Citizen engagement through call centers
Multiple self-service options are common
All of the designees are using at least six different self-service communication channels, such as online service requests, IVR and mobile applications. A number of contact centers are offering live online chat with service agents, including Evanston, Winston-Salem, and Orange County. Winston-Salem's CityLink 311 Live Chat accounts for more than 14 percent of its self-service contacts.
Leon County's Citizens Connect Button in the center of its website front page gives viewers a choice for live call, online and mobile services. Hamilton Township has online access to its searchable Citizen Self Help Knowledge Base, along with searchable FAQs, online service requests and a reverse phone call system for important updates.
All designees have optimization strategies and regular interaction with management and service departments/agencies, and most have designated liaisons to those departments. Sacramento's strategies include using half-time agent positions and shifts for flexibility and more efficient call coverage and minimizing agent turnover (currently one per year).
All designees are using Web 2.0 and social media tools as a key strategy to offload calls to self-service, as well as online FAQs. More than 80 percent of designated contact centers use Facebook and almost 70 percent are using Twitter to communicate with and engage residents.
San Francisco 311 offers two-way communications through Twitter for problem reports and service requests that are processed through the contact center's integrated systems. Residents can use a browser, smartphone or text from a regular phone.
In addition to its CCMobile resident reporting tool, the Corpus Christi contact center has launched a free mobile application for garbage and recycling collection schedules, service requests, holiday alerts and other tips and resources. My-waste is part of the city's purposeful channel-shifting plan and provides an offload option for a high volume call area, for which, the contact center issues more than 1,200 service requests and handles over 6,000 calls each month.
A total of 87 percent of this year's designated contact centers offer mobile applications for residents and have written technology plans and service level agreements (SLAs) with those departments/agencies that actually deliver the service. Ninety-four percent of designees use a centralized knowledge base and all have interfaced systems, including CRM and work management/service requests. That includes very specific systems for case management type service areas, such as code enforcement and animal control.
By consolidating multiple county department call centers and eliminating duplicative systems and licensing fees, Montgomery County's MC311, Answering to You saved the county about $10 million in its first two years. Miami-Dade County has applied its 311 business model to expand its scope to include its IT Help Desk and Teleclaim centers. To date, moving these two internal call centers to 311 has saved the county an estimated $800,000 in employee salaries and contractor costs.