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Showing confidence in a blood donor recruitment phone call can be the difference between getting an appointment or getting hung up on. As a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME), it is essential to follow the Incept Conversational Quality (CQ) guidelines and display confidence throughout a phone call – people who do this tend to be more conversational and are able to build stronger relationships with the donors.

How to be confident on your calls

There are several ways a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) can portray confidence in their phone calls:

  • To display confidence, someone has to show that they are equipped to handle any situation. CMEs are given tools that ensure they are able to handle situations and one of those tools is LAMA (Listen, Acknowledge, Make a statement, Ask a question). LAMA can be used as a conversational device to guide and direct a phone call; using this device makes it easier for a CME to make conversation with the donor because they are able to follow the formula every time. When CMEs learn how to use LAMA they build confidence knowing that they can assist any donor no matter how difficult the situation, thus making the CME sound assertive because they feel confident.
  • Another way a Conversational Marketing Expert can portray confidence is by having faith in their content knowledge. CMEs have a lot of blood facts to memorize, as well as information about the types of donations and the donation process itself – not to mention information about the blood centers they’re calling for. Getting familiar and comfortable with all of these things can be important so that CMEs don’t fumble around in their phone conversations. When a person knows a lot about a subject, they become comfortable talking about it. This allows the person to build more confidence in their conversations and thus portray that they can handle any situation.

There are other ways that CMEs can sound confident in their phone calls, but the tactics spoken of are less obvious ways for Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) to build their confidence. Showing confidence in a phone call is one of the most important things that the new CQ process focuses on, because when a CME shows confidence, the donor is confident that they are being assisted.

Showing confidence can be a great way for CMEs to build relationships with the donors, as well as assumptively ask donors for appointments. In the long run, this could lead to a better bonus for a CME because more donors will show up to their appointments.

How do you portray confidence in your blood donor recruitment calls?

For more information about LAMA, please visit McKee Consulting LLC

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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!


  • 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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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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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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Howie Mandel said, “People who annoy people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Woody Hayes said, “Paralyze resistance with persistence.”

Howie knows comedy and Woody knows football, but they wouldn’t have done so well in tele-recruiting. Persistence is delicate. With too much persistence, you annoy donors and prompt them to request removal from your database. With too little persistence, your donors fail to donate. In either case donations drop, hospitals have less blood available, and fewer lives are saved.

So, how often should you contact a donor? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your contact center will need to modify best practices based upon trial and error.

The following guidelines, however, can inform your strategy as you optimize it:

  • Dial a household no more than once every 3 days.
  • If a donor does not want to schedule, or is currently unable to donate, wait at least 21 days before you call again unless a medical condition or recent travel dictates shorter or longer wait times.
  • If a donor cannot donate for at least a month (e.g., is pregnant, away at college, or out of town for an extended time), adjust the callback dates in your database to reflect this.

Once you have established contact frequency rules, ensure that your tele-recruiters adhere to them strictly. Doing so can reduce your blood center’s opt-out rate by as much as 36%, increase the longevity of your call files, and save more lives.

In what other ways do you determine optimal contact frequency?

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Change Your Language

Begin thinking of what your tele-recruiters do as ”having conversations” rather than “making calls.” A call is of good quality if it’s dialed correctly. A conversation is of good quality if it engages another person and both parties learn something of value. Such conversations build strong relationships, in this case between your blood center and the donor. That’s what you’re really after.

Define Quality Standards

Measuring a conversation’s quality requires dissecting it. Standards must be objective and inviolable. Let us know if you’d like a copy of our Conversational Quality Scorecard to see how a typical donor conversation may be broken down to clearly show which specific parts of the conversation meet your quality guidelines and which specific parts need improvement to meet your quality standards.

Connect Quality Standards to Employment Policies

Quality Standards must be thoroughly integrated into your employment policies for them to have any real effect on tele-recruitment conversations and donor relationships. Promotions, pay-per-performance programs, corrective action, and similar policies must be explicitly connected to objective measures of quality.

