Outreach Experts is a full service outreach and engagement shop with a proficiency in technology integration and a passion for innovating with mobile applications built to integrate all forms of contact online and off. Being full services means we can start with research and close with implementation. Everything that happens in the middle as is it relates to outreach is our core expertise. Explore the four vignettes below to get a better sense of what we do for our clients.
Research can mean many different things depending on the questions which require answering. But for us at Outreach Experts, research always begins with listening. Often it means listening to the views of a very specific set of stakeholders right in their living room or on their front porch as is this case in this story.
For nearly two decades our client operated a facility without any residential neighbors but for the last ten years a residential subdivision had really become the neighborhood as the development progressed towards completion. Yet, despite 349 families now living adjacent to the facility nothing really changed as far as the facility's operations were concerned.This would soon become a problem for that facility and company. In fact, it would all change due to a group of residents who began to complain loudly about the facility and its seeming refusal to address residents legitimate concerns.
The last bit really concerned our client as it was caught off guard by the complaints. The company thought it had a handle on grievance management through a hotline and forms it put online. What we learned right away was that those forms were rarely reviewed in an inbox that no one received notifications about and neighbors to the facility never knew about the hotline. So, we were dispatched to help them develop an understanding of the community complaints.
For this assignment the methodology was clear gather data upfront about residents and deploy a community canvass with a survey to be collected at the door. This approach was perfect for a small universe of residents whose opinions were the only ones that really mattered in this context.
Field means different things to different people but for those with a background in outreach they know it means you are out of the office and out from behind the desk. It is likely you are in a neighborhood or in someone's living room. For us field work means direct and personal contact. It means canvassing or survey deployment. it means customer service delivered right at the door.
We think of the field as the neighborhoods or the communities. The field is the place where you get to experience the local issues through the eyes of those living there. We walk their streets. We read the same newspapers. We get coffee at the local shops. We follow government closely. We spend our time talking and learning about what it is like to live there so that we may share a similar understanding of what life is like in their community.
In the case of our client's facility that is now surrounded by a residential neighborhood, it meant door knocking those 349 homes and beginning with listening followed by a second, third and fourth visit over as many months to answer questions, solve problems and to properly catalogue the list of grievances and concerns neighbors had
With experience comes a confidence that enables us to think creatively about engagement, experiences and outreach. At Outreach Experts we don't like to rinse, wash and repeat our work for clients. There is no fun in that and we know from our experience that all projects are different in important ways. Realizing that we choose creative solutions that are designed to push our clients outside of their comfort zone when it comes to outreach and engagement.
When it came to our clients facility and our work over a number of months we learned a lot about those 349 families. We learned they wanted and needed a direct way to give feedback and a formal way to file a grievance. Whatever process was created we knew it needed a feedback loop and a stated process for resolving problems and tracking unresolved issues. So, we set out to create a grievance management system that would be scalable beyond just one facility and one neighborhood.
The result was a highly visible neighbor center on the companies corporate website. There anyone could complete a web form that would share their information and enable them to log a grievance or simply signup for information. Once someone generated the form they were emailed an activation link which would guide them through a process of gathering contact and home address information. When this 3 - minute process was complete the user would now have an account in the neighborhood center which when logged into the center would display all of the company's facilities within a 25-mile radius in proximity order. On that same page were a series of comment forms that a user could fill out to log a grievance or log a compliment. We also enabled users to connect to corporate social accounts and view videos collected from supportive neighbors across the country.
In the end, what creative meant in this example is our ability to see beyond the specific problem of this facility and see the larger opportunity to create a solution for the company not just the facility. What began as a problem became a new and creative way to listen to communities and collect the right sorts of information about stakeholders along the way.
Most of the tools that we use are about helping our clients reach stakeholders, sway decision makers, and share stories of support for community projects to name a few. These tools are constantly evolving and change with the project. Yet, the consistent tool across all of our work is the contact relationship management database.
Everything we do in the field; every contact; every comment must be captured and preserved for review and analysis. Every contact online and every comment made on a social property should be tracked so as to be better understood. In the case of our client's facility this work was essential to the success because of the various channels where a stakeholder could log a complaint or compliment.
In this case, we chose a social CRM that enabled us to enter manually contacts made in the field but more importantly connected to all forms in the neighbor center and all social accounts owned by the company. The tool wove together contact made in the field and contact made online and across various social channels. The result of this integration was both a more actively listening facility and company but now a clear visibility into issues which more often than not were solved by simply helping a company become a better neighbor.
The Outreach Experts Network is about collaboration, shared resources, and shared opportunity. We can’t do it all so we are organizing those that can be part of the team.
Our view is that collaboration trumps competition when it comes to how we engage with other consultants and the deployment of talent. That is why we created a place for professionals to leverage their expertise and place for employers to find professionals who are Outreach Experts.