Our Top Advice for Achieving Fundraising Success

At InfoCision, we continually remind ourselves of our goal to become the best, not the biggest, name in the customer care industry by providing highly valuable services. Our diligent team of Communicators works tirelessly to ensure that we’re providing the utmost quality of customer care to each and every individual we serve, which is why it is so rewarding to have our hard work recognized. We’re incredibly honored, in fact, to have been recognized as a customer care MVP in “Customer Magazine” for the 22nd consecutive year.

As such, I’d like to shine a spotlight on—and dedicate this honor to—our exceptionally talented Communicators. It is their inherent traits, like empathy and quick wit, experience and commitment that enable InfoCision to achieve such high-quality results and keep our customers satisfied.

Most specifically, I’d like to lend some insight to our readers about the achievements our Communicators make in the nonprofit space. Communicating with potential contributors and recruiting donors can prove quite difficult for many contact center agents, as relaying the importance of a charity in an impactful fashion requires a sophisticated skill set that not all people possess.

Here are few pieces of advice derived from our outbound call strategy that may help you better understand the elements that drive our fundraising success:

  • Become part of the team: At InfoCision, we don’t think of ourselves as a third-party service for our nonprofit clients, but rather an extension of their team. By pledging to work as though we are a part of the cause, our Communicators become more dedicated and driven to produce the best possible results. This is an important mindset to maintain during fundraising campaigns as our Communicators strive to effectively articulate the charity’s worthiness and the value of each donation. By making the cause our own, our staff essentially becomes part of the nonprofit’s staff, with the same ability to understand and communicate the charity’s merit.
  • Create a lasting relationship: Another differentiator that sets our Communicators apart from the competition is their dedication to their line of work. Many of our employees are InfoCision veterans, having worked here for years, even decades in some cases. Because of our high employee retention rate, our Communicators are able to create long-lasting relationships with the nonprofit institutions with which we fundraise. The entire staff becomes elated at specific times of the year that signify that it’s time for an annual fundraising campaign. This excitement stems from years of experience in recruiting donors for nonprofits that they’ve become deeply entrenched with over time. Knowledge about and genuine care for these charities gives our Communicators more ammunition to deliver powerful and emotion-evoking messages each time they speak with potential donors.
  • Acknowledge success: Besides the relationships we build with our nonprofit partners, another element that contributes to our Communicators success is a positive team environment. Our managing staff understands that the Communicators have a difficult job and that they deserve acknowledgement from us that their work is valued. Accordingly, we take the time to congratulate their continuous excellence in donor care. In addition, we ensure that our employees’ voices are heard and encourage an open-forum atmosphere in our offices that stimulates team building. It’s important to focus on maintaining a positive work atmosphere, especially in a high-stress occupation, so that employees sidestep burnout or frustration.

You can’t create a dedicated team of Communicators overnight or achieve fundraising success without the right practices. But, you can heed our advice and start down the road to stellar donor care.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

How Providing Great Customer Service Improves Job Satisfaction—and Vice Versa

When you arrive home at the end of a long work day, are you usually content with what you’ve accomplished on the job? If so, it’s likely that you consistently hit the mark on the tasks to which you were assigned; such an achievement can leave you beaming from ear to ear at the dinner table. The same scenario applies to your contact center agents: If they have enhanced the quality of their customer service, they will most likely feel better and more fulfilled in their jobs.

Such fulfilled contact center agents can translate into increased productivity for your business. In fact, satisfied workers are 12 percent more productive, according to a study by researchers at the University of Warwick. This represents the first scientifically controlled evidence of the link between human happiness and productivity. Furthermore, the researchers concluded that less happiness is connected to lower employee yield.

So, the more satisfied and productive your contact center agents are, the more likely they will be to deliver first-rate customer service. And this satisfied attitude among agents can be contagious; it can permeate your entire organization with positive spirit, driving a complete culture of optimism.

So with the happiness/productivity connection verified, how can your company ensure its employees are content, guaranteeing strong productivity and improving quality of customer service? Here are some ways that technology can help:

  • CRM solutions: Based on information received during a contact center call, top-of-line CRM solutions automatically adjust agent scripts to allow for more personalized, effective responses. Such customizable screens bolster productivity and promote first-call resolution.
  • Report cards: Quality of customer service can be enhanced greatly by developing progress reports that measure various contact center activities and their effectiveness. Using state-of-the-art contact center technology, managers can monitor agent progress by the numbers (e.g., examining response rates), pulling back the curtain on agent challenges that must be addressed immediately.

Interested in upgrading your customer service tools so that your agents hit the mark more often? Then speak with us at InfoCision today!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

How Charity Work Helps Build Team Spirit

This is the time of year where we tend to reflect on our lives and consider those who are less fortunate. As we enjoy the holidays, it’s always important to remember that there are many people out there struggling to get by.

Charity work is always great, but it is particularly fulfilling during the holiday season when we can help brighten the day for someone who’s going through a rough patch. At InfoCision, we regularly encourage our employees to do charity work and organize many events ourselves. For instance, recently more than 50 of our workers helped the Salvation Army during its Red Kettle Drive, which helps raise money for the needy.

Working for a good cause can do even more than improve the lives of those less fortunate, however. It is also a great way to build team spirit, as it gives employees a chance to bond and get to know each other outside of a work environment.

