We make your phone/chat/text hotlines work the way you want.
We provide an integrated call/chat/text and scheduling system that manages many of the logistics of running a 24h hotline, so that your agency can focus on serving your community. This includes quickly routing calls to victim advocates, protecting them from obscene callers and burnout, protecting caller privacy, simplifying data analytics, enforcing your high volume repeat caller policies (if any), and much more.
Unlike traditional answering services or call center systems, we were built for nonprofit hotlines and work with your counterparts every day. That means, we understand your unique hotline workflows, can recommend best practices, and always handle calls according to your exact instructions.
We’ve helped agencies around the country solve their 24/7 hotline, text, or chat related challenges, and one thing that we’ve learned is that the only people qualified to talk to your callers are your trauma-informed advocates. For this reason, HelplineSoftware doesn’t provide 3rd party operators to answer/field calls.
With HelplineSoftware, the only people that will ever speak to your callers are your trauma-informed advocates.
Yes! You can specify how much time we should give each advocate to answer the call, and we can set it up for you that way. Additionally, we can set up a system that makes sure:
- Advocate have enough time to pick up the phone
- Advocate have enough time to get to a quiet place before connecting with the survivor
- Advocate have enough context to answer: This includes basic information such as what type of call they’re about to take (Hotline, SART / Hospital Response etc), and the language of the caller
- Calls are automatically rolled over according to your on-call schedules, in case an advocate is temporarily unavailable, on another hotline call, etc.
We additionally support callback requests, so your advocates don’t have to “live answer” all calls, but rather only live answer calls that you wish. These are streamlined, so if an advocate presses 1 they’re automatically connected back to the caller in a way that protects privacy of both the caller and the advocate.
Hold times are entirely dependent on your agency, your policies, and how quickly your on-call advocates answer calls.
In practice, callers can be on hold for as little as a few seconds before they are connected to the on-call individual that can support them. You will be provided with detailed data in real time that you can use to fine tune your policies and hold times to balance needs of the caller as well as those of your agency and its on-call advocates.
Some of the organizations we work with have many very complex schedules, in addition to multiple on-call teams, each of which have many layers of backups- and their extremely complex workflows fit easily within our system.
If you’re asking this question then you should definitely reach out. Our system was especially designed to support you.
We do different things for different agencies, and can do a variety of things depending on what your agency decides.
If you share a hotline with other partner (or member agencies) then we can even do different things for different partner agencies, if this is what you’d like. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to explore what possibilities are open to you.
No 3rd party will ever answer any of your calls, instead they will be routed according to whatever policies and on-call schedules you provide.
We offer so many special features that it wouldn’t make sense to try to list them here. New special features are typically based on best practices we’ve refined from working with your counterparts, and are typically released for free to all of our customer agencies.
The best way to learn more about them is to schedule a meeting with us and share the specific problem that you’re looking to solve. Chances are other agencies have expressed similar concerns, and that we either have already built special features for that, or have something planned.
As an example, some (but not all) agencies want special features to enforce boundaries with very specific extremely high volume repeat callers that do not need service. We have features to do that. Are you looking for something for inappropriate caller protection or a shift request approval process to be integrated with your system? We’ve got those too, and yes it’s free with your contract.
Need something else? Just schedule a meeting here. It’s possible we’ve already got something just for you.
Yes, and support is included with all of our plans. The CEO of HOPE Sheds Lights, Inc said that “… customer service is responsive, honest, articulate, … it’s top-notch …”. She’s not the only one. After you meet with us you can talk to our references, please ask them about this! We’re excited for you to speak with them.
Yes, it’s even better than that. This is our Peace Of Mind Guarantee:
If Customer cancels this contract within 30 days after Go-Live by written notice then Company will return Customer’s deposit and donate $500 to Customer. Offer void if not used within 90 days of the Effective Date, and 30 days of Go-Live. Void where prohibited. No cash value unless required by law. Only active US-based 501(3)(c) nonprofit organizations qualify. Limit one per organization.
The day we launched this dashboard, it predicted one individual would burn out due to the call volume. They did shortly afterwards. Many people like Z. Morgan highlighted in the screenshot below take on very few shifts, because they’re getting lots of calls during their shifts.
Updates to your shift schedule will instantaneously change the call routing for all calls. No need to call anyone or send an email. Once you click save it’s there, and it’s working.
Calls sent to advocate phones will always come from the same number. This has a few advantages:
- Advocates will know they’re receiving a call from your hotline before they pick up.
- Advocates will not have access to the caller’s phone number, unless you give them access.
- Advocates will also have enough time and context to answer.
Sure thing. Here’s a testimonial video from an executive director and a crisis coordinator at rape crisis centers on each coast.
Here are quotes from YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley, and from Bay Area Women Against Rape, which is one of the nation’s oldest rape crisis centers. They have both depended on us every day to route all call for their hotline for years.
–YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley
Bay Area Women Against Rape
Sure thing! Just schedule a meeting with us here. We can give you a demo, and answer any questions you have.
Sure thing. When you reach out please provide the following:
- Are there any specific key challenges you want us to address? Some common ones are how can we better execute on our language access plans, crisis line burnout prediction, crisis line burnout prevention, privacy, privacy, how to start chat & text, how to manage efficient callbacks, …
- Is this a vendor specific or vendor neutral talk? We do both.
- How many people are expected to be in the audience?
Please note that we don’t officially provide any “best practices”. We simply share the pros and cons of what works at other crisis phone, chat, or text lines. Something that’s a best practice for one community may not be for another.
So first of all, we’re a concierge / white glove service.
As part of on-boarding somebody on our team is going to work with your team to design the phone, chat, and text system of your dreams. That’s a real person you’re going to be working with and you get to work with them during regular business hours for free. Our most technical staff do on-boarding, so they’re probably qualified to answer your most difficult questions and are going to help set you up for success… and no, you can’t tip them 🙂 .
Beyond that most agencies don’t have a ton of need for support, even though it’s included with their plans. Just remember, a great phone system is one you don’t notice.
Just in case you’re still curious, once on-boarding is done, your agency will have access to emergency support 24/7. You’ll also have 24/7 access to our training materials and the multi-lingual help center which includes answers to most common questions.
If after looking at the help center you’ve still got a stumper, just reach out to support anytime. They typically respond during regular business hours, and we hear they’re amazing … but you can’t tip them either 🙂 .
Please send an email to <email@example.com> with any questions that have come up so far, and please book a meeting here so that we can understand the scope of the project that you are considering, and take the next steps to making sure your community can get the service they need quickly and in a trauma-informed way.