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Categorizing caller problems and needs with the taxonomy

If you use the 2-1-1 Taxonomy to organize and categorize your referral database, you might also want to consider tracking the problems/needs of your callers with these terms too. Then, its six-level deep hierarchy of over 9,000 terms can become good descriptors of the needs your callers have. If the caller needs have been met by referrals made, a great approach is indicate which of those identified needs were actually met by each referral. As well, you can indicate unmet needs and the reasons those needs were unmet. Taking all of these approaches together, you gain a more complete picture of what transpired on each call, which is excellent when its time to give feedback to your information and referral specialists for continuous improvement purposes. Even better, you can do reporting on your calls to identify in aggregate:
  • top caller needs,
  • which referrals met those needs,
  • which other referrals could have been used but weren’t referred,
  • top caller unmet needs, with the reasons those needs were not met
And you can benefit from the taxonomy’s hierarchical structure by “rolling up” needs at different lower levels, into a consolidated higher level for reporting purposes. For the uninitialized: A taxonomy is a classification system that allows you to distinguish concepts, name concepts and put those concepts in order. It is used to index and access information about a subject in a systematic, unambiguous way. In a human service context, a taxonomy is a classification system that allows you to index and access community resources based on the services they provide and the target populations they serve, if any. It provides a structure for your information and it tells people what is in your information system and how to find it.

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