The issues surrounding adoption are such that many prospective adoptive parents can be put off by the surrounding red tape. Much the same can be said of someone dealing with a crisis pregnancy, who may wish to put their baby up for adoption. In the past, people were often at a loss regarding who to call, but thanks to call centre specialist O’Keeffe and Swartz (OKS), this is no longer the case.
Following the launch of a campaign to make South Africans aware that adoption remains a viable option by Adoption Voice SA - the communication arm of the National Adoption Coalition, representing the entire adoption community of South Africa. OKS offered its technical call centre skills to the project as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.
According to Adéle Smuts, Manager for Contact Centre Operations, MIR and Corporate Social Investment at OKS, the core of the Addoption Campaign is a centralised, unified hub, complete with a website and call centre. She says that OKS runs the hub, providing information and guidance for anyone in the country seeking more knowledge about adoption.
“OKS believes in this campaign and supports it to the best of our ability. Our call centre provides a single point of contact for anyone seeking information about adoption. Whether it is a couple hoping to adopt a child, someone seeking to put a child up for adoption, (an adopted child seeking their birth parents or a parent searching for a child that was previously put up for adoption), we can help,” she says.
“The contact centre has access to the National Adoption Coalition’s database, meaning it is able to provide relevant references to all callers. We can refer them to adoption agencies close to them, as well as doctors, specialists or counsellors, should these be required.”
Smuts says that the campaign went live in early 2011 and has now been running for almost a year. It is, she says, a national project that covers all nine provinces. As a campaign to raise awareness around the issue of adoption, the project has been a phenomenal success, she adds, pointing out that a number of corporations have become involved on a pro bono basis.
“Between the contact centre and web queries, both of which are handled by OKS, I would have to say the volume of contacts we have received since the campaign began has been exceptional. For example, in one month last year we received 3 300 unique visits to the website, with a total of 22 000 page views,” states Smuts.
According to Dee Blackie, strategic consultant to the National Adoption Coalition, the organisation began discussions with OKS at the end of 2010.
“The call centre officially began operations in April 2011, after a couple of months of running it in test phase. OKS has really come to the party for us, sponsoring two full time call centre operators, a manager and a technical expert to support our campaign,” continues Blackie.
“We can clearly see that OKS is thoroughly committed to the programme, the company has taken part in extensive training to familiarise and sensitize them to the world of adoption and related queries and gives us weekly reports on call centre activity.”
Smuts says that from an OKS point of view, taking the decision to become involved with Adoption Voice SA was an easy one to make.
“Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives have always been an important part of doing business in this country. With this project, we saw the perfect opportunity to utilise our specialist talent to do some real good. As experts in the contact centre field, it was an easy matter to set up the operation, and it is a project that has very quickly become very close to our hearts.”
“What is particularly gratifying is that unlike many other CSI projects, which tend to be reactive, this one is proactive, dealing with the root cause issues. We are extremely proud to be involved in a project that is helping children to find permanent homes with loving families. The best part of all is that we are reaching many people who would like to adopt, but don’t know how; thanks to the contact centre and website, we have been able to make these people aware that adoption really is an option,” concludes Smuts.
Issued on behalf of O’Keeffe and Swartz by The Communication Circle.