CiC: Connect Assist provides specially trained staff for out-of-hours helpline


CiC provides Employee Assistance Programmes, training, mediation and a range of well-being services to more than 250 organisations, their employees and families throughout the UK and internationally. The organisation works with public, private and third sector employers to offer tailored support packages to over 400,000 employees. The heart of the service is the 24/7, year-round counselling helpline.

The team at CiC offer a huge range of services to the individuals they support, including everything from lifestyle advice to critical incident and trauma response. It is therefore essential that expert care is available via their helpline services at all hours of the day and night.

CiC first approached Connect Assist in 2009 following a recommendation from another organisation. Its existing supplier could no longer provide the level of service CiC required to meet the varied needs of its service users, and it was necessary to find a new partner.

While many organisations offer 24/7 call-answering services, very few have staff who are trained in counselling and are able to support very distressed callers and carry out appropriate risk assessment. CiC required reliable, experienced and fully trained contact centre staff at short notice to operate its helpline during unsociable hours such as evenings, weekends and bank holidays. The out-of-hours cover was particularly important to support a growth in international work, which had resulted in an increase of incoming calls from different time zones.

The solution:

Based at our headquarters in Nantgarw, we worked with CiC to set up a team of fully trained and experienced contact centre staff to provide employee-assistance helpline cover services for its clients.

CiC has since experienced a steady increase in the number of services users accessing its helplines, and has continued to work with Connect Assist on this basis ever since.

Libby Payne, Clinical Director at CiC, says:

“When we first started working with Connect Assist, we were in a position where we needed some really reliable staff who could support our service users and their varied needs. The majority of calls to our helpline are taken in normal working hours, however the calls that come through out of hours tend to be of a more emergency nature.

“Expertise in counselling, reliable reporting systems and the ability to manage distressed and vulnerable callers is absolutely vital for our helpline, and Connect Assist was able to meet this demand.

“We were very conscious not to follow the route that many other EAP providers have taken, which is to use overseas call answering solutions. Connect Assist is based in South Wales, only a few hours from us, which offers fantastic business continuity should there ever be a problem with accessing our London offices. We feel they work in close partnership with us, always responding positively and are able to handle anything we throw at them.

“Although we are a small client compared to many of the other organisations Connect Assist works with, we are always made to feel like we are a very important customer.”

Case Study

Case Study: Grocery Aid

1.1.          Grocery Aid

1.1.1.      About our customer

Grocery Aid, the trading name of the National Grocers' Benevolent Fund, is the charity for the grocery industry. Grocery Aid helps people all over the UK who have worked, or are working, in the grocery industry and have now found that they need some extra support to get by. The help that Grocery Aid provides can make a very real difference and it provides not only monetary support, but also appliances and everyday items that many take for granted.

1.1.2.      The service we provide

The helpline was a new service for Grocery Aid. We set about improving the reach of their valuable service and sought to reach out to the people needing the help and support that they provide. In early 2010, Connect Assist successfully helped Grocery Aid launch their first helpline via our 24/7 Contact Centre. Today we offer multi-channel solutions via phone, e-mail, knowledgebase, ask a question and live chat.   The multi-channel helpline provides information and support to people and business owners working in the trade – from large supermarkets to corner shops. This includes an innovative ‘incident support’ service following attacks, arson and other incidents that are prevalent within the industry.


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