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Call Center

For years blood centers have battled with never having enough inventory.  Then the industry had a surplus.  Now we find ourselves attempting to react to both problems, often in the same month!  How do we, as organizational leaders, create a strategy that is cost effective, flexible to our changing needs, and stable enough to keep us moving forward in the future?

Automated blood donations allow blood centers to collect the most essential components in that moment.  It really is the answer the blood donation industry has searched for.    While many blood centers leave the conversion of donors up to the collections staff at donor sites (which see very few positive results), there is a real opportunity in transporting that responsibility to the tele-recruitment staff.

Over the past 6 years, Incept has developed an automated tele-recruitment strategy with some of our largest clients.  We use a calling strategy that identifies the best time and best donors to achieve the highest impact which we constantly analyze and adjust.  Our recruitment team receives continuous education and development so that they have the tools needed to educate donors on the need and importance of specific donation types and prepares donors for a successful donation.

Using this methodology, Incept has seen dramatically successful results.  As a highlight, we will discuss the success of the campaign since February of 2015 around platelet donations for one of our clients below.

Platelet Donor Recruitment

New platelet donors have always been one of the hardest groups to recruit.  The donation process is longer and a bit more inconvenient for the donor, so when given the quicker opportunity of donating whole blood, most donors will jump at that option.  While none of us would pass up a blood donation of any kind, it is much more beneficial to blood centers and the patients in need to receive a platelet donation compared to a whole blood donation from a less compatible blood type.

In order to assist each blood center in optimizing their inventory based on today’s levels and tomorrow distribution needs, Incept built a strategic campaign for recruiting automated donors using the automation principles in the chart outlined below.  Based on inventory and need, what is offered by blood type could change – daily!

Results:

  • Incept has generated 50.87% of this client’s platelet collection goal.
  • Scheduling previous platelet donors for another platelet or platelet combo donation resulted in a front-end conversion rate of 92.34%.
  • By targeting A+ male donors for a platelet donation, Incept has successfully converted 83.52% of the donors spoken to.

What do these results really mean?  The right product, at the right time, and at a lower cost!

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Your tele-recruitment investment may be the most important financial decision you make this year.

In working with over 40 blood centers over the last 16 years, we’ve found that an optimized tele-recruitment strategy can:

  • Save money
  • Deliver the right product at the right time
  • Prevent critical appeals during difficult summer months

Join us on May 21st at 2:00 PM EST for a FREE webinar to learn ways to improve your collections at a lower cost this summer.

Please register for this webinar by filling out the form here.

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Many workplaces have a certain atmosphere, whether it be a family-oriented atmosphere, professional atmosphere, or both! Here at Incept, we are one gigantic family, and that is the exact reason why I love it here so much. When anyone has a birthday, an anniversary, or just does a phenomenal job on the phones, you know about it and you celebrate with them. More often than not, we even get Sam Falletta, the CEO of the company, to sign the birthday cards.

My particular department, which is the training department, is very much my second family. We always give each other surprise parties when it’s one of our birthdays, and it makes you feel very appreciated and welcome. Unfortunately, it isn’t always fun and games all the time. So when it’s time to be professional, we always step up to the plate and bring our A-game. Also, whenever someone has something going on in their life that is bringing them down, there is always more than one of us that will be there for them to confide in and get advice from when needed. And that goes for the rest of the company too. If someone needs to talk about something, or if you just don’t feel too chipper one day, there are plenty of people here to help cheer you up or just give you a shoulder to lean on.

All in all, this is the best job I’ve had in a while. The amount of support and appreciation that is here every day is phenomenal. Although, we can’t forget that you do make a pretty penny here as well. Those two items combined will make me stay here for quite some time.

What’s your favorite part about Incept’s atmosphere?

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On the new Conversational Quality process, one of the important indicators under conversational skills is personalizing the phone call. Personalizing every phone call is important, because it allows you to build a relationship that encourages the donor to donate again. To begin, personalizing a phone call is something that new Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) may struggle with, but there are several things you can add to your phone calls that help enhance the donor’s understanding of the blood bank or the importance of their blood donation to the community.

Personalizing Via Donation History

One of the key ways a CME can personalize a phone call is by looking in the donor’s profile to see how many times they have donated with the blood center in the past. One of the most common facts about donating blood is that every donation can save as many as three lives. When we look at the donor’s profile to see how many donations they have made with the blood center, we are then able to multiply those donations by three and tell the donor that they saved all of those lives with their donations. By telling the donor how many lives they have saved, we are painting a picture of how important their donations are, which will make them want to donate again.

Personalizing Via Rewards

Another way to personalize the phone call is by using the Donor Center’s rewards program to let the donor know how they are able to benefit from the rewards. Look at the donor’s profile, and see how many reward points they have. Then inform the donor about what they are eligible to receive with those points. These rewards are ways to entice donors to come and donate so that the blood center can ensure that the blood supply stays at a safe level thanks to repeat blood donos looking forward to earning rewards.

