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Call Center

This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Some of the most important aspects of influencing company atmosphere are how well you build trust, communication, and rapport with the employees. In an atmosphere such as Incept, it is important to take these things into consideration when building a team. Strong teams are comprised of a strong leader and employees who have excellent communication skills with one another.

A good team should run like a well-oiled machine—the members should take accountability for their actions and the actions of one another, as well as build each other up in times of need. Having a strong team can decrease company turnover while also increasing the quality of production. In order to build strong teams it may be necessary to do team-building exercises.

3 Great Team-Building Exercises

The following are some exercises that can be used to create better rapport among your team members:

  • Two Truths and a Lie – Go around the room and have each CME state two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is a lie. Then have the team members guess which one of the items isn’t true. This game helps everyone get to know each other better.
  • Common/Uncommon Interests – Break the CMEs into pairs by having them count off in numbers. Tell the CMEs that (with their partners) they should come up with a list of three things they both have in common and two things that they do not have in common. The answers should exclude work, body parts, clothing, and the like, to encourage learning more in-depth things about each other. Tell the CMEs that one person should take notes, and the other person should be prepared to present the items to the group. This helps the CMEs make connections with people they wouldn’t normally get to talk to.
  • Four Squares - Give each of the CMEs a sheet of paper and have them fold the paper into four squares. Come up with a topic for each square and have them draw pictures that describes themselves for each topic. For example, here are some sample topics: favorite sport, dream job, if you were an animal what would you be, etc. The drawings don’t have to be detailed; they can be as simple as stick figures. Give the CMEs a few minutes to draw their pictures and then have them show their drawings and explain how they pertain to their interests.

These team-building exercises normally work better with CMEs who don’t know each other that well. However, these exercises can also work with a team that needs to reconnect. Remember, there are a lot of team-building exercises that can be used to create a strong team, and strong teams produce better results—meaning more lives saved!

What are you doing to build up your team?

Photo Credit: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_52.htm

Let's talk... results

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Here at Incept, our management team strives to live by the values of the company. It is also very important to instill these same values into the Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) on the floor. The best way to ensure that our CMEs live the Incept Values at work is leading by example.

Setting Expectations Through Leadership

Leading by example means doing things that you would expect a CME to do without expecting recognition for it. As a manager, every day that you come into work you have employees watching you and looking to you for advice and guidance. It is important to try your best to do what is right, because you are a role model for so many people.

The following items are ways that you can improve on leading by example:

  1. Stick to your commitments. There will be days when you have unexpected things come up that may cause your schedule to fluctuate, and that is understandable. However, showing the CMEs that you always follow through with your commitments helps to build rapport, because they’ll know they can always count on you.
  2. Keep a level head. As humans we are all prone to having tempers and occasionally getting upset, but it is important to remain stable and to keep a calm attitude when things get tough. Try your best to show that CMEs can trust you when the going gets tough. If it helps, try to find a quiet place for a few minutes to take a breather and regain control over your emotions.
  3. Be fair. Make sure you treat everyone as equally as possible, and don’t show favoritism. If one person gets punished for something, make sure that if someone else on your team does the same thing you give them the same consequence. This excludes people who earn their rewards and work hard to get them, because they should be recognized (just like anyone else who accomplishes the same).
  4. Be present. The CMEs need to know that their leader is there for them and part of showing that you are is by staying in the rows and building strong working relationships with your teams.
  5. Follow company rules. Companies put rules in place for a reason. If you expect the CMEs to follow the rules, then you should follow them as well. This means if you expect a CME to wear their lanyard at all times, then you should wear yours at all times. If you expect them to be on time after their breaks, then you should be on time after yours. The list goes on…

These aren’t the only ways that you are able to lead by example, but they are definitely a good place to start. As a growing company, it is important that we lead by example to ensure that we maintain a great work environment and ensure Incept continues to be a safe and fun place for everyone.

How are you leading by example?

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Let's talk... results

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This post comes to us from Incept’s President and CEO, Sam Falletta. Sam is in charge of finding the right measurements to make sure that the right people are in the right position to produce the desired results for Incept’s clients.

Thank-you calls help to establish respectful, long-term relationships and build loyalty with those who selflessly donate life-saving gifts.

Timeliness is Crucial

Call donors the day after their donation to thank them for their generosity and reinforce how important their donations are to the community. Use personalized scripting for first-time donors, automated donors, and donors with special blood types and antigens.

Sincerity is Too

It is important that thank-you calls strengthen donor relationships without asking for anything in return. People do not like being called upon only when they are needed to give something. Simple thank-you calls let donors know you care about them. In addition to saying thank you, ensure that the donation experience was a positive one. If you have a donor loyalty program, recap details on how to check status and redeem perks as well.

