“I would have picked up another case if I knew I had a caregiver,” said the home care agency coordinator. Kit has been working in the industry for more than 15 years. She knows the ins and outs of the home care agency. Then there was I, who understands phone technology because I have been dealing with the phone for close to 15 years. The problem is clear, how can we find caregivers on the fly or in a short period of time.

Kit is not the owner of the company so she never looks at the problem from a business perspective. Of course, we can hire a recruiter to find a caregiver faster. Another option would be to increase caregiver’s hourly rate by an extra $1. I can guarantee you that with an increase of $1 for an HHA certified caregiver, you will have more than enough caregiver. Kit knows that $1 extra per hour makes a huge difference, but never asked herself why the business owner never increased the hourly rate or even asked herself what is Return On Investment (ROI) for a caregiver.

Computers solve repetitive problems, repeatedly

On-call Ma tackles this problem from the perspective of the business owner. That is, how can I increase my ROI? That is how can we increase my profit per case while keeping my operation cost the same or lower. This is where technology plays a big role. In my post – Computer Vs. CEO, give you some idea of what a computer is good vs. a human employee.

From my previous post, we know computers are good at doing repetitive tasks. In our case, are the tasks to find caregivers repetitive? Can a computer process this repetitive task? The answer is yes. In fact, there is a framework that can help to automate these tasks. In our case, the business process tasks. Automating business processes has been around for many years so it is something not new.

As I listen to Kit explain her process of finding a caregiver, we fall into many issues. If the problem was easy to solve then there would not be a problem. Each task has many rules and certain rules conflict with other rules. It is as if we are in an infinite loop. To make it worse, when we are introduced with another coordinator, their tasks and rules are different. For example, Kit’s would find all the caregivers within 10-mile radio using the CRM. Another coordinator may happen to know who is free to work. The difference is that Kit is working for a big caregiver agency and the other coordinator is working for a small agency. Now we know the problem really exists with the bigger company while in the process of solving the problem. Wonderful!


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Since the start of COVID-19 quarantine, I have not gone for a haircut. As a result, my wife told me “You’ll be more attractive if you do something about your hair, Manny.” My career is all about solving problems for customers so they can run their business. In my mind, I am thinking about taking my chances and getting a haircut. I could knock out two birds with one stone – make myself so-called “attractive” and look professional when I visit customers. After giving some thoughts, I decided to solve my hair situation using hair gel instead.

Problem Styling

Many business owners go through a similar process to determine what direction to proceed to solve their problems – fix permanently (haircut) or patch (hair gel). As a voice engineer, my job is to provide all their options. I’ll describe the outcome in a way that makes sense to them. This also means to explain why certain services cost as well.

For example, one of my colleagues told his client that “you do not have to pay me for the visit for this time as a courtesy, as long as you come by my office for a coffee. It can be for a few seconds if you like”. The client responds, “That’s very generous, especially since you are far away.” Of course, the client is a business owner himself.  He realizes why my colleague is willing to waive a fee. If my colleague goes himself, as a patch-up this one time instead of dispatching a technician, he saves money, such as gas and employee time to drive to the client site.

As a voice engineer, my job is to explain this to the clients, in a way they understand. I let them know the advantages of patch-up work vs. a permanent solution. As an owner of a business, it is their job to pick the path.

It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with patch-up work. I may be scared of getting a haircut because of COVID-19, now.  However, my mindset is to put off the haircut for a little while. This way, the barbershop has more time to prepare for customers in more effective ways.  Permanent or patch.

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