My staff are resistant to the roll out of Adviceline. How do I convince them that it’s the right thing to do?
People cope with change in different ways. We recommend regular communication with your team and that you use a variety of methods to inform and engage with your staff. Demonstrating the benefits of Adviceline and the differences it will make to bureau customers is key to a successful implementation.
There are a number of ways to engage with your team including workshops, team meetings/briefings, circulating Adviceline publicity materials, newsletters, recruiting champions, etc.
CitA and HAP can offer help and support in this area.
Many of my volunteers work here because they want to help their local communities not for some impersonal call centre. How do I encourage them to stay?
The majority of CAB volunteers joined the service to help clients in the best way they can. Whilst they may have misgivings about the idea of a “call centre” it is important to remember that they will be helping a greater number of clients to gain access to the right information and advice, as part of a much wider network.
It’s important to stress that Hampshire Adviceline is not an impersonal call centre; it’s dealing with clients on the phone – just as we currently do.
How do we recruit volunteers if our advisors choose to leave?
There are a number of ways to encourage people to consider becoming a volunteer for the bureau. These include:
- Extending opening hours - this may interest people who work during the day to volunteer to work after 5pm
- Sharing volunteers with other agencies
- Targeting employee volunteering schemes – one hour during the working day and one hour after
- Making it possible to volunteer from home
- Housing volunteers off site - space in a local call centre
- Sharing space and facilities with the Local Authority (one stop shops etc)
- Publicity including press releases, radio interviews, local newspaper columns, bureau website, Do It website, partner websites.
We offer a local service to our local community. If the calls are being answered by people outside of our area I’m worried that important information might be missed.
We appreciate that individual bureaux know of problem issues or areas specific to their communities. The purpose of Adviceline is to capture only the details of the caller and their problem and not to personalise the report with anecdotal evidence or possible bias. At a later date it is hoped that local information from bureaux will be available on a national database, enabling tailored help for everyone.
Hampshire Advice Plus has just completed a pilot with Andover bureau to test out an on-line database of agencies and other service providers. Our Gateway Consistency Working Group is also looking at this issue as well as how to share emergency contacts. We hope to share the outcomes of these discussions more widely soon.
Call centres are impersonal – many people are put off by them. How will Hampshire Adviceline address this?
We prefer to think of Hampshire Adviceline as a customer contact centre, enabling as many people as possible to get the help and advice they need from assessors who handle their call with compassion and empathy.
Selling the benefits to clients of the new ways of working is important. Early publicity about the changes should help dispel some of the myths and encourage people who might not have accessed the service before to give it a try.
Many people are put off by multiple call options. How many will Hampshire Adviceline have?
Fortunately, there are only 4. On connection, the caller receives a welcome message and then given the option of:
- speaking to an advisor who then completes a Gateway Assessment.
- listening to recorded information
- being transferred to other help lines, or
- being transferred to an assessor at one of CitA's Physical Contact Centres
Younger people tend to be more comfortable working in this type of environment. How do we encourage them to volunteer for us?
Forging links with further and higher educational establishments and the personal approach always works best. Students’ Unions and Freshers’ Fairs are a good place to start as is targeting courses with students who are most likely to be interested in people or problem resolution, such as social sciences, law or teaching.
Our funders may be concerned that their funding is subsidising another bureau. How can I convince them not to remove their funding and give it to someone else?
Keeping them informed of progress and demonstrating the ongoing value of Hampshire Adviceline is crucial. They will need to be reassured from the outset that their investment will continue to benefit local clients but also those in the outlying communities. Focusing on the increasing numbers of enquiries handled and the positive outcomes this will bring should continue funders to maintain their relationship with bureaux.
CitA and HAP can offer advice on communications to help the process.
Will our workload increase?
Yes. Adviceline increases the number of calls that assessors can handle which, in turn, lead to an increase in casework. Identifying the services you are going to be able to deliver along with the resources you will need at an early stage will help address this increase in demand.