Intelligent Self-Service Tools: iCarol’s Public Resource Directory

Intelligent Self-Service Tools: iCarol’s Public Resource Directory

When faced with a question or problem,
it’s no secret the people are turning away from phone calls as a primary means
for getting help. For simple inquiries, even a live chat or text conversation
may not be the channel consumers wish to use. For many, conducting a quick web
search is the preferred way to get answers, and these days our culture and
availability of technology help reinforce that instinct. And people with
a do-it-yourself mindset like being able to help themselves rather than seeking
outside assistance. But there are drawbacks to searching online for help. When faced
with problems like job loss, financial trouble, utility cut-offs, a mental health
or substance abuse issue, and other human service needs, the average consumer can
get lost and overwhelmed when searching online. It can be hard to know where to
start and what to search for. Is the information accurate and up-to-date? It
helps to have an expert guiding you through the process. A service that knows
what resources are out there and takes the time and effort to ensure a record’s
accuracy before referring help seekers to them. These are some of the reasons
that information and referral services like 2-1-1s and other helplines
were created and are still so relevant today.
Your helpline can offer an online search of resources without sacrificing quality
by using iCarol’s Public Resource Directory. With the Public Resource
Directory, your helpline’s database of service provider information is made
available on your public website in a searchable format that’s easy to use and
produces relevant results. Visitors can type in terms and have
searches suggested to them, or use popular graphic searches to browse
available resources in a number of different categories. You can build this
search to guide your users, we’ll even provide you with a library of sample
graphics to use, or you can import your own. Your Public Resource Directory can
blend seamlessly into your website. Using our Cascading Style Sheet editor, you
decide what colors, fonts, and other formatting will look best. Simple and
intuitive geographic filters will send visitors to resources serving their
location. They simply begin typing in the name of their city so even people who
are displaced or new to the area can find services near them.
The list of results will only feature the pieces of information you select. You
can choose to show some basic fields of information initially, and save the rest
for the details page of each listing. Throughout your results searched keywords
appear in bold, explaining to the user why this result is appropriate for their
search, which helps them learn and understand the search tools. Results can
also be weighted so that the most relevant results appear at the top,
putting the best resources front and center. When it comes time to view a
result in more detail, the information is laid out in a way that’s easy to read
and understand. Like your home page, the fonts colors and other visual aspects
are highly configurable by your team. And if certain information stored in your
database is for internal use only, you can hide it from public view using iCarol’s Field Visibility Settings. As they compile resources, visitors can create
accounts and build lists of the agencies they plan to contact, keeping their next
steps organized and easy to follow through with. For the growing number of
people using their mobile phones for internet access, the Public Resource
Directory is mobile responsive, automatically scaling to fit the device
being used. In fact it’s so suited to the mobile experience that there’s no need
for you to spend precious time, resources, and money building mobile apps that are
expensive to create and maintain. Finally, you can prove your value to your
CEO, board of directors, or funders using your public database’s usage statistics,
found in iCarol. Or, find other web site stats using Google Analytics. With
the Public Resource Directory, you are bringing information and assistance to
people on the channels they prefer. And by helping them browse through
categories you can guide them to the resources that meet their need so
they’re not all alone in their searching. With a branded search that blends
elegantly with your website, and is maintained by your specialists, your
service can stand out and be recognized as a trusted source of reliable
information. With a design that is mobile friendly you can help all those people
using phones and handheld devices as their chosen method of internet access,
all while avoiding costs that come with creating and maintaining expensive
mobile apps. You’ll grow financial support from benefactors when you can
prove the impact you’re having. But best of all, you’ll be connecting people in
need with the services that can help and heal them through the challenges they
face. Because of the successful outcomes your visitors will experience they’ll
trust you if faced with a crisis in the future, and will refer their friends to
you as well. If you’re a current iCarol subscriber and want to use the
Public Resource Directory at your helpline, contact our Support Team to get
started. Not currently using iCarol at your non-profit helpline? Visit to learn more.

Daniel Ostrander

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