About Reconnect NZ
Based in Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous and culturally diverse city, Reconnect Family Services is a non-government organisation that delivers community services. Specifically, Reconnect offers a variety of programmes for at risk young people. They help young people learn, make the right choices, reintegrate back into education and training, rebuild relationships with their whanau, and imagine solid goals for themselves.
Reconnect’s programmes offer these young people a chance to re-build a future many believe they are incapable of achieving. They are known for taking on the most challenging of clients, not giving in easily, and healing the wider family dynamic so our young people have the best chance at positive life outcomes.
Reconnect employs a highly trained team of mentors, youth workers, caregivers, and case workers to offer a friendly face that adds value at every step of the programme. One-on-one, face-to-face mentoring helps these young people imagine a life away from crime, violence, drug abuse and self-harm. Each young person has the chance to consider another path they might take, in a safe and stable family environment.
After years of using spreadsheets, timesheets, calendars and emails to schedule appointments, Reconnect reached out to Skedulo for a solution that would help them be more efficient, streamline scheduling, and centralise communications.
Legacy tools made scheduling time-consuming and inefficient
Reconnect has traditionally relied on timesheets, spreadsheets, calendars, emails and phone calls to schedule caregivers for appointments.
These manual systems were incredibly time consuming with no ability to centralise communications. This meant caregivers had to source information about a job from multiple sources, with no way to document notes for easy future reference.
George Lowe, Business Analyst for Reconnect, recognised the need for systemisation as soon as he joined the team. “It was very difficult to get head or tail of where everyone was at,” says George. “We relied solely on manual systems to record jobs which made our processes very time consuming and open to human error.
“It was also a very loud operation. Everyone in the office would be on the phone at the same time trying to relay information to caregivers.”
Without an efficient system to support the team, George says mistakes were common – ranging from unrecorded phone calls to incorrect dispatching or billing, with no way to know for sure where mistakes were being made.
“We deal with young people who are at risk, so mistakes are not an option. If we need to be there for a child, we must be there. If we need to arrange emergency housing, it must be done quickly and efficiently. There is no room for error, and we must have absolute certainty that every job is set up and completed correctly.”
Knowing there had to be a better way, George’s team began investigating solutions. They went through a significantly lengthy process of benchmarking different systems before choosing Skedulo.
“We shortlisted a variety of products from local and overseas vendors. But some of the solutions required us to house on-premise servers or pay for dedicated Cloud servers. This would have incurred significant overheads which we were not comfortable with.
“When we discovered Skedulo could run on a Salesforce backend and had been backed by Microsoft, we were very interested. The clincher for us was being able to customise our solution quickly and easily, without extensive developer fees. We were also happy that Skedulo has an Australian base. In New Zealand, we’re quite fond of the Aussies!”
“When I saw the manual system of spreadsheets, calendars, timesheets, calls and emails, I knew there had to be a better way. Thankfully there was.”
Skedulo helps Reconnect NZ reduce error rates, match youth workers with the right clients, and eliminate miscommunication
Skedulo’s Customer Success Manager began working with the team at Reconnect to get them set up on the Skedulo platform. George says the fact that Skedulo had open written documentation was very helpful.
“Skedulo and Salesforce probably have some of the most comprehensive suites of user information available of any product in the market. Having the guidance from our Customer Success Manager and a great information database is absolutely critical, and with Skedulo these are strong offerings.”
Since implementing Skedulo, Reconnect has improved it’s ability to:
- Quickly assign caregivers to appointments
- Centralise communications
- Significantly reduce calls and emails
- Reduce error rates
- Streamline payroll processes
“Now, it’s much simpler to book a person and have it confirmed,” says George. “Additionally, we use the notes section extensively to provide easy access for youthworkers to information about every job. Skedulo is really well integrated, and it’s much tidier than handling lots of calls and emails. It’s also much quieter in the office now.”
When it comes to scheduling caregivers, Reconnect uses Skedulo tags to easily identify the skills and characteristics of staff so they can appropriately match them with client needs.
“Because we deal with people, our dispatchers are very important to our operations so that process will never be fully automated. But Skedulo allows us to attach skills and other attributes to a caregiver in the system, making it easier to allocate the right person to each appointment.”
Skedulo also helps Reconnect ensure they have sufficient staff on hand to manage emergency housing. “There must always be 2 to 4 staff in our emergency houses; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Skedulo helps us manage that requirement.
“After implementing Skedulo, our processing is faster and more accurate. Something that used to take us weeks now takes a couple of days. So Skedulo has produced major efficiencies for us at Reconnect.”