When you have limited resources to help people, sometimes, you need to think outside the box. Just as what the case study shows.
That was where the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) got around to thinking:“what is live chat? How it might help them reach people struggling with eating disorders?”
NEDA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that helps individuals and families affected by eating disorders recover and thrive through increased awareness, early intervention and improved access to treatment.
As a non-profit, the association had limited resources to tackle an important challenge: running an information and referral helpline, staffed by volunteers, to help people who struggle with eating disorders get on the path to recovery.
The numbers are sobering.
In the United States, more than 30 million people suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. These include but are not limited to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
Helping such a magnitude of people meant not just increasing the number of volunteers on hand, but also extending the hours of operation and giving volunteers the option of working remotely.
Both organizational objectives were easily enabled by the remote capabilities and cross platform capabilities of the Comm100 Live Chat solution.
Explains Lauren Smolar, Helpline Manager, NEDA: “Comm100 has allowed us to expand our volunteer base. We will soon have volunteers work off-site but still supported by our two in-house supervisors who can monitor chats and give remote support.”
The ability to review and analyze transcripts meant standards are kept consistently high regardless of where the volunteer was physically located.
Although the helpline was initially offered as a phone and email service, NEDA recognized that a younger, more mobile-oriented generation would gravitate to a Live Chat, which resembled the messaging experience they have grown up with.
Says Smolar: “Live Chat enables us to talk to people about their concerns in an approachable way, and to more effectively give them the support and information that they are looking for.”
“So we are seeing more people reaching out for help earlier than before – and this is key – because of our Live Chat function. In fact chat is often the first point of contact, and our interactions have gone up because they do not find a chat as threatening as a call.”
It is this partnership with Comm100 that has helped NEDA help so many people who consider themselves digital natives.
“We have seen our numbers totally flip, and more people are chatting than any other contact method at this point.”
“So we are not just reaching more people, we are reaching them earlier. And that is crucial because early intervention makes all the difference.”