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contact center

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!

Photo Credit: http://designedtoblossom.com/walking-a-fine-line-quality-control-the-oxymoron

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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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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?

Photo Credit: http://www.getreadytocoach.com/coachingwebsites-live/

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Coaching sessions can mean the difference between successful blood donor recruitment and unsuccessful blood donor recruitment. Our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) depend on Formal Coaching Sessions in order to improve and enhance their skills. These sessions should be Durable, Actionable, Straightforward, and Helpful. You may remember these using the acronym “DASH”.

  • Durable: Written records from Formal Coaching should be easy to understand—not just at the moment but also in the future. Supervisors should spell out details and avoid abbreviations. A written record is durable if a tele-recruiter can understand it 5 days after the session just as easily as during the session.
  • Actionable: The tele-recruiter must have a crystal clear understanding of how to act upon the advice received and the benefits of doing so.
  • Straightforward: The tele-recruiter should understand each word, line, instruction, and piece of advice that is offered. The supervisor must be adept at recognizing confusion and at clarifying when needed.
  • Helpful: This is not just a “feel good” meeting. The content of the discussion must be honest and useful so that the tele-recruiter can use it to score more wins.

What kinds of tools do you use in your Formal Coaching Sessions?


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Great workplaces are built through day-to-day relationships that employees experience. To make Incept a great workplace, we follow 6 important values:

  1. Integrity – Integrity involves moral judgment, character, honesty, and leadership values. Individuals who show integrity in a workplace not only understand right from wrong, but they practice it in everything they do. This is beneficial in a business environment where trustworthy actions set the foundation for successful business relationships.
  2. Never satisfied – This means that we can always make improvements. We proactively identify new areas where improvements can be made regardless of current performance, which sets a great attitude! This also helps employees learn something new each day.
  3. Compassion – Compassion is having a positive impact on others. We want to view all of our actions through the eyes of others first. We also encourage and reward our employees for volunteering their time to help others. Compassion helps strengthen the relationship with clients, as well as teammates, which in return helps us to create better results as a company.
  4. Everyone’s a customer – This means creating a “wow” experience for our teammates and all of our clients. We ask customers what is required to make them our advocates, listen to their answers, and then deliver. At Incept, we anticipate customer needs and provide suggested improvements to address them. We make sure to work as a team to define success and achieve it.
  5. Present This means balancing work and home life and being present in both. Being present is having understanding and encouraging the fact that a strong personal life is the key to achieving a strong professional work life. We like to encourage the discussion of, and assist each other in achieving, our life goals. When working, it is important to avoid distractions (such as personal issues), and when home, it’s crucial to avoid stresses that come with your job.
  6. Tenacious – Last but not least, being tenacious is all about being passionate and determined. Showing enthusiasm helps accomplish any goal. As a team, we persist until we make improvements in efforts to be successful achieving every goal we set.

At Incept, we are relentless in supporting our values, goals, and teammates. Furthermore, we use all six of our values to help us achieve our goals as a company, as well as perform great results and continue to grow stronger as a team. This is why Incept is such a great workplace!

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Segmentation for blood donor recruitment is essential. It allows for calling to be more strategic and contacting a donor more likely for our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs). Consider the three following segmentation themes when putting together your next strategy.

Segmenting By Phone Type

Segmenting your database by whether the phone number on record is a day, evening, or cell number allows your tele-recruiters or predictive dialer to choose the best time of day to place the call.

The past 30 years have seen the rise of the mobile phone and decline of the landline. This ongoing shift has significantly impacted people’s behavior. It has changed the way we carry out nearly every aspect of daily life.

The increase of mobile phone usage has also significantly changed communication with donors.

Segmenting By Donation Type

Segmenting your database by the type of donation each donor should give allows your telerecruiters to only call donors who are appropriate to your current campaign. It also allows your script to match a donor’s attributes and the donor center’s need with the proper conversation.

The script should consider a donor’s gender (for platelet donations), blood type, and last three donation types.

Additionally, when calling donors for double red cell or platelet donations, a flag should be added to the donor’s profile if he or she doesn’t meet the requirements to give an automated donation. Donors with this flag on their records will then be recruited for whole blood only.

Segmenting Donors By Prime Contact Time

Calling donors at the prime time is critical. Calling when they are sleeping, making dinner, or working will frustrate them as well as your tele-recruiters. It will also lower productivity rates and waste precious resources.

Your database needs to record the times when prior conversations with donors have taken place. This allows your dialer to call donors only at appropriate times. It also allows you to determine your area’s “prime time” for staffing purposes.

How do you segment your donors?

Photo Credit: http://stodzyinternetmarketing.com/13-reasons-why-you-should-use-email-marketing/

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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

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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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