Our Referral Service
Professionstar’s Information and Referral Assistance services are front doors to service providers that can assist people at all stages of their life. Our Services is for people who need help to deal with debts, find jobs, fix their credit, fight fraud, get a loan and require assistance for the elderly living at home by providing appropriate information and referral, and also help people with doing it yourself resources and initial guidance. Service we deliver is high-quality, timely, safe and ethical.
Guidelines we follow to develop the best possible referral practices.
- Relationship with Customer.
Effective referral starts with the skills and attitudes of Professionstar Team, including empathy and respect for the customer, a non-judgemental attitude and sensitivity to the needs.
We acknowledge and address the customer’s most pressing needs and concerns and explain the reasons why a particular referral has been made. We avoid a ‘processing’ attitude in which the referral is seen as merely directing people through an impersonal system.
- Customer’s Choice
Where more than one service may assist the customer, we provide them with appropriate information about the range of services available and to let them make up their own minds about which particular service or services they want to use. In doing so, we provide some guidance on any special conditions for using a service. For example, many services would not be available to low income or special needs customers. We make sure to refer customers to the most appropriate service at the right time and avoid a ‘merry-go-round’ of referrals.
- Barriers to other services
We are aware of possible barriers that a customer may experience in using another service and, where feasible and appropriate, work with the service providers to find ways to overcome these barriers. Barriers may include:
- lack of information about services and what is available
- lack of customer capacity or interest in taking up the referral
- waiting lists that are too long to meet the customer’s needs
- language barriers
- difficulties in contacting service providers (eg lack of phone services)
- lack of interpreters
- lack of services particularly in rural and regional areas
- Lack of transport options particularly for disabled or aged customers.
- Developing relationships with the community and other services
Professionstar’s Information & Referral Assistance is a national service and office located in one State will frequently have to make referrals to local services in another State or Territory. In relation to local services, Professionstar will depend upon the information about services that are registered with us. So, it is crucial that the information registered for Service Provider with Professionstar is comprehensive and up to date. We develop common intake and screening processes in conjunction with other services as a way to facilitate referrals. We are conscious about the needs and concerns of other services and attempt to deal with these concerns in our referral practices. For example, other services may be worried about not being able to cope with the volume or type of referrals being made by Professionstar or may fear that the Professionstar will make inappropriate referrals. We develop clear protocols between other service providers in the form of formal agreement which in outline relationships and delineate the roles and responsibilities of collaborating agencies as we understand that when confidential information is shared between coordinating providers, such formal agreements are essential.
5. Genuine Information
Professionstar keeps genuine knowledge of the services provided by other agencies which are available to meet customer needs as responsible to make appropriate referrals. Service Provider is The information registered Provider is comprehensive and that information can be updated at any time directly by service providers.
The following information can be registered on Service Provider with Professionstar :
- name of the provider
- contact name and telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address/s of the provider
- the title of each service provided
- the service type of each service provided
- standardized search keywords for each service provided
- the target audience for each service
- language/s service is provided in
- name of outlet through which each service is provided
- physical and postal address of each outlet through which each service is provided
- coverage area(s) for each service or outlet
- opening hours of the outlets through which each service is provided
- directions, transport information, and accessibility to public transport
- how the service may benefit the customer
- waiting times
- eligibility criteria
- admission and referral policies and procedures
- costs/fees and acceptable methods of payment
- competence in providing services appropriate to the customer’s culture, language, sex, sexual orientation, age, and developmental level, including profiles on strengths and specialist areas.
- Payment to be made for each prospect referral
The choice of referral process depends on the customer needs, what arrangements if any have been agreed with the service to which the customer is to be referred and the capacity of both the referring organization and the service to which the customer is being referred at any particular point in time.
Referral processes can take many forms. The table below outlines examples of referral processes and the advantage and disadvantages of each. Referral processes can occur in a telephone environment, in face to face settings or in the form of written communication (including e-mail) or a combination of these channels. A referral process selected may combine the aspect of each of these processes. For example, referrals may be active and warm or facilitated and cold.
For the reasons outlined in the table, Professionstar uses facilitated, warm and/or active referral processes where feasible, especially for customers who are likely to have trouble using other services without assistance.
|Possible term||Characteristics||Possible advantages and disadvantages|
|Passive referral||The customer is given contact information for appropriate service(s) and is left to make her/his own contact at a time that best suits the customer.||This process gives responsibility to the customer to take action on their own behalf. However, there is a greater likelihood that the referral will not be taken up.|
|Facilitated referral||The customer is helped to access the other service, for example, the referring organisation makes an appointment with the other service on the customer’s behalf, asks the other service to make contact with the customer/s or a caller is transferred to the other service.||The other service is made aware of the customer, and the customer is helped to access that other service. The customer may need to wait for a response to the other service.|
|Active referral||The referring organisation, with the customer’s consent, provides the organisation to which it is referring the customer with information that it has collected about the customer or with its professional assessment of the customer’s needs.||The customer does not need to repeat all of their stories and the agency to which the customer is referred has relevant information about the customer. However, there is a risk that the information is communicated out of context and therefore misinterpreted by the service which is receiving the referral, especially if not done as a ‘warm’ referral (see below).|
|Cold referral||The customer is transferred to another service, without any immediate communication between the Centre or the Advice Line and the other services, for example, by putting the customer into a call centre queue.||The other service may be unaware of the nature of the call or of any information or services that have already been provided. The customer may be frustrated that they have to re-tell their story or may not communicate their needs in a way that allows the other service to see why the customer has been referred.|
|Warm referral||A ‘live’ three-way conversation in the presence of the customer (whether face to face or by telephone) in which the referring organisation introduces the customer, explains what has already been done to assist the customer and why the customer is being referred.||This provides an open and transparent process in which information can be exchanged between the Centre, the customer and the other service. Issues can be clarified immediately. The customer does not need to repeat all of their stories.
The process relies on someone being available at the other service at the time the customer is to be referred.