The Adopt Line Team
Virtual Front Line of APA!
What I Hope to Accomplish
• Familiarize you with the adopt line
(adopt@) team
• Go through some of the tools adopt@
uses i...
Adopt@ or Adopt Line
• Answers all emails coming into the
adopt@austinpetsalive.org address
• Answers all vmails coming in...
Adopt@’s Task:
For adoption inquiries:
• Locate each rescued animal within our
system and facilitate the meeting between
t...
Adopt@’s Task:
For other inquiries we answer if able, or
forward to the correct group for handling:
– PR - Accounting
– Vo...
Amazing Growth in 2+ years
– Nov 2009 – average of 30 emails/vmails per day
– Jan 2012 – average of 150 emails/vmails per ...
Where We Are Today
• Group of ~10 volunteers answers emails
and phone messages 365 days a year, 14
hours a day
• Most resp...
How Did We Get Here?
• Organic growth (started small – 2
volunteers)
• Constant recruiting/training
• Team leader has to:
...
How We Do What We Do
• Where do emails and vmails come
from?
• What tools do we use to respond?
Where do emails come from?
• Saw animals or contact information on our
website
• Petfinder ad
• Craig’s List ad
• Saw one ...
Where do vmails come from?
• Saw main phone number on our website
• Yellow Pages
• Misc other
Tools
• Google Mail
• Google Calendar
• Google Voice
• Google Documents
Why Gmail?
• Widespread Use
• Ease of use with companion products
(Google Docs, Voice & Calendar)
• Threading
• Canned res...
Gmail - Threading
Gmail - The Canned Response
Gmail - The Canned Response
Google Calendar
• Volunteers sign up as they have time.
• There are no preset days/hours per
volunteer.
Adopt@ Google Calendar
Why Google Voice?
• Transcribes and forwards vmails to gmail
inbox
– Most calls can be handled without a callback
• Free c...
Vmail Transcribing
Making a Call from GVoice
Calling Back From GVoice
Google Documents
• One set of documents to be
updated/edited
• Great for sharing guidelines, new
protocols, etc
• Owners o...
Google Docs
Resource Guide – Getting Started
Google Docs
Dog Foster Spreadsheet
How We Work
• Computer with multi-tab browser
– Adopt@ Inbox
– Calendar
– Petpoint
– Foster Dog Tracking Sheet
– APA Websi...
6 tabs workstation
The Nitty Gritty
• Manual contains detailed instruction on
how to get all set up and then answer our
top 4 inquiries:
• Si...
Benefits of a Strong Adopt Line
Team
• Higher number of adoptions
• Extended hours of service
• Clear and uniform communic...
Questions/Comments?
Returns
Dealing Successfully With a Reality of
Rescue
APA’s Return Policy
From our website:
APA! will take back any newly adopted pet if the
adoption does not work out for any ...
APA’s Contractual Requirement
“I agree not to sell, trade, or transfer
ownership of this animal. I agree not to
dispose of...
APA’s Return Rate
• In spite of our open door policy, APA’s
return rate is 9% vs national average of 8-
12%
• Barring extr...
Return Reasons
• Health (of adopter or of pet)
• Behavioral
• Moving
• Lack of pet housing
• Lack of time
• Divorce/loss o...
Return Procedure
• Adopter contacts APA with a return
• Return personnel get more information to see if
behavioral, medica...
Detailed Documentation In Manual
• Return Documentation Emailed Out
– Dog return email
– Cat return email
– APA Owner Surr...
The Odd Ones
• Pet found, owner can’t be reached
• Pet turned in as stray to other shelter
• Owner surrender to other shel...
How To Handle Returns Gracefully
and Why
• Regardless of the validity of reasons given, APA return personnel
arrange for t...
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The adopt line team

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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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The adopt line team