If you reach a voice mail or answering machine, leave a brief thank-you message and a contact number to call with any follow-up questions or concerns. If there is no answer of any sort, try again the next day. But remember, you want to share your appreciation; you don’t want to become an annoyance with numerous phone calls.

How do  you thank your blood donors?

Photo Credit: http://turningpoint6.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Thank-You.jpg

Let's talk... results

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results, Contact Center Results for the Results Division, and the teams of amazing people who fill each of the roles within these departments.

If you know your prime times, staffing at the appropriate times is a relatively simple decision. But all too often blood donor recruitment departments are staffed from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. because that is when tele-recruiters or managers prefer to work. That, however, is typically the least effective time of day to tele-recruit. Our experience indicates that attempts to reach donors after 5:00 p.m. are 11% more successful. Set your Contact Center’s hours according to your donors’ preferences.

Identifying Ideal Staff Levels via Dials Per Hour

How many tele-recruiters to staff is also a relatively straightforward decision. You will need to know your Dials Per Hour. Here is the formula:

Simply multiply your Dials Per Hour times the number of days per week that your contact center operates. Then divide that number by 8 hours, which represents one Full Time Equivalent (FTE). That will tell you the number of tele-recruiters to staff.

If you suspect that your Dials Per Hour is low, look closely at whether your tele-recruiters are spending longer than necessary on phone calls and also how they are using non-productive time.

How are you staffing you blood donor recruitment center?

Photo Credit: http://callcenterinfo.tmcnet.com/analysis/articles/369689-australian-contact-center-applications-market-grow-389-percent.htm

Let's talk... results

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results and the TEAM of amazing people that fill each of the roles within these departments.

Why Do You Need Blood Donor Recruitment Scripts?

Scripting is essential for successful donor conversations. It allows Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) to engage with donors in a way that ensures uniformity, professionalism, and the freedom to really listen to the needs of the donor. The following are some of its benefits:

  1. Your organization preserves its brand by ensuring control over what is communicated.
  2. Supervisors can evaluate and compare tele-recruiters on a level playing field.
  3. Tele-recruiters provide uniform information to donors.
  4. Tele-recruiters consistently communicate in a professional manner.
  5. Tele-recruiters do not need to anticipate what to say next and can genuinely listen to donors.

How To Design a Blood Donor Recruitment Script

Poorly-designed scripts turn people off. Well-designed scripts engage people in conversation. Effective scripts are brief, conversational, appreciative, motivational, personalized and specific.

  • Keep it brief. People are busy with the rest of their lives when you call. A short script increases the likelihood that donors remain engaged and participate in the conversation.
  • Be conversational rather than formal. Formality makes a script sound forced and unnatural. It creates a barrier between the telerecruiter and donor. A conversational script fosters open communication and encourages questions and discussion.
  • Show appreciation. Giving blood is a very personal act of service. Donors offer part of themselves to save others’ lives. This act of kindness deserves recognition and appreciation. Because donors rarely see the results of their service, they need to hear how much both the patients and the blood center appreciate their time, compassion, and gifts.
  • Discuss loyalty programs and promotions. Reminding donors of special loyalty programs and promotions before asking them to donate can motivate donors who are on the fence.
  • Tailor the script to the donor’s history. Establish your credibility by using donation history to help form the script. For example, remind donors of the type of donations they’ve usually given, the location they usually select, and their blood types. This helps form a personal connection with donors. It lets them know they are not just names—they are generous, necessary, and unique, and the blood center recognizes them as such.
  • Make your request to donate specific. Vague requests are easier to turn down. For example, “Would you be able to come in and donate soon?” only invites a yes-or-no answer and can cut off a conversation prematurely. “Are you more available on weekends or weekdays,” on the other hand, invites further conversation.

How do your scripts compare?

Let's talk... results

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This post comes to us from Incept’s President and CEO, Sam Falletta. Sam is in charge of finding the right measurements to make sure that the right people are in the right position to produce the desired results for Incept’s clients.

We believe nearly every employee wants to provide genuine value in their work, even the most difficult or lazy employees. We also believe most employees believe they are providing the best they can, even when it doesn’t look that way to management.

What gets in the way of providing that desired value can be quite complex – an unhealthy self-image, poor management, a mismatch between the individual’s talents and job requirements, a complicated personal life, and a plethora of other factors.

Connecting this inherent desire to contribute value to an individual’s job performance requires a positive approach to developing employees in such a way that employees take ownership of the process. Giving employees ownership in their own development changes it from something that is “done to” them into something they seek. We call this Positive Coaching.

