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Asking the Second Question

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Presentation on theme: "Asking the Second Question"— Presentation transcript:

1 Asking the Second Question
Sandra Ray, CIRS Manager, Information and Referral United Way of Greater Houston

2 Workshop Objectives Define the “second question”
Discuss why going beyond the stated need is important Learn methods to probe for additional information Determine when to follow-up on calls that have multiple needs Learn to close calls when multiple needs have been disclosed

3 What is the Second Question?
AIRS definition – there isn’t one Second questions come after inquirer describes their initial situation It isn’t always a question either

4 Definition Clarifying a caller’s full situation to help him/her obtain services Or Listening to callers, providing feedback, and asking open-ended questions that may be related to the caller’s primary need.

5 Open-Ended Questions Invite a caller to give more than a yes/no answer
Gives the caller the feeling that specialists are interested in the full story May lead to other issues that the specialist is not necessarily expecting or equipped to answer

6 Closed Questions Require only a short answer Name Address
How much do you owe on rent? When are you scheduled for eviction?

7 Using Both Types of Questions
Both types of questions are needed to assist callers Callers can be redirected from a lengthy response to a short response with closed questions Helps the I&R specialist maintain control of the conversation.

8 So…What is the Second Question?
Why? How? Tell me more… When that happened, what did you do?

9 Getting More Detailed Why?
What is the caller’s perception of this event and why they need assistance Why questions allow the caller time to reflect Or Vent

10 Caller Perceptions Is the caller open to the specialist probing for more information? Perception = how we see the world or other people; our view of reality Perception for callers IS reality

11 Learning about a Situation
How? Asks for details about the time-frame or steps involved in the situation May also include the manner or extent of a situation (to the degree) Allows callers to describe reasons for a situation

12 Tell Me More… Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to learn specifics This is a statement that asks callers to expand on the nature of a situation Not necessarily looking for someone’s “life history” – only what happened to cause an event (job loss, need for food, etc.)

13 Final Details What did you do when that happened?
Gives insight into a caller’s coping skills How others in the situation react to the caller Family, friends, social network may also be revealed this way

14 How to Ask the Second Question
Use sound judgment Asking the second question isn’t optional May involve commenting on what the specialist hears in the caller’s… Tone of voice Background noise (baby crying, etc.) Emotions displayed by the caller (crying, yelling, etc.)

15 If It’s Not Optional…??? It may not always be appropriate
Caller expectations of service will drive call specialist conversation Only needed a number or address Does not want to give too much personal information

16 All You Wanted to Know… Plus anything the caller will tell you
Callers often reveal significant pieces of their life story If the specialist isn’t equipped to handle the answer – let an experienced staff member or supervisor ask

17 Staying “On Task” Easy for call specialist to lose focus of initial reason for the call Always bring conversation back around to the initial need Other barriers may be revealed – ask caller to prioritize needs

18 Following Up Is a follow-up necessary?
Can caller follow through on their own? When following up, have specific goals that should have been met Caller will see if funds are available Caller will have made an appointment Specialist will have made other contacts to see if additional issues can be addressed.

19 Wrapping Up Rephrase the important issues in the call
Restate the caller’s next step to resolve their situation Remind caller of referral options and best methods for access End call on a positive note

20 Scenario 1 A mother with three children calls asking for assistance with an electric bill. She states that her husband left her and withdrew all money from their joint checking and savings accounts.

21 Scenario 2 A woman age 64 calls to see if someone can help her understand a letter she received from the food stamp office. She applied for services and was denied. She tells you that she is raising her 14 year-old grand daughter and expenses are tight.

22 Scenario 3 A man, age 52, states that his daughter recently moved back home after being away at college. The expenses are more than he and his wife can afford. The daughter does not have a job. The man asks for help paying the daughter’s car payment and car insurance.

23 Famous Second Questions from 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE
What is your drug of choice? Who was the last agency that you talked to? Who have you received help from recently? (Make sure you define recent.) If you are not able to receive help from an agency, how will you meet this need? Is transportation accessible to you? How far are you able to travel to receive services?

24 United Way of Greater Houston
Questions/Answers Sandra Ray, CIRS Manager, I&R Services United Way of Greater Houston 50 Waugh Drive Houston, TX 77007

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