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Carmen Lovas

iCarol is your helpline software company that is here to make your job easier as Executive Director or leader of a non-profit contact center. Whether you have a crisis, help or 211 referral line, we are here to help you help more people in your community. Read more…

Expansion of iCarol Support Hours and Service Offerings

Providing excellent customer service is a top priority for the iCarol team, and recently we have been working to enhance the ways in which we serve our valued customers. Below are details about several new initiatives we have implemented:

*NEW* Live Chat with Support

Beginning Friday, March 1, our Support Team is available through Live Chat during normal support hours for all of our customers as a part of our Standard Support Package that is included with an iCarol system subscription. Designated support contacts can initiate a Live Chat session with members of the support team during normal support hours by taking the following steps:

  • Log in to your iCarol system
  • Click ‘Help’ in the left hand menu
  • Click ‘Cases – contact the iCarol Support Team’ at the top of the screen
  • Click the ‘Live Help Online’ button in the middle of the screen, OR the ‘Chat Now’ button at the bottom of the screen

iCarol premier support packagePremier Support Package

We now offer a Premier Support Package. This includes all of the features of the Standard Support Package, as well as:

  • A member of the iCarol Support Team designated as the customer organization’s Technical Account Manager (TAM). This is an assigned member of the Support Team who oversees all requests for ongoing support assistance.
  • One scheduled, 60 minute team screen share/call per month between the TAM and the Designated Support Contacts, scheduled by the TAM.
  • If additional iCarol team members are brought in to best assist the customer, all interactions will be directed and managed by the TAM.

iCarol expanded support hours*NEW* Expanded Support Hours

We have added weekend availability to our normal support hours. In addition to our previous hours of 8am to 8pm Eastern Monday through Friday, members of our Support Team are available Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm Eastern.

These are the hours during which our team is available to investigate and respond to support cases through the case management system, email, and live chat. In addition to these support hours, our technical and infrastructure teams will continue to monitor for system uptime and performance 24/7, and our Support Team has a process in place to routinely check the case queue for urgent issues at points beyond normal support hours, as has been our policy in the past.

If you are a customer and have any questions about the services outlined above, or if you would like to upgrade to Premier Support, please open a case with the Support Team. If you are a not an iCarol customer yet, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

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How to Report Speed Issues in iCarol

If you are experiencing issues with your iCarol system that are difficult to describe, where information may not be populating, saving, or loading as quickly as you expect, it can be helpful to complete these 3 diagnostic tests prior to submitting a case to Support. The results of these tests may help us to eliminate local network issues, and find the root cause of the issue faster.

When you submit the case using the iCarol online Case Management Tool, please include the 3 screen shots, the time/date you completed these tests, and what browser you were using.

Test One: Complete a Speed Test

    1. Login to iCarol, as an affected user and reproduce the slowness issue
    2. In a separate browser window/tab, go to www.speedtest.net
    3. Click the “Change Server” link and type Toronto in the search text box
    4. Click on any of the Toronto, ON servers that appear in the list of search results
    5. Click the “GO” button, allow the test to complete and take a screen shot of the results (a full page screen shot is preferred, that will include the browser type and system time.)

Speedtest

Test Two: Complete a Trace Route to iCarol server in Command Prompt

    1. Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the MS Windows Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt. (A new black background window should open.)
    2. Type in exactly, tracert webapp.icarol.com, and press Enter on your keyboard.
    3. Allow the Trace to complete, and take a screen shot of the results (do not close the window yet.)

Trace Route

To perform Test Two on Mac Computers

    1. Open Safari and enter http://pingtest.net in the Smart Search field.
    2. Click Begin test.
    3. An alert appears saying “Do you want to trust the website www.pingtest.net to use the “Java” plug in? Click Trust and then Run in the Do you want to run this application window.
    4. You should see your IP and ISP name at the bottom left of the globe. Check if this is correct.
    5. Click Being Test.
    For more information go to http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac/how-test-ping-on-your-mac-3524076/

Test Three: Complete a Ping to the iCarol server in Command Prompt

    1. Use the same Command Prompt window as opened in Test 2
    2. Type in exactly, ping webapp.icarol.com, and press Enter on your keyboard
    3. Allow the Ping to finish, and take a screen shot of the results.

Ping test

To perform Test Three on Mac Computers

In addition to the diagnostic tests above, it is useful to use a timer extension to see exactly where the slowness is occurring. A timer extension will break down the process of loading a page and tell you how long each step is taking. With this detail, you may be able to determine if the slowness is happening on the iCarol side, or if it may be an issue with your computer, internet or network speed.

Most browsers have a timer extension you can download and use. Some browsers may call these “extensions” or “add-ons”. Each browser will have a different name for these extensions or add-ons. For example, Google Chrome’s extension is called “Page load time”. The first step to using a timer extension or add-on is to find and download it. Once this is done, you will usually find the timer extension in the tool bar of your browser.

To use the timer extension to time page loads in iCarol, complete the following steps:

    1. Navigate to the page that is loading slowly
    2. Click the timer extension icon in the tool bar of your browser
    3. You should see a chart or a list of events or actions, and how long each of those events or actions took
    4. In general, it should not take more than 5 seconds to load a page in iCarol.
    The exception is when searching resources, especially if the resource database is very large; some resource searches can take up to 10-20 seconds.
    5. If the total load time for the page is greater than 5-10 seconds, refer to the timer extension chart or list to see where the most time was spent. Each timer extension will call the events or actions by a slightly different name, but there should be enough similarities to recognize the names of most of the events or actions between browsers.