  1. 1. The Adopt Line Team Virtual Front Line of APA!
  2. 2. What I Hope to Accomplish • Familiarize you with the adopt line (adopt@) team • Go through some of the tools adopt@ uses in order to be effective • Show you why you need a similar group • Illustrate how to build your own adopt@ team
  3. 3. Adopt@ or Adopt Line • Answers all emails coming into the adopt@austinpetsalive.org address • Answers all vmails coming into APA’s main number (currently no live answering of phone line, all calls go to vmail) • 100% volunteers, we take turns manning the adopt@ ‘inbox’
  4. 4. Adopt@’s Task: For adoption inquiries: • Locate each rescued animal within our system and facilitate the meeting between the adopter and that dog or cat • Get back to the adopter promptly with detailed instructions on how to meet that dog or cat • Offer up alternatives if the adopter’s first choice doesn’t work out
  5. 5. Adopt@’s Task: For other inquiries we answer if able, or forward to the correct group for handling: – PR - Accounting – Volunteer Group - Management – Donations - Marketing – Medical - Fosters – Records - Adoptions Counselors
  6. 6. Amazing Growth in 2+ years – Nov 2009 – average of 30 emails/vmails per day – Jan 2012 – average of 150 emails/vmails per day Daily rate 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Dec-09 Feb-10 Apr-10 Jun-10 Aug-10 Oct-10 Dec-10 Feb-11 Apr-11 Jun-11 Aug-11 Oct-11 Dec-11 Daily rate
  7. 7. Where We Are Today • Group of ~10 volunteers answers emails and phone messages 365 days a year, 14 hours a day • Most responses go out within the hour • Responses are standardized • Volunteers can respond from work, home, school, anywhere they have access to a computer w/ internet • Average response takes under 1 minute
  8. 8. How Did We Get Here? • Organic growth (started small – 2 volunteers) • Constant recruiting/training • Team leader has to: – Have good customer service skills – Have to be able to pitch in as needed – Be organized – Have good people management skills – Be familiar with APA’s structure & operations
  9. 9. How We Do What We Do • Where do emails and vmails come from? • What tools do we use to respond?
  10. 10. Where do emails come from? • Saw animals or contact information on our website • Petfinder ad • Craig’s List ad • Saw one of our adoption sites • Misc other
  11. 11. Where do vmails come from? • Saw main phone number on our website • Yellow Pages • Misc other
  12. 12. Tools • Google Mail • Google Calendar • Google Voice • Google Documents
  13. 13. Why Gmail? • Widespread Use • Ease of use with companion products (Google Docs, Voice & Calendar) • Threading • Canned responses
  14. 14. Gmail - Threading
  15. 15. Gmail - The Canned Response
  16. 16. Gmail - The Canned Response
  17. 17. Google Calendar • Volunteers sign up as they have time. • There are no preset days/hours per volunteer.
  18. 18. Adopt@ Google Calendar
  19. 19. Why Google Voice? • Transcribes and forwards vmails to gmail inbox – Most calls can be handled without a callback • Free call backs • Protection of identity
  20. 20. Vmail Transcribing
  21. 21. Making a Call from GVoice
  22. 22. Calling Back From GVoice
  23. 23. Google Documents • One set of documents to be updated/edited • Great for sharing guidelines, new protocols, etc • Owners of documents from other groups can invite adopt@ easily • Examples of docs we share:
  24. 24. Google Docs Resource Guide – Getting Started
  25. 25. Google Docs Dog Foster Spreadsheet
  26. 26. How We Work • Computer with multi-tab browser – Adopt@ Inbox – Calendar – Petpoint – Foster Dog Tracking Sheet – APA Website – The Adoptline Resource Guide
  27. 27. 6 tabs workstation
  28. 28. The Nitty Gritty • Manual contains detailed instruction on how to get all set up and then answer our top 4 inquiries: • Site dog • Foster dog • Cattery cat • Foster cat
  29. 29. Benefits of a Strong Adopt Line Team • Higher number of adoptions • Extended hours of service • Clear and uniform communication • Reduce burden on other departments • Help to avert problems & aid in quick resolution
  30. 30. Questions/Comments?
  31. 31. Returns Dealing Successfully With a Reality of Rescue
  32. 32. APA’s Return Policy From our website: APA! will take back any newly adopted pet if the adoption does not work out for any reason. Please e- mail us at adopt@austinpetsalive.org to start the return process. If you are having behavioral or medical issues with the pet, please specify the problem as APA! may be able to assist. Pets that have been in your care for over 30 days will have to go through our PASS program that is set up to assist owners in rehoming their pets.
  33. 33. APA’s Contractual Requirement “I agree not to sell, trade, or transfer ownership of this animal. I agree not to dispose of this pet in any way, but to notify APA! if I must relinquish custody of this pet at any time. I understand that if the relationship does not work out regardless of the time frame, I am to give APA! the first opportunity to accept the pet.”
  34. 34. APA’s Return Rate • In spite of our open door policy, APA’s return rate is 9% vs national average of 8- 12% • Barring extreme behavior or health problems, all returned cats and dogs find new homes
  35. 35. Return Reasons • Health (of adopter or of pet) • Behavioral • Moving • Lack of pet housing • Lack of time • Divorce/loss of job/death • Changed mind
  36. 36. Return Procedure • Adopter contacts APA with a return • Return personnel get more information to see if behavioral, medical or resource help will prevent return • If the return is necessary, an email is sent out to the adopter in order to get valuable behavioral and medical information prior to taking animal back • Appropriate groups within APA notified • Arrangements are made with adopter to return cat or dog to APA • Good adopters get the option of an exchange
  37. 37. Detailed Documentation In Manual • Return Documentation Emailed Out – Dog return email – Cat return email – APA Owner Surrender Form
  38. 38. The Odd Ones • Pet found, owner can’t be reached • Pet turned in as stray to other shelter • Owner surrender to other shelter
  39. 39. How To Handle Returns Gracefully and Why • Regardless of the validity of reasons given, APA return personnel arrange for the return in a polite, supportive way • Especially in the more trying cases, any other response endangers the animal • In some cases, a totally supportive response actually leads to the adopter deciding to keep the animal • Adopters are often traumatized by having to return their pet, and a supportive staff can help minimize the stress on people and animal alike • For those adoptions where it was a bad match but a good adopter, many times we can successfully place another pet into that home • Almost all returns are readopted and end up in a better fit/situation

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