One of Melfo’s first projects after joining Kent State University in fall of 2001 was to reengineer the advancement office’s telefundraising operation. While in place for nearly a decade, and automated since 1996, the operation was failing to generate the results that management had anticipated. To turn it around, Melfo applied a number of tactics that he had developed over his career, the first 10 years of which were focused primarily on phone center management and strategy design. Two of the first and perhaps most important changes made were to the materials used to train new hires, and to the training process itself. In doing so, he replaced a superficial “read this” approach to training with a committed, intensive training process that placed as much – if not more – importance on the theory behind the approach as to the wording itself. As a result, the KSU PhoneCenter experienced the largest growth in its history, more than doubling its output in the first three years following the changes.
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