Use the information below to determine if the issue is on iCarol’s side, or if the issue is with the computer, network, or internet service being used:

  • The iCarol servers are responsible for the Request and Response times
  • Slow Redirect, DNS or Connect times may indicate an issue with the internet connection or network being used
  • Slow DOM or Load Event times may indicate issues with the computer itself

If the issue seems to be with your computer, network, or internet connection, please consult with a member of your IT team or your internet service provider.

If the issue seems to be with iCarol’s servers, please take a screenshot of the timer extension results. Then have a designated Support Contact submit a case with the screenshot as an attachment, and an explanation of the slowness that is occurring.

Timer extension test

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How to Document Needs by Taxonomy on Call Report Forms

Many iCarol clients are required to collect and report on the needs of their help seekers. Those clients who use the AIRS taxonomy are able to do so using a tool called Needs by Taxonomy. There is no additional fee to use this tool as it is included for those who subscribe to the Taxonomy in iCarol, but a member of the iCarol Support Team will need to turn it on in your call reports forms. Once this tool is turned on, you may use the instructions below to document Needs by Taxonomy.

To begin, click the “Search for Resources” link in the upper right hand corner of the call report form. This will open the Resource search screen.

Open Resource Search

Next, conduct a search for a taxonomy term. Please note this tool only works when searching by Taxonomy, not when completing a Resources or a Keywords search. When the search results are returned, a box labelled “Terms searched” will appear indicating what taxonomy term was searched, as shown below.

Terms searched

When you view the details of a record, you will see a link at the top of the screen that says “Choose terms best describing the caller need for this referral”. If you click this link, you will see a list of all the taxonomy terms assigned to the resource. The taxonomy term you searched will already be checked, and you can choose additional terms or change the term checked if you would like. To make a referral to the resource, click the “Make referral” button.

Choose needs and make referral

On the Resources tab of the call report, the taxonomy term describing the need will now be at the top of the tab. You can check and uncheck which referrals met the need. By default, the Met/Unmet column will show “Need was met”.

Select whether need was met or unmet

In cases where a referral could not be found to meet the need of the help seeker, the need can still be documented and noted as unmet. To do so, conduct a taxonomy search. When the search results and the “Terms searched” box are shown, click the blue plus sign next to the taxonomy term search to change it to a green check mark.

Unmet need 1

Unmet need 2

Close the Resource Search screen and view the resources tab of the call report. There will now be a second Need noted, but with no referral. If you click the drop-down menu in the Met/Unmet column, you can choose a reason why the need was unmet. iCarol includes a default list of unmet need reasons, but this list can be customized by making a request to the iCarol Support Team.

Unmet need reason

If anyone has any further questions about the Needs by Taxonomy tool, please feel free to contact the iCarol Support Team via the online case management system.

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An update on Contact Form and Messaging Enhancements

In December of 2016, iCarol announced a suite of enhancements for Contact Forms and Messaging. These enhancements include the following benefits:






  • Greater Productivity
    • Faster completion of forms
    • Faster onboarding of new volunteers and staff
    • Quicker geographic suggestions
  • Widen your volunteer pool
    • Improved accessibility
    • User friendly interface
  • Improved Connection to Help Seekers
    • Faster delivery of chat and text messages
  • Better Documentation
    • Report form opens with chat or text conversation
  • Quicker, more accurate referrals
    • Improves outcomes
    • Streamlined, powerful resource search tools

For more information about the enhancements, please refer to the Help page in iCarol, by clicking Help in the left hand menu. There are two documents and a training webinar available in the “New” section of the Help page with information about the enhancements.

It is our goal to upgrade all clients to the new version of the Contact Form and Messaging by the end of 2017. Therefore, this upgrade is mandatory, and all clients will be upgraded. We began this work by sending out a survey to iCarol Admins which asked which quarter they would like to be upgraded in. We used the responses to this survey to begin scheduling clients for the upgrade. Those who did not respond to the survey have also been scheduled for the upgrade. The timing of the upgrade for each client is based on the features they are using in their Contact Forms. Not all features are available in the new version of the Contact Form yet, but these features will be added throughout the year.

iCarol staff will be in close communication with clients who are being upgraded, and will provide all the information needed to successfully complete the upgrade. Timely responses from clients throughout the upgrade process would be greatly appreciated so the upgrade can proceed in an efficient and effective manner. Clients will be informed of when the upgrade will occur, and if the timing does not work for them, they can request to be rescheduled for a later date. Please be aware, we will do our best to re-schedule clients to a time they request, but we cannot guarantee this. We must balance the requests with the availability of iCarol staff to complete the upgrade.

For those not using Messaging, and therefore only upgrading Contact Forms, and those using Messaging with Messaging portals (please note, Contact Forms not related to Messaging will also be upgraded at the same time), the upgrade process will proceed as follows:

    1. During each month in 2017, iCarol will send an email to all clients scheduled to be upgraded the next month.
    2. A case will be created by iCarol staff to track the upgrade process.
    3. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case and provide the following information:
      a. Which week the client is scheduled for the upgrade
      b. Where to find information about the enhancements
      c. Which forms, if any, are ineligible for the upgrade, due to special features which may not be available in the new version of the Contact Form yet
      d. Information about adding demo forms to the client system
    4. A member of the iCarol Support team will add demo forms to the client system. These demo forms will be copies of the client’s Contact Forms, upgraded to the new version of the Contact Forms.
    5. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case when the demo forms are added. The demo forms will allow clients to preview and play with the new version of the Contact Forms prior to completing the upgrade. They can also be used to train staff and volunteers on the new version of the Contact Form.
    6. A week prior to the upgrade week, a member of the iCarol Support Team will respond to the case with the exact date the upgrade will be completed.
    7. On the day of the upgrade, the upgrade will be completed, and the demo forms will be deleted. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case to indicate the upgrade is complete. If there were Contact Forms not eligible to be upgraded, iCarol staff will reach out later in the year to schedule the upgrade of these forms.

