311 Programs Incorporate Multichannel Customer Contact Centers, Web Portals, and Mobile Apps
Back in the day, when you needed the city to come to fix the pothole on your street or clean up some illegally dumped trash in the back alley, you would pick up the phone and dial 311 with a service request.
Of course, that phone hotline is still available in most large cities today—city governments like it because it steers non-emergency calls away from the 911 call center; citizens like it because it’s a quick way to reach city services without hunting through a web site or phone directory.
But more than 20 years since the first 311 hotline was launched in Baltimore, Maryland, 311 has grown beyond just a call center. Today, cities describe the nexus of these non-emergency services as a “311 program,” encompassing multichannel customer contact centers, web portals, and mobile apps.
Municipal 311 programs have grown wide-ranging, comprehensive, and often quite expensive. City managers are challenged to bring all non-emergency city services under the 311 umbrella—a cost-effective “one-stop-shop” where a resident can get their problems resolved with a single phone call, email, or form submission through the web or a mobile app.
The state of today’s municipal non-emergency programs is the subject of a new DATAMARK white paper, “The 311 Center in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Cities.” The publication offers 311 program officials insights into management best practices as well as strategies for delivering effective 311 communication channels in a time of tight budgets and limited resources.
DATAMARK is a provider of outsourced 311 contact center services for U.S. cities. To help save taxpayer dollars while improving customer service, a number of U.S. municipalities have turned over—or are considering turning over—some or all 311 functions to outside service providers. In addition to the insights mentioned above, the paper addresses best practices and considerations for the outsourcing of 311 services.
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