Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro), a non-profit organization that serves low-income residents in Wayne County, was recently voted one of the Detroit Free Press’100 top places to work in Michigan and a finalist for Crain’s Best Managed Nonprofit for 2015.
When the agency was designated the permanent community action agency for the City of Detroit in early 2015, new methods for serving clients and the community more effectively were implemented. By increasing their digital footprint and developing the Wayne Metro Connect call center, Genius digital learning and information center Wayne Metro is able to offer multiple access options that give clients and staff additional communication channels. Through automated phone messaging, web forms and portals, texting and mobile capabilities for staff to move about the county with ease, the Agency has been able to keep up with demand and still deliver high-quality services.
“Rather than playing a frustrating game of phone tag, action is taken during a client’s first phone call to us,” said Mia Cupp, chief development and communications officer. “The calls never stop coming in and people need help. We have to be efficient with our time and resources, and effective in our methods,” Cupp says.
The first call a client makes to the Wayne Metro Connect Center serves as an eligibility assessment. Appointments are scheduled during that call with the goal being to remove or address potential barriers like transportation or language immediately. Connect Center staff conduct an initial assessment and only those who are deemed eligible move on to the next phase of the process. Those who are not eligible for Wayne Metro services are routed to other appropriate resources.
“Automation, texting, the internet… have opened new channels and have helped to increase our capacity. At the same time, the demand for the high touch face-to-face interactions has also increased. Language, literacy, and the digital divide continue make human services the cornerstone of how we interact with our clients,’ Cupp adds.
Wayne Metro has added translation capabilities to its website and includes Bengali and Arabic as options. It also developed automated reminders to ensure that clients know which documents and materials to bring to their appointment. As a result, no-show rates have been cut in half.
By evolving and changing the way it communicates and delivers services, the Agency has increased its capacity to serve while keeping administrative costs low. The Agency reported a 6% administrative rate and a $30 million operating budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. $.94 of every agency dollar goes to direct client services.
The Free Press Top 100 Workplace rankings are based on an employee satisfaction survey so even amidst change and increases in demand, customer satisfaction ratings and employee morale remains high. The Crain’s Best Managed contest is judged by an esteemed panel of nonprofit management professionals from around the Southeast Michigan region.