The Finer Points of Coaching

Consider the role of an athletic coach. In children’s leagues, coaches correct poor habits and teach new skills. Whether the children they coach have natural talent or not becomes clear as those skills are applied to the game. As talented children progress through middle school, high school, and college, coaches spend less and less time teaching new skills and more time refining those skills and providing strategic opportunities for the players to succeed with them.

But even the greatest professional athlete needs a coach. In fact, top professional athletes regularly pay big dollars to surround themselves with the most competent coaches they can find, and they frequently credit those coaches for their celebrity.

Three observations from the above analysis are important when it comes to employees:

  1. Coaching involves teaching, correcting, and strategically channeling skills.
  2. The best performers want to be coached and developed.
  3. Even the very best performers will never outgrow their need to be coached

Are you a positive coach?

Photo Credit: http://spinw.com/2014/04/mental-side-of-coaching/

Let's talk... results

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Flexibility seems like a simple word, but in the workplace this ability can make all the difference. Being able to work with others and around what they need to do while still doing what you need to do is a good skill to have. Have you ever gone into work expecting to do one thing or call one program but find out you will be doing something else or calling something else that day because of outside circumstances? Of course you have, and of course you do as you are instructed.

The best thing to keep in mind is that what you are doing – be it calling a certain program, on-the-fly coaching, putting together a last-minute training – in the end you are doing what’s best for the company. You are helping make your supervisors your customers by being flexible. Flexibility means being willing to do something different from what is expected, for the good of someone or something else.

In your life, you will find many opportunities where it is best to be flexible. The best way to handle any change is with open arms and eyes. Don’t get upset about something that is thrown your way that will help better you, better someone else, or better the company as a whole. By showing your bosses that you are flexible and willing to do what needs to be done without complaining, your dedication and willingness to help out will be obvious.

Flexibility is not just dropping what you’re doing to do something else; it’s being willing to help out a teammate or employer but doing what they need help with currently. Keep an open mind and remember that when you are asked to do something, it is for a good reason. And whoever is asking this of you needs your full support. Sometimes opportunities will change, so do your best to be open-minded in these situations, and it will take you a long way.

Image Credit: http://pcmreviews.com/

Let's talk... results

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Recently we talked with Josette Schneider, Incept’s Conversational Quality Manager, to discuss  monitoring our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) and conversational quality. Below Josette provides some insight on developing the most effective conversational quality process.

A new program is brought to the Conversational Quality Department. What are the steps to determine the conversational quality process?

  1. We determine how long the test phase is going to be.
  2. Once the test phase has been completed but prior to rolling the program out to the room, the Contact Center Results (CCR) Team and the Conversational Quality (CQ) Team meet to discuss quality procedures and verifications, if any.
  3. Both teams establish the quality assurance processes, forms, and quality measures.
  4. Once these have been developed, they are submitted to the Client Results Representative for client approval.
  5. Once approved, the process is put into place.

How often is a CQ process evaluated to ensure it is continuing to find and improve quality in phone calls?

  • We don’t have a specific time period when we reevaluate processes. We determine this by program changes, big jumps in quality scores (both low and high), and even client complaints. We will run the current process along with a process that we are testing and determine which process truly reflects the Conversational Marketing™ Experts’ (CMEs’) performance and quality. There are times when an entirely new process is implemented and times when revisions are simply made to the current process.

What is the best number of calls/minutes to monitor to ensure the CME is doing everything right?

  • There really is no basis for the best number of calls or minutes a CME should be monitored. Each call center has their own way of determining this. Some use a number determined by management or past history. A percentage of companies determine this by statistics, and other companies use the number of calls available to be monitored. Incept uses a set number of calls per CME for some of our programs, a specific percentage of calls for other programs, and all CME statistics are looked at when CQ-ing.

If a CQ is not good, what is the best way to evaluate it to improve the CME?

  • If a CME receives a low score or even several deductions for the same infraction, a consultation is scheduled right away with the CME. During this time, we try to get to the root of the problem. Is the CME just not following the process or were they unsure of how to handle that situation. The CME listens to their calls that were evaluated and they are discussed between CME, CCR rep, and CQ rep. Once the calls have been listened to, either the CME’s supervisor or a CQ rep will complete a detailed coaching on the CME. The coaching will be reviewed with the CME and another CQ will be completed. Depending on the CME’s quality score or infractions, the number of times the CME is coached and reevaluated may differ. We also use role playing wherein the CME will listen to someone in management make the calls to get a better feel for how they should be handling different situations.

The quality of phone calls is so important to any campaign. What are the steps your company uses to develop an effective conversational quality process?

