Versus Arthritis

Working alongside a leading health charity to expand beneficiary services and realise a new organisational vision

Versus Arthritis

17th September 2019

Reason we were needed

Versus Arthritis was principally a research organisation with long term goals around Arthritis’s treatment and cure.

This project focused on people living with Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions with a view to providing meaningful, practical advice and guidance via a new multi-channel Helpline operation.

Embracing new digital assistant technologies, the aspiration was to combine modern communication technologies with personal support to create a ‘personalised offer’ to deliver a real impact on people’s lives.

This was a big change for Versus Arthritis requiring new skills, technologies, capabilities and culture.

What was done

We re-visited the vision for the new service before interviewing staff members across the organisation to evaluate current skills, resources and organisational attributes.

We also worked closely with the digital communications team to evaluate the impact of ‘Watson’ – IBMs interactive Digital Assistant on customer support operations.

All this also had to be set in the context of a marketing campaign seeking to communicate the new proposition to potential beneficiaries


Our analysis offered a range of volumetric scenarios, supported with practical and fully costed recommendations on staffing, supporting telephony and CRM technologies, accommodation, security and workflow planning for both in-house and outsource options.


Versus Arthritis have launched a new multi-channel helpline open Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm, providing high quality information and advice to thousands of people with arthritis every year.

This new development means they’re now directly support people with arthritis in a way they haven’t done before. People with arthritis are now woven into the fabric of Versus Arthritis’ organisation, more than ever.

We are not making decisions on their behalf; rather we are listening and we are responding to what they tell us.Liam O’Toole – Chief Executive


Connect Assist made a valuable contribution to our understanding of how we could meet our goal of delivering a new multi-channel helpline. Practical, attuned and thoroughly researched, their recommendations were customised to our situation whilst drawing upon the many years of experience they have to offer in delivering effective Charity helplines. The consultancy project supported our vision and provided a clear pathway to delivery. I would not hesitate to recommend Connect Assist to other organisations considering significant change around multi-channel helpline services.”

-Adrienne Skelton, Director of Policy and Health and Social Care Improvement