JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Force Recruiting Service’s strive to become an integrated recruiting enterprise took a big step forward as Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention signed on to be part of the newly merged Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center beginning April 15, 2020.
“Transitioning to the integrated lead refinement and call center is a major milestone in the Air National Guard’s Total Force recruiting initiatives,” said Brig. Gen. April Vogel, Director of National Guard Bureau’s Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting and Services. “Additional integration efforts we are currently pursuing include joining the Air Force national marketing and advertising contract, integrating positions into the AFRS staff, and conducting a pilot study to identify opportunities to integrate with Air Force recruiting squadrons.”
The Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center will provide the ANG with a needed service, since its marketing contract recently expired. The ANG call center was managed by a commercial vendor from August 2018 until July 2019. After July 2019, the calls were managed organically by the ANG Marketing Branch.
“The ANG integrating with the Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center is innovative because it creates a virtual connection for applicants and provides seamless and continuous access to information.” Vogel said. “By capitalizing on the existing call center infrastructure, the ANG will be able to offer callers extended service hours to include nights and weekends.”
It will also enable the Air Force to have one voice in conveying the Air Force message.
“By joining the integrated lead refinement and call center, the Air National Guard helps to create a consistent experience for prospects across components – Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty,” said Col. Nashid Salahuddin, ANG Recruiting and Retention Division chief.
“This is a big win for the Air Force since it provides for a single message to the public, and that is the Air Force provides part-time and full-time jobs, in and out of a uniform,” said Senior Master Sgt. Randy Rodriguez, an Air Force Reservist who is the AFRS Integration Cell project manager for call center integration.
A big part of having one message to potential recruits is an improved service for customers and assuring they have information to make an informed decision.
“From a customer perspective, it provides for a better experience,” Rodriguez said. “When a prospect calls the lead refinement and call center, he or she is pre-qualified based on eligibility standards for each component. If it is determined that the prospect is a better fit for the ANG, the lead refinement and call center is now able to route that lead to the appropriate recruiter versus directing the prospect to call another number or a different web page. In essence, this helps to eliminate the confusion of shopping around and getting immediate answers at a one-stop shop.”
While improving the customer’s interaction and overall service is critical, there are also some analytical advantages to being part of the Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center.
“Having the 1-800-ToGoANG calls routed through the same call center as regular Air Force calls will have a positive effect on data collection and analysis,” Vogel said. “Data on trends across the components will be more readily available and identified.”
“We’ll also improve our ability to analyze call data to determine which marketing campaigns and events are most successful,” Salhuddin said.
The Total Force Integration Cell conducted its first meeting in May 2019 with each of the components. The ANG is the first to sign on to the Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center. For the integration team, it’s been a learning experience for future integration plans.
“There is a big sense of satisfaction to see it finally come to fruition,” Rodriguez said. “This learning curve provides a clear roadmap as other stakeholders are added into the Total Force Lead Refinement and Call Center. Plans are to bring Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps), Air Force Academy, Air Force Civilian Service and Air Force Reserve recruiting to the integrated lead refinement and call center within the next 12 months.”
The Air Force is embarking on a Total Force recruiting enterprise approach to recruit the nation’s best talent. In addition to recruiting for the regular Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, Total Force recruiting also encompasses the Air Force Academy admissions, Air Force Civilian Service and Air Force ROTC.