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Company Culture

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?

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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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Numbers alone are not effective. They need to be applied to affect change. When supervisors share conversational quality audit reports with tele-recruiters in brief meetings (no more than 10 minutes), they have opportunities to congratulate tele-recruiters for things they did well, teach them to improve areas where they missed quality standards, and keep them motivated to continually grow. These measures ensure that conversational quality remains as important to tele-recruiters as it is to you.

A Step-By-Step Quality Audit Discussion

Let’s assume supervisor Demetrius is holding a Quality Audit discussion with tele-recruiter Janice, who received an audit score of 90%. The Quality Audit discussion might flow like this:

  1. Demetrius allows Janice to make herself unavailable for calls.
  2. Demetrius sits down with Janice, preferably in a neutral location away from the phones, to review her quality scores with her in detail.
  3. After presenting Janice’s Quality Audit Report to her, they review the specific things that caused her to receive 90 points. He congratulates her and reinforces her positive actions.
  4. Demetrius and Janice review the specific things that kept her from receiving the other 10 points. He clearly explains exactly how particular parts of conversations affected her score.
  5. After discussing these violations, Demetrius explains how Janice should handle similar situations to avoid future deductions.
  6. Janice and Demetrius engage in exploratory conversation, question/answer dialogue, and perhaps role playing.
  7. Janice is now clear on how to improve, so she sets performance and quality goals for her next Quality Audit.
  8. Janice signs and dates a copy of her audit.
  9. Demetrius photocopies the signed Quality Audit, and gives a copy to Janice so she can continue to refer to it as a reminder of the areas in which she must improve.
  10. Finally, Demetrius files the completed Quality Audit and notes in Janice’s personnel file.

How are you using audit reports to have meaningful conversations with your tele-recruiters?

Photo Credit: http://www.careeranalysts.co.nz/for_business/coaching.htm

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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/

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Every now and then, we speak with a blood donor who really drops a bombshell of reality on us all at once through our conversations.

Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) Vicki Monsour recently had a conversation with the family of a blood donor who, as she sadly found out, was deceased. He was a young man who was actually a big advocate of donating blood and had helped out many folks with his own blood donations; this was something the family mentioned to Vicki as their conversation transpired. As Vicki continued to talk with the family and show empathy about the situation at hand, one of the family members asked how they could use their son’s death as a way to encourage others to donate blood. They even mentioned that in lieu of flowers they were kindly asking friends and family members attending the service to make a blood donation at the local blood center in honor of their son, since it was something he truly believed in and made a practice to do himself. It takes an amazing group of people to keep other folks in mind during such a tragic time.

This conversation really resonated with Vicki, even as she hung up the phone. Vicki is a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) that takes extreme pride in her job at Incept recruiting blood donors. She herself has experienced tremendous personal loss in her life and understands the need for blood and how the actions of blood donors help families with terminally ill family members. She actually brought this call to my attention after being touched by the family’s gesture.

Why Giving Blood Truly Does Matter

As human beings, we are all going to die. That sounds so morbid and simple to just say like that, but the sooner we accept our mortality the sooner we can truly live. That being said, people should be able to live a healthy life in this day and age. We shouldn’t have to worry about a losing a loved one to cancer. We shouldn’t have to wait on pins and needles in hopes that a parent’s heart surgery went well. We should all be able to have a serene and last moment with an ailing family member when their time has come and be able to say a meaningful goodbye. At the end of the day, it really is blood donors who make it all possible.

We always tell people their blood donations have the power to save up to three lives apiece, which is true. But sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes sickness can prevail over treatments, and our biological bodies act more like failing machines, as they break down and deteriorate. If you are a blood donor, at the very least, you can take pride in the fact that your blood donation might have kept someone alive long enough to say goodbye to their spouse or kids. Your blood donation might have helped alleviate some of their pain while they were hospitalized during their final days as well. Your blood donation has the power to improve the physical living conditions of those who are sick and dying. Isn’t that something to consider when donating blood?

