A dedicated telephone line (and/or web page) can be used to offer broad public access to project information and provide access to project team members who can answer questions. As an affordable, accessible public input mechanism it offers an opportunity to solicit, record and assess public reaction/feedback.
A hot line also:
- Conveys accessibility and openness to public/s; quick response to inquiries (or risk credibility)
- Is easy to update and ensures current information is in public domain
- Accessible to large and/or diverse geographic areas and populations
- Controls information flow; ensures message/information consistency
- Allows the organization to control the time frame
Determine the information to be presented and schedule dates for regular updates to (if applicable). Plan advertising methods and budget, and ensure it is included in all promotional materials. Hook up phone line and test. Ensure toll-free number for non-local callers is operational. Record a greeting, provide information to answer the most commonly-asked questions, and other caller instructions.
Offer the option of speaking with a specific person, time/s experts are available, appoint staff/representative to research and answer questions, and brief and train this individual; ensure he/she can access information, has contact details of who to ask for which information and has a pleasant telephone manner, even with difficult callers. Log calls/common complaints/concerns for your records and input to the participation process.