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Review Texts Received During Offline Periods

smartphone sms text messaging sending a text

In a world where so much is accessible 24/7, people have grown accustomed to getting what they want when they want it, no matter the time of day. But providing a service ’round the clock is tough, especially for a non-profit. If your helpline is like most others, you’ve had to make some choices about when to offer certain services, particularly for new channels like texting. You’ve probably carefully thought things through and analyzed the information available to you, weighed it against your budget and staff availability, and come up with a realistic schedule for your texting service.

But there’s that nagging voice in the back of your head, asking you if your service is online and available at the right times. You’re asking yourself questions like:

“Did I choose the right hours of operation for my texting service?”

“What kinds of texts are coming in when my service is offline?”

“How many of those people might be in crisis?”

“At what times are these texts being sent?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see the content of text messages your service receives during your offline periods? Guess what: You can!

We’ve added a report to Statistics that allows you to see information about texts coming in to your center during hours where your texting service is offline. It’s easy to find and use.

Start by clicking on Statistics in the left main menu, then click on the Messaging tab.


You’ll see there are already a number of various reports you can run on your SMS service. Under “Choose a report” select “After hours SMS” from the drop down list. Simply select the date range you wish to evaluate, then click “Go.”

Running After Hours SMS report

The resulting chart shows each text received during your offline hours. It includes the date and time the text message was received, the Portal (if applicable), the visitor’s phone number, and the content of the message they sent.

After hours SMS report

Please note that we’ve truncated the phone number for the purposes of this blog, but when you run an actual report you’ll have access to the full 10 digit phone number. Of course you can Export this data to Excel and analyze it further.

This report will help tell you what kinds of texts are being sent to you after hours, and at what times. By tracking this information, and evaluating what days or times experience the most traffic, you can start to get a picture of where there is a demand for more availability. This information should serve you well if you are applying for additional funding to expand your service hours.

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Dana joined the iCarol team in 2013 after 12 years of direct service and administrative duties in the Helpline Industry. You'll find her presenting Webinars, Tweeting, Blogging, Facebooking, and producing other materials to help others learn more about iCarol.

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