Evaluation of the quality of services provided by a gambling helpline: An empirical study

Abstract

This study evaluates the quality of the services provided by a helpline according to the type of caller and the type of request. One hundred and fifteen bogus calls made by simulated clients were used for the evaluation. Results showed that 87% of the calls received an adequate response from the helpline information/referral counsellors (IRCs). Referral requests made by a loved one were less frequently rated as adequate. The quality of responses was better for requests for a referral than they were for information. The simulated client method allowed for experimentation in how a caller could respond emotionally when contacting the helpline. The method revealed that answers given to a loved one could be frustrating and that some IRCs have more difficulties providing general information about gambling than providing the name of a rehabilitation centre. These results should help to improve the quality of the services offered by the helpline to respond more specifically to the callers' information and referral requests.

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