the mark there,” she said. “Now, we have just the initial introduction. After (our customer) purchases a lift, we’ll mail him a DVD or e-mail the link.”

The three-year-old family-owned company has seen its sales double each year to about $800,000 in revenues last year. Homecare Suppliers only accepts private pay and selects products based on affordability.

“If they can use their insurance, we don’t want to discourage that,” said Billings. “ADLs aren’t very lucrative for us. Many callers I will refer someplace cheaper, but it’s a talking point for us.”

With the baby boomer population exploding and end users becoming increasingly computer savvy, Billings expects the company to continue its growth.

“We just are in the right place at the right time,” she said.