Let's talk... results

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In order to set up your donor base calling in a way that maximizes your results, it’s important to begin with a proven strategy to ensure you are getting the most out of your work. Setting up your list of donors and calling straight through will not give you enough results to justify the work. Taking some time to analyze and prioritize your list will yield much better outcomes.

Firstly, you must determine your needs:

  • What blood types and/or donation types are most needed right now?
  • What recruitment difficulties do you run into on a regular basis?
  • What are the center’s long-term and expected blood needs?

Establishing your needs will help you to ensure that all of your subsequent decisions are working in the right direction: to fulfill the actual needs of the blood center.

Secondly, divide your list into categories to better understand the calling universe:

  • How many current, lapsed, and super-lapsed donors are available?
  • How many whole blood and automated donors are available?

You may be surprised at how many resources you have in each category once you look at them. You may find that some categories need to be bolstered, while others may need whittled down in order to get the right donations from the right donors.

Thirdly, match up your short-term needs with your donor segments:

  • Is your immediate need a large quantity of red cells? Try focusing on both automated donors and O- donors to get the volume you need in the area you need it in.
  • If your immediate need is platelets, try focusing on all previous platelet donors, donors that tested high for platelets during a whole blood donation, or those of A/B blood types.
  • If you find that your current donor base for automated donations does not meet your current need for blood products, try supplementing your calling by working to convert all donors of a necessary blood type to do that donation or increase your volume of donors that have lapsed in the past.

Once you have determined your needs and categorized (or segmented) your donors, you will be able to determine which segments will best fulfill your many needs at one time. You will also be able to prioritize the time you want to spend strengthening or cutting down your segments based on the size and importance of each segment.

Now that you know what donor segment you need to focus on in order to meet your current needs, it’s time to focus on meeting your center’s long-term blood needs:

  • The best way to take care of your donor base and ensure that your needs are met long-term is to keep in regular contact with your donors, and let them know that they are appreciated.
    • Keep in contact with current, lapsed, and even super-lapsed donors regularly
    • Do not attempt to call a donor more than 3 times in one week
    • Wait at least 3 weeks after speaking with a donor before calling them again.
    • Follow a consistent contact schedule to ensure that donors are contacted throughout their donation cycle
      • Recruitment calls
      • Reminder call one day before appointment
      • Thank-you call one day after appointment
      • Educational information in between donations
  • Use various contact methods, such as direct mail, email, social media, and text messaging to reach all donor types.

While meeting your short-term needs is valuable, it is vital to ensure you are actively building relationships with your donor base and educating them on why they are so important. The more time that is spent nurturing your donors throughout the year, the less often critical times will come up and cause you to make a change in strategy.

Following the strategy above when setting up your donor recruitment calling is essential to both protecting your donor base in the long term and to getting the most out of your efforts every day.

Let's talk... results

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Recently we talked with Billie Johnson, Incept’s Vice President of Client Results, to discuss conversational marketing™ versus traditional telemarketing.  Below Billie explains what the different is and how Incept uses it in our blood donor recruitment strategies.

Explain conversational marketing™: Conversational marketing™ is a fundamental philosophy that revolves around using your marketing touchpoints to have true, meaningful conversations with your donors to communicate your mission and build a partnership for the patients and hospitals you serve – not just for today, but for years to come.

Why is Incept different than your traditional telemarketing firm? Traditional telemarketing often focuses on the outcome of a phone call. The more “yeses” today, the more success. The Incept difference is that we believe our conversations secure relationships for the future. Our objective in every call is to make sure that the relationship between our blood center client and their donors is stronger and healthier than before our call. It’s a cohesive, long-term strategy, not a one-time campaign, that develops lifelong commitments and loyalty.

Why is it important to build a relationship with the donor when you are on the phone with them, even if the end results is ‘no’? Not everyone is going to say “yes” every time, but each person we call has made the commitment to donate in the past. We want all donors to continue that commitment. Keep in mind, even if now is not a good time, perhaps the next time we call they will be in a position to help. If we alienate even a single donor, that donor could mean all the difference to someone in need in the future.

What is the difference between talking with the donor and talking at the donor? The key here actually has nothing at all to do with talking. The difference is listening. Nearly anyone can begin reciting a script when a donor says “hello”, but listening for key indicators that help guide the talk track is imperative if you truly care about your relationship with your donors. It’s the key to putting the donor’s needs first.

Scripts are important, but why should a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) add their own personality into the phone call? Incept believes that guidelines are very important to communicating the right message and preserving a blood center’s brand. However, equally as important is allowing our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) to have true two-way conversations by using their personality to build a rapport. People build relationships, not scripts.

How can you implement conversational marketing™ into your blood donor recruitment strategy to not only increase results, but also build strong relationships with your donors?

Let's talk... results

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