For those using Messaging without Messaging portals, the upgrade process will be a little different. Please note, Contact Forms not related to Messaging will also be upgraded as the same time. The upgrade process will proceed as follows:

    1. During each month in 2017, iCarol will send an email to all clients scheduled to be upgraded the next month.
    2. A case will be created by iCarol staff to track the upgrade process.
    3. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case and provide the following information:
      a. Which week the client is scheduled for the upgrade
      b. Where to find information about the enhancements
      c. A detailed list of steps to upgrade to Messaging portals
      d. Specific questions that the client will need to answer so the iCarol Support team member can begin setting up Messaging portals. Please note, the process cannot continue until these questions are answered, so it is very important that a timely response be sent.
    4. Once the answers to the specific questions noted above are received, the iCarol Support team member will begin to set-up Messaging portals in the client system. Once completed, they will respond to the case with instructions on the next step in the process which the client will need to take, which is to assign Vols-Staff member to Portal Programs.
    5. Client assigns Vols-Staff to Portal Programs, and responds to the case to let the iCarol Support team member know they have completed the task. Again, the process cannot proceed until the iCarol Support team member receives confirmation that this task is complete.
    6. Once confirmation of the task outlined above has been received, the iCarol Support team member will complete the set-up of Messaging portals.
    7. The iCarol Support team member will respond to the case and provide instructions on next steps, which include:
      a. Setting up Shifts for Portal Programs
      b. Updating website with new URL(s) for Messaging
      c. Editing Standard Messages
      This response will also include which week the upgrade process will be completed in, and information about adding demo forms to the client system.
    8. A member of the iCarol Support team will add demo forms to the client system. These demo forms will be copies of the client’s Contact Forms, upgraded to the new version of the Contact Form.
    9. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case when the demo forms are added. The demo forms will allow clients to preview and play with the new version of the Contact Form prior to completing the upgrade. They can also be used to train staff and volunteers on the new version of the Contact Form. If there are Contact Forms that are ineligible to be upgraded at this time, these will be noted in this response.
    10. A week prior to the upgrade week, a member of the iCarol Support Team will respond to the case with the exact date the upgrade will be completed.
    11. On the day of the upgrade, the upgrade will be completed, and the demo forms will be deleted. A member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case to indicate the upgrade is complete.

If there were Contact Forms not eligible to be upgraded, iCarol staff will reach out later in the year to schedule the upgrade of these forms. If there are any questions about the upgrade process, please feel free to submit a case to the iCarol Support Team via the online case management system, accessed by clicking Help in the left hand menu in your iCarol system.

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Where to Find Help when Using iCarol

Question mark

iCarol is a large and complex piece of software, and every client uses it a little differently. Some clients use some features, and other clients use other features. Client needs also change over time, necessitating the discontinuation, addition or adjustment of processes and policies. We understand that there is turnover in our client agencies, so training new staff or volunteers is a continuous need.

We are here to help! We have a number of self-serve options for training and notification of new features and enhancements. We encourage all of our clients to explore the information available through these options to assist you with building and maintaining your knowledge of how to use iCarol to meet your needs.

iCarol Help Page – Online Video Tutorials and other training and informational material

To access the Help page, simply click Help in the left hand menu when you are logged into iCarol.

Training page

The Help Page is organized into sections representing the major features of iCarol – Volunteers and Staff, Shift Calendar, Call Reports, Messaging, Resources, and Statistics and Reporting. Each section has a number of videos or other documents (for example, PowerPoint presentations) explaining how to use the different features in iCarol. Feel free to use any of these materials in your own training programs at your agency.

iCarol Help Page – Help Articles

To access iCarol Help Articles, click Help form the left hand menu when you are logged into iCarol, then, at the top of the page, click “Help articles – browse solutions to common questions”.

Help articles page

You can search for help articles in a few different ways. You can enter a word or phrase in the text box next to the Search button, and then click the Search button. You can refine this search to a particular category by choosing a category from the drop-down menu below the search text box. Or, you can browse through the various categories and sub-categories listed on the screen by clicking on the name of a category. For example, the screenshot below shows the help articles available in the category Calls, sub-category Call Reports – Create & Submit Call Reports.

Help articles

iCarol staff are continually updating and expanding the Help article database as new features, enhancements and updates are released.

iCarol Dashboard – Announcements, tips and tricks

Users with Admin or Supervisor security status can access the iCarol Dashboard, which contains an Announcements, tips and tricks section. To access, simply click Home in the left hand menu when logged into iCarol.

Dashboard

This section contains posts about updates, new features, upcoming webinars, and more. Due to space limitations, you will likely only see the latest 3-4 posts displayed. To view earlier posts, scroll down to the bottom of this section and click the link labeled “See all news”.

iCarol Blogs

To access the iCarol blog page, access the iCarol website at www.icarol.com, then click Blog at the top of the page.

blog

The iCarol Blog contains a variety of articles that pertain to the iCarol software as well as other topics we feel would be of interest to helplines, such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, as shown above. Please note, you can subscribe to the iCarol Blog by filling out the small form you see in the lower right hand corner of the screenshot above. Doing so will deliver a weekly Blog Digest to you via email.

iCarol Quarterly Newsletter

To sign up for the iCarol newsletter, access the iCarol website at www.icarol.com, click Blog at the top of the screen, then click Newsletter along the right hand side of the screen.

newsletter sign up

The newsletter will be delivered to your email inbox. Articles include trends, tips, downloads and iCarol updates, including things like worldwide news and events, helpline best practices, iCarol product and feature updates, testimonials from iCarol users, Case studies of helplines, non-profit and charity contact centers, ask the expert and more.