You aren’t always just saving lives when you donating blood. Sometimes you are granting time and extending life to someone who might not be on this Earth for much longer. You are giving them and their families that opportunity for real closure. That is a truly inconceivable gift to most folks who haven’t been in a position of losing a loved one to a terminal illness.

It is funny, because when we talk to a blood donor who donates due to their own family members having received blood in a time of need, you can hear it in their voice. They give because they relate to the cause. They unconditionally understand the importance of being a blood donor and sometimes even get emotional talking about the act of donating blood, because they do it in a way that posthumously honors their deceased loved ones. They continue to carry their love for that person through the act of giving life to others.

Everyone has their own reasons for donating blood, but hopefully now you can better understand that donating blood isn’t just a way to get out of class or something you do on your lunch break. It is a way to remember a loved one and keep their memory living on.

Why do you donate blood?

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The trick to making every call your best call is treating each call with the same amount of enthusiasm. Listen to your donor, and fully take the opportunity to address any and all concerns, as well as truly hear what they are saying. Have you ever received a call and felt like the person on the other end wasn’t listening to you? Most people will answer yes to this question. We don’t want our donors to feel that way about us.

Relating to the donors you speak with

We want to truly take the time to make the person on the other end of the line feel special and important. We can do this by fully listening to the donor and using our acknowledgement skills to let the donor know we heard them and we understand where they are coming from. After all, we ourselves have lives – whether you have young kids at home, a club you belong to, a full-time job, a few part-time jobs, classes to attend – anyone can relate to a busy schedule. It will help your call to let the donor know you understand their situation.

Relating to the donor will help you strengthen the relationship between the donor and yourself; it allows the donor to see you as a person too, not just someone calling asking them for something. Relating to someone allows you to develop a bond and create that one-of-a-kind situation for the person on the other end of the call. Truly treat them as if they are the only person you will call today.

In a world as busy as ours where the hustle and bustle of everyday life often overcomes the simple things like communication. However, we have the opportunity to take time and have a conversation with a donor, someone who has so generously given a part of themselves to help save the life of another. The person you are talking to is someone who helped save another person’s parent, or sibling, or friend. By truly taking the time and thanking the donor, as well as listening to the donor’s concerns and helping answer any questions they have, you will create a great call. If you treat them with respect and truly do your best to help them and help strengthen the relationship with their blood center, you will be able to make that call one of your best calls.

When working at a contact center, it’s hard to remember that each call is just as important as the last call you made. It hard to separate each call and take the time to listen and understand what each individual person is asking or saying. It’s our job to do just that; to take each call as though it is the only call you will make today; as if this is the most important conversation you will have. Then and only then will you be able to make each call your best call.

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This blog post comes to us from Team Captain Cesar Vanderpool. Cesar is a master at being able to level with donors and retain them by using active listening skills and showing empathy in his calls. Here are some tips from him on the importance of showing empathy to donors who might have not had the best experience donating.

“I can’t donate blood. Last time I did, they missed my vein, and I got a black-and-blue spot.”

This is a common response that Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) face when trying to recruit a blood donor. At this point, it is up to the CME to change the donor’s perspective on donating blood. Donors who have a bad experience are the ones who need the most conversational care. It is very important to be apologetic and empathetic toward these donors. Being apologetic lets the donor know that we actually do care about their experience beyond scheduling an appointment to donate with us. If someone has a bad experience and it goes unnoticed it basically shows the donor that we only care about their blood and not their well-being.

Being empathetic lets the donor know that you care. The first way to show these things is not only apologize, but also to listen and engage yourself with that donor. You should always ask questions and listen to the donor’s full experience. You almost want to ask enough questions so that the donor paints a picture of the experience for you to visualize in your head. This makes you more conversational, and it makes it easier to relate to the donor. Simply having the conversation lets the donor know that their opinions do matter to us. Relating to them makes them feel more comfortable that maybe they aren’t the only one who has ever had a bad experience. By being apologetic and empathetic, it makes the final stage fall right into place. This is the step of actually retaining the donor.

