Handled Calls in May Up Significantly from Last Year
Washington 211 centers handled 80 percent more calls in May of this year than the same month last year. Nearly 30,000 callers had their questions answered and/or were referred to services last month compared to 16,432 during May 2019. Even when COVID hotline calls are removed, the number of calls handled jumped by over 25 percent (20,652 called the 211 line and 8,900 came in through the hotline). Also significant is the percentage of callers who hung up before getting a live person — what is called the abandoned call rate. Last May, the abandoned call rate was just over 24 percent. This year, even with significantly higher volumes, the abandoned call rate dropped to close to 10 percent. 

Hundreds of Services Added to the 211 Database
In the last three months, Washington 211 has added 375 new services to its comprehensive shared database that 211 operators statewide use to provide referrals and answer caller questions. This bump in services appears to be the result in part to the increased visibility of the 211 number along with community organizations stepping up with new and enhanced services in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Washington 211’s team of specialists continuously update this resource which contains over 27,000 agencies and services. Design work is almost complete for a new online search tool that would allow the public direct access to search this database — thanks to a $40,000 grant from Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health

Washington 211 COVID-19 Chat Bot Service Extended
During the 90-day trial of the Washington 211 COVID-19 Chat Bot, the service was used by website visitors 5,134 times. The Chat Bot service has been extended to provide assistance for persons seeking COVID-19 information only. Currently, the Chat Bot is not setup to answer 211 assistance questions. Work will begin soon to train the Bot to provide 211 assistance to basic resource questions. You can try it out on this site!

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