Finally, if you are unable to find the answer to a question you have, you are welcome to submit a case to the iCarol Support Team using the Online Case Management system. This is accessed by clicking Help in the left hand menu when you are logged into iCarol, then, at the top of the screen, clicking “Cases – contact the iCarol Support Team”.

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Using the Report Incident Tool to Report Issues with iCarol Messaging

In response to the increased use of alternate communication channels for help seekers, many iCarol clients are adding Messaging to their iCarol systems. Using Messaging, you can communicate with your help seekers via chat or text. As with other areas of iCarol, sometimes issues can arise that require making a report to the iCarol Support Team. The preferred method to communicate with the iCarol Support Team is to submit a case via the Online Case Management Tool. Please click here for more information on how to submit a case. When the issue is in regards to iCarol Messaging however, there is another tool that we encourage you to use to report issues with this area of iCarol.

Chat window incident report

This tool is called the Report Incident Tool and is found at the bottom of the counselor’s screen when addressing a Messaging conversation.

Any user can us this tool to report an issue. When one clicks Report Incident, a small form will appear in a pop-up window. Please enter a concise Subject that describes the issue, and then use the Description text box to further describe the issue in as much detail as possible.

Chat incident report

Once the security code is entered, and the “Report Incident” button clicked, a case will be created and sent to the iCarol Support Team. This case will also appear in the Online Case Management tool. All cases created in this manner are named “Messaging Incident #xxxx: Subject”. For example, the name of the incident shown in the screenshot above might be “Messaging Incident #2650: Strange symbols appearing in chat conversation”. The case will be appropriately attributed to your agency. The first available member of the iCarol Support team will respond to the case and begin the investigation of the issue.

The benefit of submitting Messaging cases in this manner is that this tool conveys additional details about the specific Messaging conversation the user was addressing that helps the iCarol Support and Technical teams immensely when investigating issues. Some of the details conveyed include browsers being used, platforms being used, and whether the visitor was using a mobile device. The details can be extremely helpful in investigating and ultimately resolving an issue. This quick and easy to use tool can be a benefit to you by conveying details “in the moment” so they are not forgotten. It can cut down or eliminate conversations or emails between the user who experienced the issue and an Admin user who wants to report the issue to iCarol Support. It can also mean that issues are reported faster, which could lead to faster investigation and resolution of the issue.

As always, if you have any questions about the Report Incident tool, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact the iCarol Support team!

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Adjusting the shift schedule during absences or vacations

During spring break and other common vacation periods, staff and volunteers may need to adjust the time they serve at your agency. You want to ensure that your calendar is up-to-date with all changes and the following iCarol features are there to assist.

Unregister from a shift

If a volunteer or staff member has already signed up for or been assigned to a shift, but realizes that they cannot serve the shift, they can un-register from the shift. To do so, the volunteer or staff member will use the shifts area of iCarol to navigate to the day of their shift, and will click on their name in the list of shifts. A pink box will appear to the right, and in that box, there is an “Unregister” button which they should click.

Unregister

Clicking this button will remove the person’s name from the shift, and it will revert to an “Open” shift so someone else can sign up for it.

Shift Substitution

This feature is similar to the “Unregister a shift” feature, but goes an extra step and facilitates the coverage for shift assignment changes. If a volunteer or staff member has already signed up for or been assigned to a shift, but realizes that they cannot serve the shift, they can ask for a substitution. To do so, the volunteer or staff member will use the shifts area of iCarol to navigate to the day of their shift, and will click on their name in the list of shifts. A pink box will appear to the right, and in that box, there is an “Ask for Substitution” button which they should click.

Unregister

Clicking this button will send an email to all users indicating that the volunteer or staff person is looking for a substitute, and will highlight the shift in yellow so it is easily spotted. If someone would like to substitute, they would navigate to this shift in the Shifts area of iCarol, and click the Accept button.

Shift substitution

Whether or not you allow un-registration or shift substitutions, and how soon before the start of a shift a person can unregister or ask for a substitution, are settings Admin’s can control via the Shifts tab in Admin Tools.

Exceptions to Repeating Assignments

If you have members that are assigned to the same shift over a period of time, the repeating assignment is a great tool to use. This tool allows you to collectively schedule those repeating assignments and it also handles exceptions, such as to remove the person from the shift during a particular time span when they will be on vacation. To do so, use the shifts area of iCarol to navigate to the first shift within a repeating shift assignment that they would like to unregister for and click on their name. A pink box will appear to the right, and in that box, there is a link labelled “Repeating assignment” which they should click.

Exceptions to repeat assignments

This will cause the following box to pop-up:

Repeating Assignment Tool

Firstly, the volunteer or staff person should click the radio button next to “Remove”. Next, using the drop-down boxes, they should indicate what time frame (every, every other, each month’s first, etc.) and what day of the week they would like to be removed from. The date next to “between” will be defaulted to the date of the shift the volunteer or staff person is adjusting. The volunteer or staff person should adjust the date next to “and”, or check the box next to “no end date” to remove themselves from every shift into the future. Finally, they should click the “Make these changes” button.

