How this social health business is tapping data for better decision making

On the Line shares how business intelligence is being used to more effectively to drive its social enterprise ambitions

While many contact centres encourage agents to resolve calls quickly, that’s not really appropriate when your service exists in part to prevent people taking their own lives.

The 55-year-old social health business, On The Line, employs 85 professional counsellors who provide telephone, Web chat and video counselling services on behalf of a number of funders and operating services including Men’s Line, Suicide Line and the Suicide Call-back Service.

Recently, the company brought in a new executive and CEO with a mandate to grow the business, and how have added nine new services and boosted revenue by 60 per cent.

On The Line’s head of brand, marketing and growth, Samantha Fredericks, those new services have added complexity to the business, but also given it a significantly expanded source of data.

In 2017, that led On The Line to begin examining whether a business intelligence partner could help it derive more insight from that data and therefore advance its aim of becoming a financially sustainable social enterprise.

“We were looking at what sort of measurements we needed in place to achieve that, and how were we going to set up our reporting and data capture and analytics to deliver that,” Fredericks said. “We had a vision as to what we wanted to achieve with all the data we collected, and being able to use it in a way that would help us with our planning and reporting going forward.”

The outcome of that search was Australian technology developer, Yellowfin.

“We liked that it was an Australian business, and that it was able to integrate our different systems into a united dashboard, so it can effectively get our systems talking to each other,” Fredericks said.

One outcome is that On The Line now has a more complete picture of how each different component of the business works, which is helping it improve the reporting back to its funders.

“Because of the way we can aggregate data now from our telephony and case management systems in particular, that then gives us a more complete picture of what sort of levers we have,” Fredericks said, adding this has enabled On The Line to tweak its call handling models.

“That has dramatically impacted the number of calls that we are able to answer in a particular amount of time, and reduced the time to answer. Funders get more bang for their buck if we answer more calls and people don’t have to wait as long to speak to a counsellor.”

Yellowfin also integrates data from across social media channels that On The Line operates on behalf of funders.

“It helps with our marketing metrics, which we haven’t had before,” Fredericks said. “Reach is really important to us, because it shows how many impressions of an advertisement or an article have driven people back to the websites and the blog articles that we post.

“We need to be able to meet the call targets for our funders, which the call centre can’t do by itself, but we can.”

Fredericks is also pleased with Yellowfin’s dashboarding capability, which enables the creation of live reports that can be auto-updated as new data is received.

“Being able to analyse the data provides us with insight into where the issues or levers are in the business to improve performance,” Fredericks said. “With what we’ve got at the moment we have much greater clarity than we have in the past as to what those are.”

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