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Some businesses are known for their legendary customer service – think of Southwest Airlines no-fees and friendly flight experience, or Nordstrom’s infamous hassle-free return policy, or that one small business in your community that always goes above and beyond to know your name or provide you with a great shopping moment. These awesome experiences are also often found within our 211 programs – we hear about specialists staying longer than expected on a call to ensure a first responder arrives or connecting a caller to the “back door” of a provider to help process an urgent application for services, and we’ve all heard the wonderful stories of how a 211 organization rallied around a family where there were no other resources available to help the situation.  

With a foundation in the AIRS standards, here are three ways your team can deliver awesome experiences to every caller and three questions for a self-assessment of awesomeness.   

  • Empower Your Team – Don’t make your team wait for "supervisor approval” to go the extra mile for a caller. Celebrate and encourage specialists to go out of their way to help callers. 
  •  Deeper Referral Experience – Everything from warm transfers, to helping callers complete applications, to scheduling appointments, to dispatching rides, to follow up calls, to providing direct services are all ways your team can deliver an awesome experience along with referrals.
  • Follow up because you want to follow-up - Follow-up calls should not be the bare minimum burden to try to complete after everything else is done. Authentically engage with as many of your callers as possible to proactively check in on their status of getting help. This helps callers know you are an ally in their quest for services and helps your organization learn about what is working and what is not in your community.  

Self-Assessment for Awesomeness 

  • Are there diverse members of your community, leaders of color, and representatives of diverse advocacy groups engaged in training your staff, serving on your board, and advising on the service delivery protocols in your contact center? 
  • Does your 211 have the reputation for being a go-to organization to solve community problems? Does your staff participate in local issue-based coalitions and committees? 
  • Does your 211 team provide traditional and digital referrals tailored to the needs of diverse segments of your community?