If you have any questions about these tools, please do not hesitate to submit a case to the support team via the online case management tool, found in the Help menu in iCarol.

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Security Level and Advanced Security Settings

In iCarol, there are five security levels available for users in your system; Trainee, Standard, Enhanced, Supervisor and Admin. Each of these levels enables users to see and use a particular set of tools and functions in iCarol. Further to this, using Advanced Security settings, you can fine-tune exactly which tools and functions each user can see and use. This article will provide an overview of the Security Levels, and definitions of the settings found in Advanced Security Settings.

Security Level

Security Level is found on the Admin tab of user profiles, as below:

Admin tab profile

As shown in the above screenshot, there is a link that will take you to an explanation of each security level. This link will show a chart that explains what each security level can see and do in iCarol. Here is a screenshot of the chart:

Security levels explanation

In general, Admins are the highest security level and can see and use all tools and functions in iCarol by default, with some exceptions that will be pointed out later in this article. Supervisors can see and use everything Admins can, except sending welcome emails to new users and accessing the Admin Tools menu. Again, as with Admin, there are a few exceptions that will be pointed out. Enhanced and Standard users have access to fewer tools and functions, and Trainees have access to very few tools and functions.

Advanced Security Settings

Many of the Advanced Security settings are self-explanatory. Those that are not or where additional information may be helpful to understand what the setting enables will be noted here.

Advanced security settings - Call Reports

Allowed to access Call Reports and Repeat Callers – This is the setting that enables the user to see “Calls” in the left hand menu, and therefore view and submit call reports.

Can give feedback on call reports – This setting enables the user to see and use the “Feedback” text box in call reports to provide feedback to the user who submitted the call report.

Can review call reports – If you have enabled the function that staff can mark call reports as “reviewed for accuracy”, this setting allows the user to see and use the “Report has been reviewed for accuracy” check box at the bottom of call reports when viewing them.

Can only see call reports submitted by themselves – When the user views the “All Calls” page, only call reports they have submitted will appear in the list of submitted call reports. Further, this means they can only view the details of call reports they have submitted themselves.

Can access Specialized Call Export Tool – This is an add-on feature that enables the creation of resource lists in Word or Excel format. This setting enables users who are not Admins to use this tool.

Can certify computers – If you are using Restriction and Certification, this setting enables non-Admins to user the Certification tool to certify a computer.

Exempt from Restriction – If you are using Restriction and Certification, and the user belongs to a Security Level that is restricted; this setting exempts them from restriction. Depending on settings made on the Tools tab of Admin Tools, Restriction may also apply to Admins and Supervisors. If this is true, to exempt a particular Admin or Supervisor from Restriction, this setting must be manually checked.

Can only see call reports for programs to which they belong – This setting only appears if you are using the add-on feature Programs. This is the setting that restricts users to only seeing call reports that belong to the same programs they do.

Can only see caller profiles for programs to which they belong – This setting only appears if you are using the add-on feature Programs. This setting restricts which repeat callers the user can see and choose for use in a call report. Please note: This setting is not given to any Security Level by default. Therefore, if a user needs this setting, it must be manually checked.

Can use Call Reports residing in other iCarol system – This setting only appears if a caller report from another iCarol system is being shared with your system. This setting enables the user to see and create call reports using the shared call report. Please note: This setting is not given to any Security Level by default. Therefore, if a user needs this setting, it must be manually checked.

Can access Outbound Calls – This setting enables the user to see the Outbound Calls button on the main Calls page, if this tool is turned on in the system.

Can only access Outbound Calls, but not see Call Reports – If a user should only have access to the Outbound calls tool, and should not be able to see and use Call Reports, check this setting.

Advanced security settings - Shifts and Resources

Allowed to access Shifts – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Shifts” in the left hand menu, and therefore view the shift calendar and sign up for shifts.

Hide the list of people currently in On Call shifts, on the main Calls page – If this setting is unchecked, at the top of the Calls page will be a list showing who is currently signed up for On Call shifts. If this setting is checked, this will not show.

Can only see shifts for programs to which they belong – This setting only appears if you are using the add-on feature Programs. This setting restricts which shifts the user sees on the shift calendar to just those that are for the programs he or she belongs to.

Allowed to access Resources – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Resources” in the left hand menu, and therefore view and search Resources through that link and through the call report form.

Can activate/inactive resources – this refers to the “Status” field in resource records. This setting enables users to change to status to and from Active, Inactive, and Active but do not refer.

Can approve resource changes – This setting only applies to those systems using Workflow rules for the resource database.

Can QA resources – This setting only applies to those systems using Workflow rules for the resource database.

Can access verification – This setting enables the user to use the Automated Verification add-on feature.

Advanced security settings - Export and Vols Staff

Data export options – As noted at the top of this section, if any of these are selected, the person can access the Data Export tool from the bottom of the home page inside of iCarol.

Can always see the full names of staff and volunteers – This setting applies when Admins have made changes to the way user names are displayed in iCarol via the Vols and Staff tab in Admin tools.

Advanced security settings - Other

Allowed to access Vols and Staff – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Vols-Staff” in the left hand menu, and therefore view the list of users in the system.

Allowed to access Chatboard – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Chatboard” in the left hand menu, and therefore view and post messages to the Chatboard.