The importance of showing empathy: retaining the donor

If you don’t properly do these things, it could cause the donor to not want to donate with us again. During the retaining process it’s important to let the donor know that we do have trained professionals on our staff, and mistakes like this do happen, but it is not typically a recurring issue. No one would want to donate if they felt that they would have a bad experience every time. One way to help lighten the mood for a donor is to tell them they should have this same conversation with the phlebotomist who is taking their blood during their next donation. Explaining these types of things with the phlebotomist will let them know that they have to take extra care of you, because they know that you are worried about a recurrence.

Once you’ve gotten the donor comfortable with the notion that we do care, their opinions are valued, and we want to make things as comfortable for them as possible, go into the importance of donating. Throwing facts at the donor (such as each donation can save up to 3 lives or that their platelets only have a shelf life of five days) makes the donor feel important. Show the donor that despite them having a bad experience the good outshines the bad. There are lives being saved. Even throwing in fun facts (like the blood is going to your local hospital so you actually are helping in your community) makes them think that they are doing more than donating; they are saving lives.

All in all, these are the more difficult donors to retain. By showing them (or in our case, telling them) the significant value and the importance of what they do, blood donors will feel better about the experience and, ultimately, keep them donating.

Saving lives is the name of the game!

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With it being National Blood Donor Month all of January, we really wanted to focus on more of what we do at Incept: blood donor recruitment using telerecruitment methods. Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) have thousands upon thousands of conversations each week with current donors, lapsed donors, prospective first-time donors, as well as donors who would be good candidates to convert to apheresis donors who ultimately donate red cells, platelets, or plasma depending on their local center’s needs.

Whichever type of recruitment you are doing, whether it be for whole blood, a double red cell donation, platelets or plasma, one thing I have found out to be repeatedly true and useful is to really convey to the blood donor just what their blood is being used for. The challenge of blood donor recruitment is the fact that we aren’t selling anything. We are asking someone to give up their own personal time and part of themselves. It is up to us to upsell the fact to blood donors that they are indeed saving people’s lives with each and every blood donation they make. This is an incredibly enduring and tireless effort that we must continue to make.

Most people never think of what would happen if there were no blood donations. How would there be more cancer survivors without the platelets of blood donors? How much harder would burn victims’ treatments be if not for the generous gift of plasma from a blood donor? How would a car accident victim make it through an emergency surgery without the multiple donations of red cells by generous blood donors weeks before? What if the small percentage of Americans who take it upon themselves to be lifesavers just quit donating blood? How much do our blood centers have to beg and plead for us to understand that it literally takes thousands and thousands of people donating to keep a healthy blood supply in America, a place where 41,000 blood donation units are needed every single day.

One of my favorite ways to thank a donor is to tell them this: “We want to say thank you for donating blood. You really are helping us save lives. While your body will replenish the fluid we take, you will not be able to get back the hour you spend donating, so, if anything, we recognize that and appreciate you joining us to give.” That is the truth. My body will make back whatever is taken from me when I donate blood, but no matter how much money I pay nor how much I wish or hope, I will never get back the time I spend donating blood in this life. Am I okay with that?

You bet.

Express gratitude to your blood donors for the time they take out of their lives to give.

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One of my areas of expertise is calling and recruiting blood donors country-wide to donate in their local communities after scheduling an appointment with me.

Being a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) that works for the Saves (non-profit) side of Incept can have its own challenges. You aren’t only trying to work around a stranger’s personal (and often unknown) schedule, but in some cases you are actually trying to convince someone to save lives as a first-time donor. This means you are literally persuading someone to have a needle stuck in their arm and then proceed to have a pint of bodily fluid drained from them. It is all for a good cause, but it can be a test of conversational skills.

