Getting Help "OnDemand" from 211 in Oklahoma! A Fully Automated Text Referral Utility

Getting help by text through a fully automated triage that queries end users for their zip code and need and then presents the information to the CRM and receives the three closest referrals and then delivers those referrals to the end user's mobile phone in under 30 seconds! Amazing right?

So, how does it work? Simple. Oklahoma residents text keyword "211OK" to 898211 and then what happens next is truly magical. A series of text messages will ensue obtaining end user's zip code and issue and then, within seconds, "thank you... in a moment you will receive three referrals for your zip code and need." Then, beep, beep, beep (or buzz, buzz, buzz depending on your phone) the screen lights up with the referrals and the end user never utters a word to the call specialist. The exchange is recorded in their CRM (powered by "RTM Designs") and a live operator doesn't even need to know that the event took place.

We're so excited about this new functionality and look forward to sharing it with other 211s and I&Rs. Please note, with each OnDemand encounter, end users are alerted that they can text their zip code at anytime to access live support. So, if something goes wrong or they can't find what they're looking for, they're always just a text away from two-way, live support. We understand that automated referrals can be tricky business and we want to be sensitive to the fact that automation will not solve everyone's problems. However, so far, this tool has saved the agency time and resources. They're already answering less calls because more of those contacts are being handled by the OnDemand service. So, in that respect, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing, helping alleviate stress on over-burdened phones.  

According the Oklahoma 211, they see this as just another choice in how their community receives information. You can go to their website and find resources through the decision tree or you can text 211OK to 898211 and respond to the automated questions. The Next-Gen help-seeker is already here, walking among us.  Oklahoma 211 is working to find ways to expand their service capacity so that they can make a smooth transition and hopefully bridge the generation gap by giving GenYs and Millennials information in ways that are more consistent with Next-Gen preferences. This work builds on prior work in Idaho and Connecticut where automated referrals are being transmitted to mobile phones in a fully-automated exchange. In Connecticut, it's food bank referrals, in Idaho, it's a free lunch program during the summer months. 

Interested in learning more about how Oklahoma 211 started this work? Donnie House is the project lead, she can be reached at: visit their website! 

If you're interested in learning more about OnDemand Text services, text DEMO to 85511 or call us at 805.653.6000 You can can also email

We are so pleased with the project! It’s already making a huge difference in how our community receives help with critical resources like utility assistance and food related resources while freeing up specialist to focus on helping other clients with more complex needs. A win-win!
— Donnie House, Program Manager, Community Service Council, Tulsa, Oklahoma 211

United Way 211 Atlanta Launches Live Text I&R in 48 Hours!

We didn't think it could be done. In fact, no one did. However, in a recent Webinar, United Way 211 in Atlanta presented on this very topic - how, they deployed their service area, trained specialists and began responding to live text encounters in 48 hours! Individuals seeking live help can text their 5-digit zip code to 898211, a recognized brand among 211 service providers. 

Key facts:

Soft launch with social media produced 200 unique encounters 

Full launch put call to action "text your zip code to 898211" on home page and the volume more than tripled, from 200 to almost 700 unique conversations. 

Specialists like text over all other mediums, phone, chat, email

Calling, emails, and chats keep going down while texting keeps going up. 

During the Webinar Marioly Botero, Data Base Manager, discusses each step from training to launch and awareness and what they learned during the process.  You can click the following link to stream the video on Youtube! 

The system is VERY easy to use. That’s why we were able to launch so quickly!”
— Marioly, Data Base Manager, United Way 211 Atlanta
We also do chat and the specialists like the texting platform a lot better!
— Marioly Botero, Database Manager, United Way 211 Atlanta

Feedback from happy clients is always a good morale boost, but also indicative of the need for the medium. People want to text you! With PreventionPays Text, they can!

                        "This is so much better than being on hold.......great service"

                        "This is so much better than being on hold.......great service"

"Thank you for all of your help. I think this is a great thing which is providing help for people in need. Thank you again!"

"Love this option (text). Thanks"

"Very prompt and great service...would highly recommend!!!!"

Ho, ho, ho! Exciting New Features... and More Coming Soon!

Case Manager Settings:

Now admins can set up staff to only see certain cases. This is optional so please discuss with your staff using the system.

So, when staff log in they will just see the cases that are in their caseload.  The case manager setting is separate from the responder setting. So, now, they no longer have to be assigned as responder to be assigned to the case.  

You can start using the queue this way by having staff go through the queue and "assign" themselves as the "case manager".  

They access this by clicking on each case, and then in the middle of the screen in the attributes section, there's another link next to the "assign responder" called "assign manager".  So, they will want to click the "assign manager" link and then select their name in the pull-down menu.   Once they've assigned all their cases to themselves admin can modify their profile settings so they just see their “assigned” cases.  To do so, you remove the check box in “all” under “users tab permissions"  when they log in they only see the cases they are assigned to manage.  If you don’t want to restrict staff to just their assigned cases, don’t change their profile.  They will still have access to “all” cases, but, when they click the sub tab “mine” they will see all cases they are assigned as responder and case manager.

Pass status:  “pass” option/status has been deployed however we have not updated this in the guide yet.  We have a few more deployments that we’re getting ready for and we're waiting to include those and the pass button in the next iteration!

Pass button is as follows:  
Some cases don't need a response. So it gives the option to pass so that it gets recorded that way. Agencies can create protocols around when and when not to use pass instead of opening case and sending a live response. When the case is "passed" the yellow turns off and the status changes to "passed".

So passing on the response versus taking it, opening, responding and then closing.

The other way is one responder has already tried to offer help and then another person's eyes are needed on the case. There could be a specialist who just takes the passes… so if you have a question that needs more support or if there’s a language barrier issue, or if first level response just needs some extra guidance with a case, the case manager setting can help guide these tasks and support your site's custom protocols.

Pass button does not change the functionality of the open and close. You can operate the system without ever using pass. And if you use pass by mistake you can open and close to change back to closed status. 

New Message Notifications

You will now be alerted when new messages enter the queue regardless of whether you're looking at Users tab. The alert appears in the bottom right corner and will update every time a new message arrives. And if you manage more than one queue, you will also receive alerts for the other queues. The alert automatically turns off when you click the X in top corner or click the message inside the alert, or click the Users tab to view the queue.  No more toggling back and forth between queues. We'll let you know when you have to switch locations! 

You can also choose to disable the notifications. Disable is located directly above the queue to the right of the disable buttons for audio alerts.  You disable the alerts the same way as audio, by clicking the check-box to off.

User Guide Version 7 is available for download here:
V 7 covers features up though “case manager” settings

Thank you and as always, Happy Texting!


New Features Help Alleviate Stress on Phones

We are doing some exciting things with text!
In addition to live I&R support and health education message tracks that help cultivate new community partnerships, we're helping agencies (providing live help to their community) tackle high contact issues with fully automated mobile triages that query end users for information on where they are texting from and then sends referrals based on those responses.  And these tasks are fully automated! The system keeps track of every encounter and this can be done with any number of issues.  We're also helping 2-1-1s convert calls that are on hold to live text traffic! And that text traffic can be presorted based on high frequency issues and with mobile triage, those instances will be recorded and archived so every encounter is counted and archived in your private database.

We're growing and we're adding capacity!

Very soon we will deploy new ad-hoc messaging tools that will enable service providers and health information innovators to create subgroups based on information gathered over time during live text encounters. So, your message tracks evolve with your priority population as their health needs evolve.  Our text platform empowers health services with the ability to move seamlessly between live one-on-one text encounters and sms education alerts. From texting with one to texting with many in one click!

Contact us for a demo!