Even more importantly, organizing company-wide charity events and encouraging volunteer work helps establish a company culture that gives your employees a sense of pride. That is more important than you might think, especially when it comes to onboarding and retaining young talent; according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report from Achieve, one-third of millennials surveyed said a company’s volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job.

Building team spirit through charity work does everything from putting your employees in a better frame of mind to offering high quality of customer service to helping you more effectively recruit new talent. The bottom line is that a volunteer spirit is good for the heart, the soul, and for your business.

Click here to read about how InfoCision’s services help nonprofits enhance their development and fundraising efforts!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award

The Importance of Staying Connected With Your Employees

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

It’s that dreaded statement no boss wants to hear from his or her superstar employee: “Do you have a moment? I need to talk to you about something.” Sure it can be as harmless as asking a question about a strategic initiative, but it also could be the time when your employee gives notice.

In 2013, 2 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs every month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. What’s more, a 2013 study of workforce culture by Root Inc. revealed the following harrowing employee satisfaction statistics:

  • More than half of employees have felt frustrated about work
  • Only 38 percent feel their managers have established an effective working relationship with them
  • Forty percent are unclear of the company’s vision—or have never even seen it

As a manager executive, it’s time to pump the brakes and ask yourself a very critical question: Do you have a handle on how your employees feel?

Staying connected with your team is not as difficult as you may think, especially in today’s technologically-rich environment. There are a myriad of tactics you can take to remain plugged in…let’s take a look at a few:

  • One-on-One Meetings: A June study released by LeadershipIQ found that employees that spend more time with a direct supervisor experience higher levels of engagement, motivation and inspiration. So what’s the magic number of hours you should spend with your employees one-on-one? Six. Now six hours a week may seem next to impossible, given all you have to handle, so try starting small. Carve out one hour every week to meet with each of your direct reports and focus on listening to them. In addition to asking them to review current projects, suggest that now is the time to bring up anything else on their mind. Create an atmosphere that fosters open communication so your employees know you value their input.
  • Town Hall Sessions: While one-on-ones are an effective tactic for connecting with your employees on a more personal level, holding corporate-wide town hall sessions is optimal to garner overarching sentiment. Select a few times a year—maybe once a quarter or once a month—to invite the entire organization to participate in an open forum. If you have a fairly communicative bunch, you can lead with an open mic session. But if your employees are more reserved, encourage them to submit comments and concerns anonymously via a drop box before the event. You can use these submittals to craft your agenda.
  • Technology Innovations: Chances are at least some of your workforce operates remotely—meaning one-on-ones and town hall sessions can be challenging. Thankfully, technology has evolved to allow you to simulate in-person gatherings. For instance, you can leverage technologies like video/audio conferencing and instant messaging to bolster communication and collaboration. It’s easy for remote workers to feel disconnected, so be sure you don’t leave them out of discussions. Invest in the right technologies—or make good use of what you already have—to  bridge the communication gap.

Remaining connected with your employees is critical to keeping your business thriving. When your employees feel engaged, your quality of customer service, portfolio of offerings and strategic investments benefit considerably. Here at InfoCision, for instance, we maintain an open-door policy where any employee can walk into any executive’s office at any time to share ideas or thoughts.

Looking for more tips to augment your company culture? Check out the following resources:

Cincinnati Bengals Build Organizational Unity Doing the Right Thing

We’ve discussed the importance of building a positive, family-like company culture on this blog before. The Cincinnati Bengals, an NFL team in InfoCision’s home state of Ohio, recently provided a wonderful example of how this can be accomplished.

Not long ago, Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still learned that his four-year-old daughter Leah had pediatric cancer that left her with just a 50 percent chance for long-term survival. Understandably shocked upon hearing the news, Still could not fully participate or focus on Bengals training camp and was cut from the club as a result. The 25-year-old understood and agreed with the team’s decision, until medical professionals told him that his daughter’s treatment could cost up to $1 million. Having been cut from the Bengals roster, Still was no longer insured, which made paying for treatments a tall order.

But the Bengals organization found a solution. They brought Still back as part of the club’s 10-man practice squad—a reserve of players every NFL team maintains—which allowed him to stay on the team’s insurance plan. Additionally, the team gave him permission to leave at any time to spend time with his daughter. Eventually, with the support of the team behind him and the comfort of knowing he could leave to see his daughter whenever he needed, Still was able to concentrate more on football and was actually moved to the team’s active roster for its second game of the season.

But the story didn’t end there. The Bengals also announced that proceeds from sales of Still’s jersey—which cost $100 each—would be donated to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and earmarked for pediatric cancer research. As Still’s story went national, his No. 75 jersey broke the team’s record for sales in a single day; to date, more than $500,000 has been raised from these purchases. Even other NFL teams got involved, with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton buying 100 jerseys himself.

Still’s story went viral nationally and the Bengals received quite a bit of well-deserved positive attention, something every organizations enjoys when it happens. More than that, however, the franchise showed its players and other staffers that it views them as more than just replaceable pieces in a giant machine. The NFL can be a cold business where players are unceremoniously cut for underperforming all the time. But Bengals upper management showed that they value their employees as human beings.

So what are the takeaways from this story? First, it’s unlikely your business will be negatively impacted long-term by doing the right thing for your employees. Second, supporting your employees is actually an intelligent business move. Providing extra support—through on-site childcare or workplace wellness programs, for instance—may cost a little extra upfront, but happier employees are more productive, loyal and better able to deliver a high quality of customer service. In other words, when it comes to your employees, doing the right thing and the smart thing are usually one and the same.