Appoint a dedicated Conversational Quality Manager

It’s imperative that a dedicated, unbiased individual or department is responsible for monitoring tele-recruiters’ adherence to your conversational quality standards. To avoid conflicts of interest, this Conversational Quality Manager should report to a department that is not incentivized for the contact center’s results. Furthermore, whoever provides oversight of the Conversational Quality Manager should set continual improvement goals for the quality management function itself.

Separating out this function in this way has numerous benefits:

  • Bias will be eliminated
  • The quality measurement process will not become lax or soft
  • The quality measurement function won’t get triaged to other priorities

Audit Tele-recruiting Conversations

The Conversational Quality Manager’s role is to audit all tele-recruiters’ conversations on a continual basis. Avoid the temptation to only use this function to check up on tele-recruiters you suspect are slacking in their duties. Quality audits are not disciplinary tools. They are tools for continuous improvement.

Even your star tele-recruiters can incrementally improve. Even your greatest tele-recruiter needs to be held accountable for maintaining that greatness. When approached well, good tele-recruiters should look forward to seeing their quality scores and learning if and where they can improve.

Grade Tele-recruiting Conversations

As the Conversational Quality Manager listens to calls, he or she will assign point values to all items on the Conversational Quality Checklist and grade each tele-recruiter according to those criteria. We recommend grading quality performance on a 100-point scale. Nearly everyone is familiar with this format, and it provides the right amount of granularity.

The scored results from this ongoing quality audit can then be used to correct, reward and develop tele-recruiters and strengthen donor relationships in the process.

Generate a Personalized Conversational Quality Audit Report for Each Tele-recruiter

At least every two weeks, the Conversational Quality Manager creates and prints a quality audit report for each tele-recruiter. The report assigns an overall and specific performance score. It also provides narrative descriptions of performance indicators for those two weeks.

Distribute Conversational Quality Audit Reports to Supervisors

The Conversational Quality Manager distributes the personalized reports to the contact center supervisors. This supports the important accountability system that is so critical to continuous quality improvement.

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It’s not enough to hire people and trust them to consistently relate well with donors. Let’s face it, saying the same things to numerous people each day, and being turned down by a large percentage of them, can be demotivating. It can turn a very important job into a routine.

What gets measured gets done. Everything else is optional. Your people will respect what you inspect. A blood center that raises conversation quality to the highest level of importance will have tele-recruiters who gauge success by quality interactions. Without this, tele-recruiters tend to feel they’ve done good jobs just by churning the front-end numbers.

High-quality conversations benefit everyone. They strengthen your blood center’s relationships with its donors and are more fulfilling to your representatives.

Implementing the following steps will establish a culture of conversational quality in your call center and strengthen relationships with your donors:

  1. Change your language
  2. Define Quality Standards
  3. Connect Quality Standards to employment policies
  4. Appoint a dedicated Conversational Quality Manager
  5. Audit tele-recruiting conversations
  6. Grade tele-recruiting conversations
  7. Generate a personalized conversational quality audit report for each tele-recruiter
  8. Distribute conversational quality audit reports to supervisors
  9. Task supervisors with discussing audit reports with tele-recruiters

Stay tuned for our next post describing each of the above methods!

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It is a special time of festive cheer that comes at the end of every calendar year.

We wanted to extend a very special thank you and happy holiday season greetings to all of our hardworking employees and wonderful clients. We believe in the power of good behind each blood donation, and that is what keeps Incept moving forward in the blood donor recruitment industry.

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Not a workday should pass by without each Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) receiving coaching for blood donor recruitment in some form. Formal Coaching Sessions, Follow-Up Coaching Sessions, Positive Coaching Sessions, and Quality Audit Sessions fill this need eight days each month.

On remaining days, each tele-recruiter should receive what we call “Drive-By Coaching.” Drive-By Coaching is not as time consuming and is less structured than the rest. It consists of very brief, one-off suggestions or reinforcements related to current conversations.

