Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CVM Client Survey Results

From time to time, we ask the people who use our service some questions to find out more about how they use it, and how we might improve it. Earlier this year, we sent a survey (by voice mail, of course) to more than 11,000 active CVM clients, asking them a set of questions about the phones they use, their use of email, the kind of information that is most important to them, and also what their lives would be like if they didn't have their Community Voice Mail number. About 1,700 people responded, and we learned a lot:
  • Our clients find "free" phones. 71% say they use the free phone available at many social service agencies or other locations when they want to check their voice mail or return calls. 19% regularly use payphones, and 10% use a mobile phone.
  • Our clients are wired. 59% have an email address, and use it on a regular basis at public libraries or other locations with free access to connected computers.
  • Our clients use mobile. 21% own mobile phones, and likely purchase prepaid minutes available everywhere.
  • Our clients want information. Clients overwhelmingly indicated that they are most interested in receiving information about employment and housing. Clearly, stable employment and a safe place to live are important to our clients.

This is great data, and we're already acting on it. For the past 8 months, CVM clients who provide email addresses when they sign up automatically receive brief notification messages in their email inboxes whenever they have a CVM voice mail message waiting for this. This indicator helps our clients know when they should find a phone to check their messages. We've also created email distribution lists ("listservs") that we're using to send by email the information we're also sending by broadcast voice mail. So, client with email addresses are getting regular announcements about jobs, training opportunities, community events and other useful information. On the mobile front , we're formulating projects that will put low-cost phones in the hands of our clients, to help them achieve their near-term life goals. The mobile projects will be extensions of the pilot projects we conducted in Houston and Minneapolis/St. Paul last year, using phones and service generously donated by Working Assets (now Credo). Finally, many CVM programs around the country are providing information about jobs to clients through voice and email messaging, and working with local WorkSource/One Stop agencies to coordinate activities. There is a lot more we can and will be doing in this area. Matching our clients to viable employment opportunities is a great fit for our technology and the CVM federation infrastructure. Stay tuned.

When you ask the people you're trying to help what they need and want, you get a lot of great information! What a concept!