Allowed to access Internal Chat – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Internal Chat” in the lower right hand corner of the screen when logged into iCarol, and therefore use this tool to chat with other users that are logged in. Please note: This setting is not given to any Security Level by default. Therefore, if a user needs this setting, it must be manually checked. Alternatively, this option can be checked for everyone by using the “Enable Internal Chat for Everyone” link on the Vols and Staff tab of Admin Tools.

Allowed to access Events – this is the setting that enables the user to see “Events” in the left hand menu, and therefore view the Events calendar.

Allowed to access News & Fun – this is the setting that enables the user to see “News” in the left hand menu, and therefore view the News page.

Statistics – With this drop-down menu, a user can be given access to see “Statistics” in the left hand menu, and therefore run various reports with this tool.

Can receive Instant Messages in iCarol – This setting will only appear if you are using the instant messaging/chat add-on feature. This setting enables the user to assume and respond to chat conversations from the Messaging page. Please note: This setting is not given to any Security Level by default. Therefore, if a user needs this setting, it must be manually checked.

Can receive Texting/SMS Messages in iCarol – This setting will only appear if you are using the texting/SMS add-on feature. This setting enables the user to assume and respond to SMS conversations from the Messaging page. Please note: This setting is not given to any Security Level by default. Therefore, if a user needs this setting, it must be manually checked.

If you have any questions at any time about Security Level or Advanced Security Settings, please do not hesitate to submit a case to the iCarol Support Team via the Online Case Management tool.

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How to Read Call Report Exports

Call report exports in iCarol contain a lot of data, and it can be challenging to understand what is being shown or where to find the particular data you are looking for. This article will review how to request a call report export, the different files one receives when they complete a call report export, and what data is shown in these files.

Requesting a Call Report Export

To request a call report export, users with Admin security will click Admin Tools, in the left hand menu, then the Tools tab, then the link “Extract all of your data” in the Data Export section.

request_an_export

On the data export page, the right hand column will be used to request a call report export.

Data export details

The first drop-down menu, which shows “7 days ago” in the screenshot above, is a quick suggestion list you can use to denote what time frame you want to use for the resource export. If you would like to indicate a specific time frame for the export, use the two date field to denote a start and end date. Next, there are 3 check boxes to indicate what kind of export you would like to request; place a check mark next to “Call Reports”.

Under the title “Call Report export options”, you will see some information that says “Custom field columns will be ordered alphabetically. If you prefer a specific form’s fields to be first, please choose it below”. This is referring to the custom categories, groups and field that are in your call report. In the call report export, there will be one column for every custom group in your call report form, and these will be identified in this format: Category Name – Group Name. For example, Demographics – Gender. These columns will be arranged alphabetically by Category name. If your export will contain data from several different call reports, all categories from all call reports will be listed alphabetically. To say this another way, the columns, representing Categories, will not be in the order you see in the call reports, and categories from different call reports will follow each other, instead of all Categories from one call report first, then followed by the second call report, and so on. By choosing a particular call report with this option however, you can have all the categories from that call report come first, in alphabetical order, then followed by all the rest of the categories from all the rest of the call reports.

In the next section, you will choose which call reports you would like to export. By default, all call reports in your system are checked. If you would only like to export certain call reports, you will uncheck those you do not want to export. For those clients that only have one call report in their system, you will not see a list of call reports.

Finally, to run the call report export, you will click the “Start creating” button, found under the list of call reports.

Start Creating

As indicated in the note above the “Start creating” button, you will get an email when the export is ready. At that time, you will return to this page and you will find a link, on the right hand side of the screen, which you will click to download the export files. Usually, exports will be ready in an hour or two, but sometimes will take longer. Exports that contain a lot of data and cover a large period of time will take longer to generate, and if you request an export at a time when many other clients are requesting exports (for example, at the beginning of the month), your export will take longer to generate.

Call Report Export Files Received

When you return to the exports page after receiving the email that your export is ready, the export will be found on the right hand side of the screen as below.

Exports ready

Click on the download you would like to open. When it opens, you will see you have received several different files, as shown below.

Export file list

Call Report Export Files Explained

CallReports

This is the most often referred to call report export file, as it contains all the data collected for every call report submitted in the time frame indicated for the call report export. This file has a column for every field in the call report, both “standard” iCarol fields, and custom categories, groups and fields. Some highlights of this export are outlined below.

call reports file detail
Click on the image above to see a larger version

Column C, LinkedToCallReportNum, will only have data in it if you are using embedded call reports. Embedded call reports are call reports that are related to each other. Many clients embed separate risk assessments to call reports, and other clients embed follow-up forms, for example. If there is an embedded call report linked to the call report shown in the row in the export, the call report number of the linked call report will be noted in this column.

Column G, CallerNum, will only show something different than -1 if a caller profile was chosen for the call report. iCarol gives a number to all caller profiles which will be noted in this column.

Column K, PhoneWorkerNum, will show the number iCarol assigned to each of your users.

call reports file detail 2
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Columns M through R refer to an old way of tracking non-transactional calls that we are not using for newer clients. Older clients may still be using this tool, which places a horizontal list of checkboxes just below the Contact Information section at the top of the call report, as shown below.

Call Report Contact Information

If you are not using this tool, you will always see Yes in column M, and No in columns N-R. If you are using this tool, No will be shown in Column M if Yes is shown in in one of the columns N through R, indicating that the call was a hangup, obscene, prank, wrong number, or silent call.