Supervisors should listen carefully to their tele-recruiters’ donor conversations throughout the day. As they do, they should notice little opportunities to strengthen positive habits and/or correct poor habits and should discuss these observations with tele-recruiters as soon after the call as possible.

Drive-By Coaching In Action

The following are example Drive-By Coaching statements:

  • “That was a great second attempt, Sara! I know you didn’t get the appointment, but the second attempt was awesome. If you keep on doing it that way, you will definitely get more appointments!”
  • “Don’t forget to ask for an email address in every call, Byron. It helps us stay in touch with the donors who don’t respond well to phone calls.”
  • “I’d like to hear you emphasize key words more in your conversations. I brought a highlighter and a paper copy of the script so that you and I can highlight key words in the script for emphasis. For the next hour, I want you to focus on putting extra emphasis on those words when you say them. Practicing this will allow you to inject some highs and lows into your presentation flow and make your pitch sound more natural and interesting.”
  • “Second requests increase appointments per hour by an average of 25%. I’d like you to set a goal of at least five second-requests per hour in five separate conversations for the rest of the day. Five second-requests per hour should result in you scheduling a minimum of one additional appointment per hour today.”

These brief but meaningful encounters keep Conversational Quality top-of-mind, let your tele-recruiters know that you are always listening, and provide instant feedback for strengthening good behaviors and changing bad ones.

What do your Drive-By Coaching sessions sound like?

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Bonus Programs motivate our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) to practice what they learn through coaching. You may think the regular paycheck is enough to do that, and you may be right—if you relax quality standards for blood donor recruitment.

Paychecks motivate “acceptable” results that are good enough to remain employed. Bonus programs, however, justify you to continually raise quality standards since your people receive additional pay for results that are beyond “acceptable.” When understandable KPI reports are directly connected to well-designed bonuses and effective coaching, tele-recruiters know exactly what actions to take to shift their numbers and earn extra money!

Designing Your Own Bonus Program

The following are guidelines for designing your tele-recruitment bonus program:

  1. Structure your bonus program with conversation quality, integrity, and customer satisfaction at its core.
  2. Use client requirements as the minimum achievement, meaning that no bonuses can be earned until after client requirements are met.
  3. Keep your bonus program easy to explain, easy to understand, and easy to calculate.
  4. Teach tele-recruiters how to calculate their own bonuses. When they understand exactly what positively and negatively impacts their bonus pay, they will quickly figure out how to maximize their performance to get the lion’s share of that bonus.
  5. Design your bonus program to mirror the payment arrangement with your client. If your client pays you for successful blood draws, for example, don’t incent telerecruiters to merely set appointments. Otherwise, tele-recruiters will do whatever is necessary to set appointments without regard to whether those appointments will likely result in successful donations.
  6. Incorporate your bonus program into your organization’s employee training program, coaching sessions, quality control audits, daily team meetings, and any other form of regular communication with tele-recruiters. If it is obviously important to you, it will be important to your tele-recruiters. Employees respect what you inspect, and they produce results that you reward them to produce.

Getting Buy-In For Your Bonus Program

Diligently promoting your KPI reports in conjunction with quality and bonuses will help condition your representatives to actively monitor their performance numbers. The following are suggestions for promoting KPIs:

  • When you first initiate this program, hold a scavenger hunt to familiarize tele-recruiters with the location of the reports and the content they contain.
  • Hold a “game show” where tele-recruiters have to provide examples of what effect various positive and negative behaviors have on the KPIs.
  • 10 minutes before each shift begins, ask your team specific questions that can only be answered by those who studied yesterday’s reports. Give away small prizes to those who know the answers.
  • Publicly recognize tele-recruiters who know specific information when you ask them for it.
  • Highlight key players from the previous day’s results, and spotlight those representatives on the report itself for all to see.
  • Write personal notes to your tele-recruiters on the reports.

Once tele-recruiters begin to actively use and rely on KPI reports, internal friendly competition will take on a life of its own to drive improvement. As a manager or supervisor, you will be freed up to dedicate more of your time to development than to regurgitating data.

How do you promote bonuses?

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