It is good for blood centers and blood banks to embrace telerecruiting methods. It gives the blood center the chance to focus on the donation process and the literal act of taking care of their donors and leaves it to us to continue to build and strengthen the relationship with those same donors on their behalf. When recruiting blood donors, a CME will hear some reasons for not donating more than others, and there will be situations where we have to make a best judgement call in an attempt to strengthen the relationships with the donors. Accordingly, I’ve compiled a list of the three challenges and responses that will help any blood bank with their recruitment over the phone.

Handling Questions and Objections From Blood Donors

  • Why do you people keep calling me so much? This is a common question from donors. The reality is that many blood centers need hundreds of blood donors every single day to be able to maintain their current supply and meet the needs of local area hospitals. Explain this to the donor. Do it in such a way that you acknowledge that your organization might call them on a frequent basis, apologize for it, but be adamant in explaining why you are calling them currently. When you take the time to do this, you usually can even hear the donor respond with a sense of understanding in their voice. It makes for an easy transition into a trial close to ask the donor to donate.
  • I had a bad experience at the center last time I donated. It is always important to acknowledge and apologize when a donor says they have had a bad experience donating blood. Donors usually aren’t discouraged enough to completely stop donating, but it can make them more hesitant when it comes to scheduling. Use these opportunities to engage the donor, and offer them a different center or even a local mobile drive to see if a different location would make them feel more comfortable. This technique gives you a chance to still be assumptive in assuming the donor is going to donate, just at a different spot than normal. The key to these situations is acknowledging the bad experience, thanking them for even donating and being a current donor, and encouraging them to try again in a comfortable manner.
  • I don’t know what my schedule looks like, so I’ll have to get back to you. This is one of the most common reasons why a blood donor will not donate. This is the perfect chance for us to acknowledge that while their schedule is probably full, we can set them up a few weeks out. The great feature we have for their benefit is the fact that we will give them a reminder call twenty-four hours before that. You want to schedule within a ten-day window if you can, usually. We have done many tests, and all the data shows that a donor is much more likely to go in if the appointment is set within that time frame.

Stay tuned for more tips on recruiting blood donors!

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We love social media here at Incept. We really like interacting with our friends (and especially blood centers) from our own Twitter handle, @InceptSaves. Twitter recently followed in Facebook’s steps and went public, offering shares to private investors. Many people consider Twitter a very comprehensive source of what is going on in the world. Many people on Twitter stay up-to-date on world news through their feed and by watching different trending topics. Since part of our business deals with helping blood centers with their donor recruitment, we thought we’d take a look at who is using Twitter effectively and efficiently and give them a shoutout!

We Like The Way You Tweet

  • Suncoast Communities Blood Bank (@SuncoastBB) – Suncoast Communities Blood Bank is a blood bank that serves Sarasota area hospitals with the blood they require to treat patients. A big shoutout goes to Suncoast for stepping up their donor recognition, as well as educational efforts to help spread knowledge of donating blood.
  • Puget Sound Blood Center (@Bloodcenter) – Puget Sound Blood Center really impresses us with the way they interact directly with their donors online. They literally tweet “Thank you” to those donors who have donated with them and are keen to share donor and donation recipient experiences on their feed. Puget Sound Blood Center helps serve the western half of Washington state hospitals.
  • Be The Giving Type (@Bethegivingtype) – Be The Giving Type is a blood donor campaign set up to help spread awareness about blood donations to people all over the country. It is a campaign that is supported by LifeSource, Central Blood Bank, Geisinger Blood Center, and Virginia Blood Services. They are fairly new to Twitter, but we have a feeling they will be growing their following quickly! They have done a great job of sifting through blood donor content online to help educate their audience and, in turn, are poised to become effective curators on the topic.

Nicely done, blood centers!

Want to interact with us on Twitter? Tweet at us at @InceptSaves.

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