Columns U-AA indicate the caller’s location as noted in the location fields in the Contact Information section (shown in the screenshot above). Each iCarol client can determine which of these location fields appear; some clients choose to turn some or all of these location fields off. Even if these fields are turned off in all your call reports, these columns will still appear in the export, they will just be blank.

call reports file detail 3
Click on the image above to see a larger version

Columns AF-AP all refer to fields in the Contact Information section of the call report. Again, some clients choose to turn some or all of these fields off. Even if they are turned off, they will still appear in the export, but will be blank.

call reports file detail 4
Click on the image above to see a larger version

Column AQ is first default text field on the Content Tab of the call report. By default, this field is called “Call Description”, though this name can be changed.

Column AR is the “Worker’s Comments” text field on the Content tab. This field can be turned off; even if it is turned off, this column will still show on the export, but will be blank.

Column AS is the “Feedback from supervisors and staff” text field on the Content tab. This field, and therefore, the feedback function, can be turned off but again, the column will still appear in the call report export.

Column AT is the “Caller’s Feedback” text field on the Content tab. This field can be turned off but again, the column will still appear in the call report export.

Columns AU-BC are additional text fields that can be added to the Content tab. These additional text fields are added via the “Overall settings for this call report form” page when editing call reports using the call report editor. Again, even if these additional fields are not used, they will appear in the call report export.

call reports file detail 5
Click on the image above to see a larger version

Column BD will contain a number other than -1 if the worker who entered the call report is not a deleted user. iCarol assigns a Worker Number to all users in your system.

Column BH refers to the “reviewed for accuracy” function that clients can turn on via the Calls tab in Admin Tools.

Columns BI-BK refers to the feedback function in iCarol. If feedback is being given on call reports, there will be data in these columns.

Column BL will show all the referrals given to the caller, both those found in the resource database and linked to the call report, and out of database referrals, if that functionality is turned on. Please note that if more than one referral was given, the referrals will be separated by semi-colons in this column of the export.

Column BM refers specifically to instant messaging call reports where the IP address of the visitor is recorded in the call report.

call reports file detail 6
Click on the image above to see a larger version

The custom categories and groups added to the call report begin at column BN. All columns before this point were “standard” iCarol fields, some of which can be turned off in the call report. All custom categories and groups, as stated earlier, are arranged alphabetically by Category name, then Group name. In the example call report export shown in the screenshot above, you can see the first 5 custom groups in the call report listed by their Category name, then Group name. The data you find in each row for these columns will indicate what Field was selected in the Group if it is a drop-down or checkbox Group, or what text was entered if the Group is formatted as a text Group.

CallReportCustomFields

Call Report Custom Fields

This report shows the selections made in custom categories, groups and fields for all call reports submitted in the time frame of your export. Each block of color in the screenshot above represents one call report, as indicated by the call report number in column A. Please note that column F is labeled “SubCategoryName” which is also known as the Group, and column G is labeled “Answer”, also known as the Field. If a Group is formatted as text, the text entered into that group will be shown in column I.

CallReportFollowups

Call Report Follow Ups

This file will show follow-up activities created or edited during the time frame of the call report export. Please note, a follow-up activity created outside of the time frame indicated will not be included in this file, but if that same activity was edited in the time frame, it will be shown in this file. The columns in this file refer to the fields found in the “Schedule a Follow-up activity section” on the Finish tab of call reports. Each client can control which fields appear in this section via the Calls tab of Admin Tools. However, all of the columns will appear in the export even if you have turned off a specific field, they will just be blank.

Please note columns J-L. These fields will be populated if the client has turned on, via the Calls tab in Admin Tools, the function to note follow-ups with a purpose (assistance, advocacy or survey). If this function is turned on, the follow-up purpose will be selected from a drop-down menu that will appear at the top of the “Schedule a Follow-up activity” section.

CallReportNeedsMetAndUnmet

Call Report Needs Met And Unmet
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Call Report Needs Met And Unmet 2
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Call Report Needs Met And Unmet 3
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Call Report Needs Met And Unmet 4

This export only applies to those clients using the Needs by Taxonomy function, where each call report notes a need, and any referrals made are noted as meeting the need or not. This file includes:

  • the referral made (columns D and E)
  • the Need noted (columns F and G)
  • the caller’s location and phone number (columns H-N)
  • if the Need was unmet, and if so, the reason (columns O-P)
  • the breakdown of the taxonomy term chosen as the need (columns Q-Z)
  • the AIRS Need Category the need falls into (column AD)
  • the parent agency the referral belongs to (columns AF and AG)

CallReportsLinkedTogether

Call Reports Linked Together

This very small export (only 2 columns of data) only applies to those clients using embedded call reports. As noted earlier, embedded call reports are a way to link two different call reports together. Two common ways this is being used is for separate risk assessment call reports, and follow-up call reports. This report will show the call report numbers of those call reports that are linked together, or related.

CallReportsOutofDatabaseReferrals

Call Reports Out of Database Referrals

For those clients using the Out of Database Referrals functionality, this file will contain the details of the out of database referrals made during the time frame of the export. Any details of the resource that the call taker included (Agency name, Program name, phone number, address, website, etc.) will be shown in this file.

Analysis of Export Files

The files are exported in .csv format, which can be displayed by Microsoft Excel. It is highly recommended that one have some knowledge of how to use Excel and its various functions to aid in analysing the data in the export files. There are many books, websites and courses that can teach one to use Excel.

One particularly helpful function is filtering. Using filtering, one can find very specific call reports. For example, you could use filtering to find all call reports from male callers (assuming, of course, that the gender of the caller is recorded in the call report). You can add an unlimited amount of filters to find increasingly specific call reports, such as male callers over the age of 60 who lives in Beverly Hills and discussed physical health concerns during their call.

