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Live Chat for Information & Referral Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Fran Spadafora Manzella, 2-1-1 Tompkins, Ithaca NY Jill Wolski Ordonez,

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Presentation on theme: "Live Chat for Information & Referral Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Fran Spadafora Manzella, 2-1-1 Tompkins, Ithaca NY Jill Wolski Ordonez,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Live Chat for Information & Referral Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Fran Spadafora Manzella, 2-1-1 Tompkins, Ithaca NY Jill Wolski Ordonez, United Way 2-1-1 and Crisis Hotline, Albany NY

2 Questions: How many centers in the room already offer chat? How many would like to offer chat? What other services would you like to offer online? What are your concerns about moving I&R services online? What prevents you from moving in this direction?

3 Overview: 1. Learn about our Chat Services 2. Operational Considerations for Implementing Chat

4 Chat at our Centers 1. Rochester – 2-1-1/LIFE LINE Chat and Veterans Chat Back-Up 2. Albany – Crisis Chat 3. Ithaca – 2-1-1 Chat

5 Communication is migrating from voice to other channels The average U.S. mobile phone subscriber now sends and receives more text messages than voice calls. -Nielson Mobile, September 2008 ml Instant Messaging is wildly popular, disproportionately so for younger age groups. 14.2 billion messages per month (2006)

6 Why add Live Chat? Are we in the “Phone” business ? Or are we in the “Helping” business?

7 Chat Keeps I&R in the Helping Business: Accessibility to inquirers is a core principle of I&R Inquirers who are deaf/hearing impaired Inquirers who have speech impairment Inquirers who prefer the medium to telephone Inquirers who do not have access to a phone but do have access to internet Enhancement to public searching your website

8 Common areas of concern about Chat: Can text adequately convey the complexity of human emotion and compassion? What is my center’s liability? How do we send rescue in emergencies? What technology platform should I use? How much volume will we receive? How do I train staff to provide service online? How can I ensure I have enough staff/volunteers to meet demand, without any new funding?

9 Mitigating Liability Disclaimers IT Security

10 Choosing Chat Software Cost One time On-going Security Ease of Use Ease of Installation and Set-Up Desired features

11 Choosing Chat Staff Not all staff are created equal when it comes to chat In addition to excellent I&R skills chat specialists should demonstrate: the ability to multi-task have the ability to work under pressure have strong written communication skills have strong typing skills preferably have previous experience using IM or other chat services.

12 Training chat staff Trained I&R Specialists Training Manual/Guidelines Software Training Practice Chats

13 Differences in Chat Tone of voice/inflections are not present Increased importance on clear, concise language Discourages use of slang and humor Need to “read” the communication style of your visitor and respond accordingly Chat segment style Chat length is generally longer than call length to cover the same material. Need to consider this when staffing chat Takes longer to type than speak Chat culture – inquirers might be multi-tasking while chatting Expectation for chat staff different in terms of response time

14 Chat Process Identical to I&R Process Listen Assess Action Plan Close Active listening skills such as paraphrasing and reflection of feeling are still critical to having good contact Opportunity to assist with online database navigation

15 Operational Decisions Availability Multiple chats Use of chat slang, abbreviations and emoticons Canned Responses Information collected from chat visitors Documentation and reporting considerations Promotion/marketing

16 Chat Dilemmas Suicide Emergencies and other emergencies – considerations in sending emergency services Out of service area/out of country chats Prank chats Opening links sent from chat visitors Contact from “bots” Repeat chat visitors

17 Supervision and Evaluation of Chat Services Self-evaluation by chat staff Monitoring of chats in real-time Review transcripts of chats Post-chat feedback survey

18 2-1-1 Chat Demonstration

19 Crisis Chat A national chat concept

20 How “Crisis Chat” started… Unsolicited E-mails to Crisis Centers 20 I am so alone. don't know what to do. all I think about is suicide. I don’t want to hurt the people who say they love me (even if I don’t believe them), but why should I bear all this pain or hurt? If I tell my therapist again about these feelings or thoughts, she'll send me to the hospital. I can’t go to the hospital because I only have one week left of college to graduate and I don’t want to ruin that for my parents who think it's important. I don’t want to ruin the holidays for my family by being in the hospital or dead. But I cant stop the thoughts. I called, but cannot find the courage to speak. I feel pathetic doing this, but I thought calling could only do more good than harm. Unfortunately my shyness will not allow me to talk.

21 CONTACT USA’s Vision One National Portal Easy access for the public via universal marketing Technical Support for Crisis Centers Operational and Training Guidelines OES Standards and Accreditation Assistance in securing funding National Conference Share practice learning sessions & support new OES centers 21

22 How it works: Multi-Service Website Platform 22 iCarol Emotion Technology

23 How is Crisis Chat Applicable to 2-1-1 Centers? Blended centers can join on Crisis Chat portal. Standards, Operations and Training materials can be adapted for online I&R. Technology platforms can be the same. Centers that develop either crisis or I&R chat can move to the other one quite easily after implementation of one.

24 Crisis Chat Demonstrations: Crisis Chat Website Crisis Chat Service 24

25 Other National Chat Efforts to learn from/collaborate with: Veterans Crisis Chat Homeless Veterans Chat National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat efforts

26 The Future What else is already out there/coming soon? Email Texting Integration with social networking Video ???

27 2-1-1 Online in the Future Comprehensive Community Info Website Publically accessible and intuitive database on community services. Information on specialized health/issue areas (mental health, prison re-entry etc). Direct Services for I&R/Crisis Chat, email, texting, social networking, discussion groups etc.

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