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Connecting in new ways

Online tools make it easy to learn more about Charlestown

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May 3rd, 2017
Charlestown resident Marcella Peters (center) and her goddaughter Beryle Downs (left) talk about their live chat experience at a sales and marketing meeting.

Charlestown resident Marcella Peters (center) and her goddaughter Beryle Downs (left) talk about their live chat experience at a sales and marketing meeting.

In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message: “What hath God wrought?” from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to his assistant Alfred Vail in Baltimore, Md. 

Technology has come a long way over the last 173 years and significantly changed the way we communicate. Today, two-thirds of Americans own smartphones and 78% have a social media profile through networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

A 2016 survey by Pew Research Center found that technology use is also on the rise with seniors, with more than half of all online adults 65 and older (62%) now using Facebook, a 14-point increase from the 48% who reported doing so in 2015. 

Charlestown, an Erickson Living community in Baltimore County has tapped into the social media market with its own Facebook page. The page makes researching retirement options easier than ever and gives prospective residents an inside look at life at the community. 

“Our Facebook page is a great resource for people to learn what it’s like to live at Charlestown,” says Sales Counselor Molly Fricker. “We feature human interest stories of the people who live here, share photos, and our in-house television station posts videos from around the community. If there are any events open to the public, we will also list them on the Facebook page.”

Residents, prospective residents, employees, family members, local officials, and industry partners regularly chime in on the conversations with likes, shares, and comments.

User friendly 

Charlestown’s user-friendly website is also a great tool, enabling visitors to take virtual tours, see video testimonials, and explore interactive floor plans. A live chat button lets you “talk” with a retirement expert with just one click.

“Unlike a decade ago, our customers today can access information about Charlestown anytime from anywhere,” says Fricker. “Charlestown’s website is designed to be easy to use and provides detailed information for people who are looking to find out more about the community.”

When you visit Charlestown’s website, the live chat button pops up on your screen after 60 seconds. It allows you to instantly connect with an expert or minimize the box and explore on your own.  

“The live chat button is a great tool for people who aren’t necessarily ready to sit down with one of our sales counselors but still want to research their options,” says Courtney Edwards, online sales and marketing associate at Charlestown. “You can ask questions to determine whether or not you want to look further into the community. It allows us to meet our customers where they are.” 

According to Edwards, the live chat feature is gaining popularity with an average of 40 to 60 live chat requests each day. 

“It’s a convenient, no-pressure way to request a brochure, set up an appointment, or just chat with me to get answers to your questions,” says Edwards.

Instant connection

Charlestown resident Marcella Peter’s first contact with Charlestown was through live chat when her goddaughter Beryle Downs scheduled an appointment for her in early 2016. 

“I was living in a townhome in Annapolis, and I knew about Charlestown from advertisements and through friends who had moved there. So when I thought of retirement communities, Charlestown always came to mind,” says Marcella. “My goddaughter helped me research a number of different places, but I told her I always wanted to move to Charlestown—let’s take a look there. So she went online and used the live chat to set up an appointment for us to visit the community.” 

Within just a few months of that appointment,  Marcella was already preparing to call the Catonsville community home. 

“I never felt like, ‘Gee, I wonder if I made the right decision.’ I had made up my mind this was where I wanted to be,” says Marcella. “Charlestown gives me the flexibility and freedom to be able to do the things I want while I’m still young enough to enjoy them without all of the responsibilities of my house.”  

After she settled into her new apartment, Marcella and Beryle had the opportunity to meet Edwards in person when they were invited to talk about their experience with live chat at an annual Erickson Living sales and marketing meeting. 

“It was really a nice to finally meet Mrs. Peters and her goddaughter in person. They were both so nice,” says Edwards. “I’m glad she decided to make Charlestown her home.”  

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