Personalizing Via Conversation

Not all blood centers have donor profiles to look at. When the blood centers don’t have profiles, it is more difficult to personalize a call. However, if the donor says something about their personal life, this is a great time to connect with them on a deeper level and have a conversation with the donor about their interests. Having a legitimate conversation with the donor makes it easier to ask them for the appointment and makes them more likely to agree to it.

There are many ways to personalize the phone call, but the three examples given above are very effective. Personalizing the phone call is important because it allows us to connect to the donor, and it helps us to inform them so that they are more likely to come in and donate again. Personalizing the call will ultimately benefit both the donor and our company, which is why it is important to always implement it in your phone calls.

How do you personalize your blood donor recruitment calls?

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While on the phones, it’s very easy to be distracted because there is a lot of multitasking that goes into being a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME). However, as a CME, one of your main jobs is to actively listen to what the donor is saying to you. You cannot have a productive conversation with the donor unless you listen to their side of the story. Without listening, you are not having a conversation; you are talking at the donor.

When the donor is speaking to you, it gives you a chance to use active listening to find the tone of their voice and recognize how they are feeling. By determining what tone they have with you, you are able to match it. If the donor is upset or angry, you want to sound calming; if the donor is bubbly and excited, you want to match their excitement. Oftentimes, people make the mistake of not matching the donor’s tone, and it can be a killer to the call. For instance, if a CME sounds too excited and shrill and the donor on the other end sounds sad, the donor would be more likely to hang up.

It is also important to use active listening to truly understand why the donor is either motivated or unmotivated to make a donation. Being a CME can be a difficult task at times because you are busy trying to be one step ahead of the donor. However, if you don’t listen to what the donor is telling you, the way you respond to them could give them a negative view of the donor center, and they might feel like you don’t really care about what they are saying. We want the donors to know that we care about them, so when they are explaining a situation to you, take a moment to truly listen to what they are saying so that you are able to converse with them and give them a genuine response.

Using active listening from the very beginning of a call may be difficult because being a CME means doing a lot of multitasking, but being a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) also means that we need to have productive conversations that drive meaningful results. Having a productive conversation means listening to the needs and concerns of our donors. If you do not use your active listening skills you could give the donors the wrong impression and, in turn, lose an appointment. So always take the time to pay attention!

How else do you use active listening skills in your blood donor recruitment calls?

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The changes facing the blood center industry are significant and are making executive roles more difficult than ever.

You are faced with many challenges, including:

  • Decreasing demand
  • Increased competition
  • Price pressures on every department
  • Patient blood management programs
  • Acquisitions
  • Personnel challenges

Over the last 16 years, Incept has helped over 40 blood centers reduce cost, increase collections, and improve donor relationships. Last year alone, we conducted over 6 million conversations with blood donors and recruited more than 267,552 units, all on a fixed cost-per-donor payment structure. Meaning our clients only pay for a usable unit.

Billie Johnson, Incept’s VP of Client Results, uses her 16 years of experience to develop customized solutions to increase collections and improve donor relationships for each of our clients. Based on her expertise in Donor Center Strategy, we’ve created a monthly webinar series dedicated to helping the blood center industry face new and existing challenges.

We’d like to invite you to a private webinar series hosted by Billie and special guest Dave Walter. On April 16th, they will be sharing industry best practices regarding goals and accountability for tele-recruitment, as well as answering your most pressing questions.

Please register for this webinar by clicking here.

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Incept has the great pleasure of spending the majority of our time focusing on the high-performing Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs). There is an Employee of the Month ceremony held each month, and every employee is invited to attend – on the clock. This is an opportunity for Incept to do a lot of personal and specific recognition.

Personalized, handwritten thank-you cards – signed by every single member of Incept’s management team – are handed out to each hourly employee who had perfect attendance for the previous month. Each card has tickets included for a half day of paid time off as a thank you for being a loyal employee and coming to work every shift they were scheduled. In addition, Incept awards an Employee of the Month who receives a framed plaque signed by the CEO and the Director of their division, a $0.50 raise, $50 cash on the spot, and a reserved parking spot for the next month. A Most Improved award is given each month to an employee who has shown outstanding improvement from previous month’s performance numbers. This person also receives a framed certificate signed by the Director of their division and Incept’s CEO, a $0.25 raise, and $25 cash on the spot. In addition to these awards, each Team Leader gets the chance to publicly recognize any and all employees on their team who have had outstanding accomplishments during the past month. Each Team Leader is given as much time to speak as they need to adequately cover the appropriate public recognition for each and every person on their team who has earned that recognition.

