Six considerations if you’re going to deliver online support, advice and information services

Annika Howard
Helplines Partnership Annual Conference 2019 - Chlöe Morton, Director of Services at The Mix

Chlöe Morton, Director of Services at The Mix, was one of our panel of expert speakers at this year’s Annual Conference. Chlöe shared how The Mix approach engaging with their audience through digital channels.

The Mix’s audience

The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. As an organisation, their audience is young people, 25 and under. They provide information on any challenge young people might be facing - from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs.

This year, around 2.5 million young people got in contact with The Mix via their website, chatbots, peer support, multi-channel helpline and counselling service.

Chlöe talked to us about how The Mix approach delivering their online mental health services.

1. Choice is key

How, where and how much young people interact is not up to you. Chlöe explained, ‘more young men choose to contact The Mix via the telephone helpline channel rather than accessing the service through the webchat channel of our helpline.’ It’s essential to understand your audience and what they are doing so you can provide them the means and channels they are comfortable using.

2. Don’t just listen: change

Listen authentically and commit to constant evolution. It’s not enough just to hear what people are saying, organisations need to listen and change as a result, developing and refining their services. Use your own data about what your users are doing and that will give you insight in to how you can change and develop your service.

3. Enable easy access

Minimise delays and barriers at all costs; be creative with triage. Look at your audience and the people using your services; try and test new developments with them and think about how they behave when they are accessing your services. Chlöe says, “it’s not good to wait too long in a digital world.”

4. Invest in tech

Evolve with technology and integrate for a frictionless experience. Organisations need to invest time and money to really think about what they want their systems to do and how they will work together. Don’t let your tech get in the way of user experience. If you don’t have technical expertise in house then find organisations who will work with you to really understand your requirements and use cases.

5. Value volunteering

Engage users, harness their enthusiasm and scale your reach. If people feel that they got what they needed from their interaction with your service then your service users can be some of your best promoters. They will talk to their peers and add social proof and external validation to your service promoting it for you.

6. Be part of the journey

Complement and collaborate with existing services. “Don’t try to be all things to everybody. Understand where your users are, why they are coming to you and where they are going afterwards” Chlöe explained. Work with other organisations and services to support your service users on their journey.

The Mix

Thank you to Chlöe for speaking at the 2019 Helplines Partnership Conference.

The Mix is the UK's leading digital support service for young people, by young people. You can find out more about the support and services they offer on their website.

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