Change Grow Live: Monitoring happiness during recovery helps the journey
Service user satisfaction is important to the effective delivery of substance misuse treatment and recovery services. A person’s recovery is not only important to their well-being, but that of their families, friends, employers, communities, and anyone whose lives they touch.
“If people aren’t feeling welcomed at our service they simply will not return,” said Minesh Patel, Head of Services in Nottinghamshire as part of health and social care charity Change Grow Live (CGL). To measure and validate this, CGL rolled out HappyOrNot Smiley Terminals at the end of 2018 to gauge the likeliness of service users to recommend CGL to their friends and family based on their experience.
Beating Addiction, Improving Mental Health
Change Grow Live believes in people and believes that creating an environment for connecting, growing, and learning is essential to supporting individuals as they confront substance misuse. Across the CGL network, nearly 800 fully trained volunteers and over 4,000 staff members work with over 220,000 people a year. “Over 220,000 people beat their addiction with us last year,” according to CGL’s annual report, referring to the 12-month period ending in March 2019. It added that 17 out of 20 the people CGL served are no longer at risk of eviction (a common peril), and 75% reported improved mental health.
“We’re seeing an increase in the complexity of needs for the people who are using our services,” Minesh said. “Often, symptoms of substance misuse are related to other life events, such as trauma. You rarely get someone who comes in solely with substance abuse issues,” he explained. “There are other things going on in their lives. We can’t treat substance use in isolation. We need to listen, learn and understand what has led to the person using substances.”
Knowing a person’s satisfaction with their services gives CGL another data point for understanding their clients’ struggles and how its frontline teams can better address them.
Using the HappyOrNot scores to improve services
Minesh says giving people an easy-to-use way to voice their satisfaction with HappyOrNot, and the resulting scores, provide key indicators that are useful in making systemic improvements and reporting to the agencies that commission them. “We are able to use the HappyOrNot scores to improve the services provided by our many volunteers and practitioners.”
HappyOrNot has helped CGL to:
“We wanted to make giving feedback easier”
“Service user involvement is massively important to us,” said Minesh. “But how we were capturing this involvement was by using printed forms, conducting interviews, and assembling focus groups. When people come to our locations they are often busy and may not have the time for the usual routes of giving feedback, which require pen and paper. We wanted to make giving feedback easier.”
“We were aware of the HappyOrNot concept because we see it in a range of places,” he said, “whether in a retail store or even an airport. I thought it would be a great addition to our community treatment service, an innovative new way to get more feedback on the important services our frontline teams provide.”
“Once I made contact with the sales manager and I saw all the reporting and how HappyOrNot stimulated engagement, that clinched it for me,” Minesh told us. “It was a sophisticated system which could provide a range of indicators of how people feel when using our services”
CGL got off to a good start with HappyOrNot and the system only improved from there. “We were happy with the success of the first year with the HappyOrNot terminals and we just upgraded to the Smiley Touch versions. Now we can get more qualitative information – a richer understanding of how people feel about their experience with us,” Minesh said.
The terminals are positioned at multiple CGL locations. After some trial and error, terminals begin with a simple question: “Would you recommend Change Grow Live to friends or family?” From there they dig into satisfaction with staff attitudes, friendliness, and professionalism. At a pace of about 400 responses a month, they get feedback on wait times, accessibility, customer service, the overall environment, and the quality of service. From May through August 2019 they saw a steady increase in their Happy Index. It took a dip in September and October, then enjoyed a positive bounce in November.
Turning Feedback into Services
Minesh said HappyOrNot provides a valuable “indicator of how people are feeling at a given point on a given day.” However, he says, “It’s your responsibility as the manager to examine the trends, find out what made people feel that way, then respond to the feedback.” Doing so has inspired specific improvements.
“We found there were certain days of the week and times when people were less satisfied,” Minesh said. “Negative feedback increased on Thursday afternoons, for example. We were getting a lot of unhappy faces as soon as people walked in the door. We found that people were unhappy because they couldn’t get through to anyone in the morning, since we’re closed Thursday mornings. People had to visit us in person. We began publicising our phone number and put three people on the telephones to answer any queries or questions so people did not have to come in.”
The scores led to adding services, too. “Friday reports also showed a spike in dissatisfaction,” he said, “so we placed a staff member near the terminal to enquire about why a person pressed the red unhappy button. The feedback told us that people wanted more activities on Fridays, so we added morning coffee sessions to allow people to link in. We saw an increase in our positive feedback following this change!”
“We let people know the scores”
Minesh said they share the HappyOrNot reports widely. “We share the data with the team. We discuss them in team meetings which allows people to put their hands up and offer ideas in a group setting. We publicise the results in our reception area so everyone can see we’re serious about improving our services. We let people know the scores, good or bad.”
As a charity, CGL is funded by Councils and being able to quantify satisfaction levels helps when reporting effectiveness to these agencies, Minesh explained. “I’ve used our deployment of HappyOrNot as evidence that we’re gathering user feedback in a different way. We share these scores with commissioners and Care Quality Commission, which regulates healthcare services.”
“Gathering data with the HappyOrNot service demonstrates and complements CGL’s overall dedication to learning from and improving people’s experience with us,” Minesh concluded.
About Change Grow Live
Change Grow Live (CGL) is a nationwide charity that helps tens of thousands of people each day, with the mission to help people change the direction of their lives, grow as individuals, and live life to its full potential.
Funded by councils and local authorities who commission CGL to provide services, including sometime donations from the public, CGL does not operate as a business looking to make a profit. Instead, they focus on making sure that everything they do is to help the people who use their services, and the wider public too.
To learn more about the important services offered by Change Grow Live, visit their website at https://www.changegrowlive.org/.