Expat Helpline

Expat Helpline is a voluntary service that helps expat parents know childhood options in Copenhagen/Denmark in a positive way.

Answering the brief “How might new service platforms help people build social connections through mutual trust and interdependence”, over 3 weeks our team looked at how new expat families with children can transition into their new life in Denmark easily.

In this project, the team worked closely with an International School teacher who has been responsible for setting up Expat Helpline early in 2019. During the co-creation session, through different exercises, the team understood the value propositions of the service and the vision for how the service will develop in the future. For the helpline to grow as a full service, both callers (users) and volunteers (operations) are equally important to design for. To be able to deliver a consistent service that was easily accessible and could grow organically, the team looked at designing for the operations side of the helpline.

Based on the findings, the team designed a volunteer toolkit. After body storming, the team prototyped a quick version which could be implemented immediately. The most accessible way to do this was in the form of a Google Spreadsheet. To maintain consistency of how information is exchanged between the volunteers and callers, the team designed to some specific touchpoints-

  • The toolkit consists of a protocol section to guide volunteers through a call with the right tone and information
  • The call log section makes collection and documentation of information convenient for future service improvement
  • Relevant information is categorised under common topics and is available for volunteers to refer to when asked for specific information

This tool is available to use immediately, and managing volunteers can modify the tool with flexibility.

Looking at the future, the team envisions the service to grow steadily wherein there will be more callers calling in and hence more volunteers involved in the operations. Massive information flow will require a service more robust than one managed by a Spreadsheet.
To make the service more accessible, more volunteers across Denmark would be undertaken. The expanse of the operations will make the physical phone inaccessible.

How can we design the service to support its organic growth to face these challenges?
Expat Helpline is a desktop app that integrates all the touchpoints designed in the volunteer Spreadsheet toolkit while also expanding its capacity. On the frontline, volunteers responsible for answering the helpline will primarily use this platform to answer calls. The platform generates a call log with relevant information to keep track of the questions being asked. This allows the helpline to keep the right information ready for future queries. The platform also helps the volunteers keep track of their volunteering time. They can additionally also schedule their volunteering sessions on the app.
At the backline, service founders will be managing the operations. A technical support team will also be required to maintain the smooth running of the platform.