This ceremony typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour, and there are four separate ceremonies held each month to ensure that all Incept employees are able to attend. This ceremony is in addition to the daily, weekly, and monthly incentives that are provided at a team level, as well as the impressive bonus programs attached to each program.

We provide a performance bonus that is based on weekly performance to specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that correlate directly to what is defined as success for our clients. In addition, we provide instant incentives like extra breaks, vending machine coupons, client t-shirts and other client products, public recognition, supervisors taking the CME’s calls, team incentives (like catered lunches), games to be played in the rows, and public recognition. We also have an employee referral program for new hires and PTO Ticket for Schedule Adherence on a monthly basis.

Structurally, Incept is organized in teams, where the leader of each team is individually responsible for the performance, attendance, and promotions of the employees on their teams. Numerous studies show that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers; by creating a clear relationship with one primary individual within the company, we are able to address individual recognition and/or concerns swiftly and correctly. Each employee is asked to anonymously complete the Gallup Q12 survey each quarter, and each supervisor is ranked and coached on opportunities to increase their scores. Two significant drivers in this survey are “I have been recognized for my work in the last 7 days” and “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person”. By focusing on standard ratings and discussions on these questions, we ensure employees receive appropriate public and individual recognition.

We believe the combination of these items directly lead to our low employee turnover and consistent recognition as a Top Workplace.

What’s your favorite part of Incept’s employee recognition program?

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What do you do with donors who simply do not answer the phone? Even though you contact them during what is typically the optimum time of day, some donors will not respond to phone calls.

In any 60-day period, if there have been 10 or more unsuccessful attempts to reach a donor, leave a brief, informative message.

Your organization may also consider leaving a pre-recorded message for unresponsive donors.

The automated message should sound like a message from a live person. Using this option can shave 20-30 seconds off each unanswered call.

How do you determine if you are going to leave a message for donors?

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Calling donors in order to get the donation type that is most in need can be done simply if you have the right resources. Your database should be segmented by each donor’s blood type, last three donation types, and gender. If you have the luxury of scripting software and an automatic dialer, the scripter should be able to utilize this data to prompt the dialer to call only qualified donors and to serve an appropriate script to your tele-recruiters.

The logic involved in choosing the donation type may go something like this, depending on current inventory needs:

  • Donors with no previous history of donating either Double Red Cells or Platelets: O-, O+, B-, B+: Recruit for double red cells
    • AB-, AB+, A-: Refer to gender
      • Male: Recruit for platelets
      • Female: Recruit for whole blood
    • A+ or unknown: Recruit for whole blood
  • One of the last three most recent donations was a Double Red Cell donation:
    • AB-, AB+, A-: Refer to gender
      • Male: Recruit for platelets
      • Female: Recruit for double red cells
    • All other blood types: Recruit for double red cells
  • One of the last three most recent donations was a Platelet donation type:
    • O-, O+, B-, B+: Recruit for double red cells
    • All other blood types: Recruit for platelets

Platelet donations take priority over Double Red Cells and Whole Blood except for “O” donors, where Double Red Cells take precedence.

How do you ensure that you’re calling the right donors?

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As the holidays approach everyone is getting ready to decorate their homes, preparing their shopping lists, and planning their trips to visit family out of town. At this time of year, the community doesn’t realize how much their local blood centers could really use their support with blood donations.

Did you know that every two seconds someone in the United States is in need of blood? This means that the need for blood is always present. And during the holidays blood is needed even more frequently for a couple big reasons.

Reason #1: Local high schools and colleges are typically on holiday break.

Most of the blood that is collected comes from local high schools and colleges where students attend the blood drives scheduled at their campus. Typically around this time of year, students are on holiday breaks, making it a little bit more difficult for blood centers to keep their blood supplies at safe levels. This is when the blood centers depend on the community to keep their shelves stocked. Now this is only one reason as to why blood is needed most during the holidays. There are several other situations that affect blood centers all around the United States during the holidays.

Reason #2: Traveling increases and so do accidents.

Around this time of year, there are also tons of people taking trips to spend the holidays with their loved ones. This makes blood donors unavailable to donate for a certain amount of time depending on how long they will be away. It can be difficult finding time to do anything after traveling for a long period of time, with having to get settled back into normal routines and knowing how our schedules will look. However, the need for blood never ends, and this is why people should make time to pause, relax, and take an hour of their valuable time to help save up to three lives during the holidays.

As holiday traveling increases so do accidents. A single accident victim can use up to 100 units of blood, which is a significant amount of blood to substitute. Once again this raises the need for blood donations during the holidays.

This holiday season, give a gift that can help save a life. With schools being out and traveling on the rise, this time of the year increases the need for blood tremendously. So again, be a hero and take an hour to help your local blood center keep their blood supply at a safe level. Most of all, help save some lives!

Photo Credit: http://www.donateblood.com.au/category/news-tags/blood-donation-western-australia

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