CliniClowns: the power of positivity in each and every contact
Looking to use a group of volunteers to run your webcare (online customer support) operations, keep an eye on expenses and at the same time keep your service level high, and professional? This is currently the case at CliniClowns. Seven days a week, agents from the webcare agency Scooperz are working side by side with a group of volunteers in the webcare department and monitoring everything that’s going on. It’s all tightly arranged, efficiently, and delivered with a lot of pleasure and a lot of positivity. We spoke to Sarah Comajta, Content Strategist & Webcare Manager at CliniClowns, about how she and her team are accomplishing it all.
At CliniClowns they believe that it’s the carefree, no-worry moments that give people a sense of strength and positivity. Sick children forget they’re sick for a while, and people with dementia or a disability feel seen and understood. And almost everyone knows the clowns that make these kinds of nice and carefree moments possible.
Social media and webcare: starting from zero
Sarah started working for the foundation five years ago after years of experience in business. It was her job to set up the content branch. She explains: “When I started, our social channels were still in their infancy and our webcare was not yet optimally invested. First, I tried to figure out which channels people were contacting us through, and what we were doing with the response. I also looked at how the organisation was listening to our target groups, how we could ‘tell our story’ in the best way possible and how we could build a valuable relationship with our target groups.”
With her sleeves rolled up, Sarah set to work with a concrete strategy in which she laid down what the role of content should be, how the webcare should be set up and how to respond to current developments. “We wanted to show society who we are and what we stand for. We would prefer to just be able to bring everyone into the hospital to show them exactly what we do, but that’s not always possible. So we had to come up with a way to show the positive effect of the CliniClowns, in an online platform.”
High engagement through positivity, service and experience
According to Sarah, engagement between the organisation and the target group is extremely important. “CliniClowns visit sick children and people with disabilities or dementia who desperately need to feel the power of laughter. They make a heavy situation lighter. And we want to pass that positive force on to everyone who comes into contact with us or who visits our socials as well. We also think that good service and customer experience are very important. A webcare and monitoring tool such as OBI Engage makes this so much easier to achieve. Messages arrive in a clear way, making it easy to help people immediately and ensure a first-time fix. It also helps us to work together efficiently with the software, create searches and monitor sentiments and respond immediately to these when necessary. We also publish directly from OBI Engage, which helps us to plan well and measure and analyse the results.”
Webcare agents and volunteers working seamlessly together
The special part about this story is that the webcare is partially run by a team of volunteers. “We work with a team of professional agents from a webcare agency, but we also have a pool of volunteers who run our webcare operations in the evenings and on the weekends. This makes for a very diverse webcare team. This volunteer pool includes communication professionals, but also managers of large companies or the children’s parents, who are selflessly committed to us. They all have a different background and motivation. The collaboration between professionals and volunteers is seamless, not only in the tooling itself, but also as we really help each other forward. There are even volunteers who eventually went for a paid job in webcare.”
The amount of positive interactions within webcare is striking. Sarah explains that “Many of the parents of sick children share the special moments between a CliniClown and their child on our socials. Other parents draw strength from this in their own difficult moments and donors see what they are all achieving with their support. We see, via our messaging channels WhatsApp and Facebook Messaging, that not only questions are received about, for example, donations or changes of address, but also requests from parents, sick children themselves and care institutions who want to know whether the clowns can also come and visit them. Fortunately, the lines with the planning department are short, which means that we can often respond positively and immediately to these requests.”
Live chat during peak times
Live chat has a different role within Sarah’s team. “If we have a major campaign running or we appear in a television program, we then expect a lot of traffic to our website. We switch on the live chat function at those moments so we can answer the large volume of questions directly, and in a personal way.”
The monitoring function also offers a lot of added value for the organisation. “Storytelling and user-generated content are important pillars in our content strategy. In order to hear what the target groups for which we play think of the clown visit, we closely monitor what they say. How did they experience the visit and what did it bring about in both the short and long term? They often share this on their social media accounts. We also see videos and fantastic photos of the visit. This is not only extremely valuable for our internal reflection, but we can also use these stories to our best advantage within our communications. Because monitoring and webcare are integrated with OBI4Wan, we are able to ask immediately whether we can use someone’s experience or story in our communications”, says Sarah.