Talk to us by text

Over the next couple of months we hope to add to and improve the support and information available to SH:24 users. One opportunity is via text messaging and arranging call backs.

Text messages are already an integral part of the SH:24 user journey: we send notifications when a kit is dispatched, when the samples are received at the lab, and a results notification a day or two after that.

Currently users are able to text back or contact us by email. There’s also a line in the Get support page on, that says: “If you still need help, please text us on 07860 041 233 or email us at

So for the first time since our launch, Chris and I set out to spend an afternoon in waiting rooms, exploring with clinic users what they might want or need.

It was exciting to be able to begin the conversations with “I work for SH:24, a recently launched service… you may have seen the giant wall vinyls on your way in here?”

As I introduced SH:24 a little more, I made sure I shared that it was built via conversations like these.

We wanted to discover what people might want to text us about, response times, who they’d imagine is responding, and how they’d like the opportunity to text us to be communicated.

I had mocked up some webpages to get feedback on wording and positioning of the text and call back opportunities.

We quickly learnt that words like ‘help’ or ‘worry’ weren’t helping. Similarly, mentioning anything too specific left users wondering if they are able to text about something else.

One of our assumptions was that users may think twice about SH:24 using a standard 07 number instead of a 5 digit number that some organisations use. However, we found that instead, users preferred this as they associated it with standard rates and felt it was more discreet.

As for positioning, users suggested communicating the opportunities to get in touch at the top of the Get support page as well as at the bottom of the Home page and briefly in the Contact us space. This makes it clear that people can ask us something without ordering.

Most people I spoke with assumed text messages would come from someone with relevant sexual health knowledge and training but said it would be important that the person responding would also able to access their account details and know about SH:24 and how to do the tests. A few people agreed that as long as it wasn’t a receptionist it didn’t matter- and reflected on negative experiences with their GP receptionists.

Those we spoke to said they could only really imagine wanting to use the call back option if they had received a result they wanted more information or support with. Therefore they’d want the service available every day SH:24 sends out results - 7 days per week.

We have agreed some changes and additions to the site and our offer that we hope will be deployed in the next couple of weeks.