In some cases, the particular data you might like to analyse will be contained in separate export files. For example, details on follow-ups are not contained in the same file as selections made in custom Groups. In this case, learning how to create pivot tables in Excel is very useful. In this way, you can link two files together to get a full picture of the call itself and the follow-up.

One last note – if you would like to save an export file to your hard drive, ensure you save it as an Excel file extension (.xlsx or .xls for example).

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How to Submit a Case to the iCarol Support Team via the Online Case Management Tool

iCarol Training Services

In June of 2014, we updated the online case management system in iCarol and requested that our clients use this system to submit questions, requests and issues to the iCarol Support Team, rather than sending an email. While sending emails to support@icarol.com is still permitted, submitting cases via the online case system has these benefits:

  • Correctly attributes the case to an authorized Admin at the client Agency
  • Ensures that clients are prompted to provide all details necessary to address the inquiry
  • Keeps all communication, including past cases, in one place for easy reference
  • Provides better information to our support team which will lead to improved response time and quality to the client

In order to use this tool, you will need to indicate who is a designated support contact at your agency. Two people can be set as support contacts, but this can be extended to five via a request to the support team. To set the designated support contacts, an Admin should follow these steps:

  • Click Admin Tools in the left hand menu
  • Click the Contacts tab
  • Use the drop-down menus in the Support contacts section to choose a name
  • Click the Save settings button at the top of the screen

We highly recommend that you consider an internal process whereby a small number of Admin users (between 2 and 5) are set as designated support contacts, and all iCarol questions, requests and issues are forwarded to these Admins first. You will likely find that some of the questions, requests or issues can be addressed without the need to escalate the issue to the iCarol support team. For example, it may be that someone just forgot how to complete a particular task in iCarol, and the Admin can provide instruction. If the Admin cannot answer the question, fulfill the request or address the issue, they can then submit a case to the iCarol Support Team using the online case management system.

To submit a case, follow these steps:

  • Click Help in the left hand Menu
  • Click the third link at the top of the Help screen, which states “Cases – Contact the iCarol Support Team”

    iCarol help page

  • You will be presented with this screen:

    iCarol Case Managememt Page

  • At the top, you will see a blue circle with a question mark; click on this for answers to common questions about the case management system. On the right hand side of the screen, you will see three filters; Open, Closed, and All. You can use these filters to filter which cases will display on the screen. You will also see an Export to Excel icon at the bottom of the screen. You can click on this icon to export the list of cases you have displayed on the screen.
  • To create a new case, simply click the “Create new case button”. Please note that this button will only appear for those Admins who have been set as the designated support contacts. However, all Admins in your system can access the case system, and can read all the cases that have been submitted to iCarol either through the online case system or via an email to support@icarol.com. Your screen will look like this:

    Enter a case

  • To begin, choose a reason for your case from the drop-down menu. The help tip provides definitions for all options in this list to help you choose to most appropriate one. Once you choose a reason, you will be presented with a second drop-down menu, to select the feature affected, or, said another way, the feature your case refers to. Here is what the screen looks like with both the reasons and feature affected drop-down menus displayed, and with selections made:

    4 Case reason and feature

  • Depending on which option you chose as your “reason”, you will be presented with a number of text fields to fill out. Here is what your screen will look like when you choose “Not working as expected” as your “reason”:

    5 Case description and detail

Just as in other places in iCarol, red asterisks indicate required fields. The first required field is the subject field. As indicated in the screen shot above, please give a clear, concise and descriptive subject, and avoid generalizations. For example, “iCarol issue” is not a good subject. “Cannot edit Caller Profiles” is a good subject. Regarding the other fields as seen above (Description, Examples, Who is affected and Browser and URL), please fill in the text fields with as much detail as you can regarding the question, request or issue you are submitting.

Also, screenshots or other documents that illustrate the issue or provide further detail or explanation about your question or request are extremely helpful. You can attach up to five documents to your case via the “Attachments or screen shots” section at the bottom of the case submission screen. Please note, you cannot paste screen shots into the text fields on the case submission screen. They must be saved as a document onto your computer, and then attached to the case. The more detail you provide when submitting a case, the easier it is for the support team (and technical team, if the case relates to a technical issue) to understand your case, complete a thorough investigation, and reply in a timely manner. If we require further details, this might delay resolution of the issue as we gather additional details from you. It is truly in your best interest to supply as many specific details as you can so your case can be addressed efficiently, effectively and quickly.

Call Report changes

If you would like to request some call report changes, please note that as of November 10, 2014, Admins can now access a vastly expanded tool to make these changes themselves. We encourage Admins to learn how to use this tool and to make call report changes themselves. If you would prefer the iCarol Support Team make these changes, please submit a case via the online case submission tool and choose “Settings, configuration and form changes” as your “reason”, and “Call report – Edit form” as the “feature affected”. These selections will cause your screen to look like this:

6 Call Report edits

If you click the highlighted drop-down menu, you will find a list of your call reports. Choose the call report you would like to make edits to. You will then be presented with additional drop-down menus where you can choose the exact Category, Group and Field you would like to edit. You will also be given a text field to type in specific instructions about the edit you want to make. When you have finished outlining the edit you want made, you will click the “Append request to this case” button. You can then add another request, again using the drop-down menus to indicate very specifically the call report, category, group and field. This is what a call report change request might look like:

7 Call report edits.2

If you have a large list of edits to be made, you can also attach a document that outlines these changes. We request that the document include the same specifics that the case submission tool does, namely, that you indicate clearly which call report, categories, groups and fields need to be edited.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the support team!

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