City’s 311 System Seeing Constant Improvements

TelephoneSince the 311 contact centre went live five months ago, the City has been making improvements based on feedback from the public, which has resulted in enhancements.

“We knew from the beginning that with a large volume of inquiries, a new 24/7 system for our citizens to familiarize themselves with, advanced technologies to learn and new staff, there would be challenges to face and problems to solve,” said Chief Administrative Officer, Glen Laubenstein. “We have been tracking every 311 call and e-mail to learn from our mistakes and our successes so that we can continue to be responsive and make improvements as need be.”

Some of those improvements include giving citizens two points of contact when calling either their libraries, or the zoning and permits department. Both of those services can now be accessed by either 311 or by dialing the direct number like before.

Some other improvements include:

  • Golfers who want to book a tee time at one of the three city-operated golf courses can select a special queue to avoid delays.
  • Callers no longer have to provide personal information (name, address, phone number) if it’s not required to process a service request (ie: reporting a pothole, bus route details).
  • Callers who have the name of a civic employee, but no number, can call 311 and be transferred to that individual.
  • Callers (such as contractors, developers who are working on specific projects) with established working relationships with specific department staff can contact those people directly.

“In addition to being flexible and responsive by making changes and improvements based on the feedback we are getting, the 311 system is allowing us as a service provider to perform in ways we couldn’t in the past,” said Laubenstein.

Between April 1 and April 30, the call centre handled over 12,000 calls to address the emergency flood situation. Nearly 700 emails were fielded during the same time period, with over 3,600 volunteers deployed. Having the ability to react to this situation quickly and efficiently will be extremely beneficial in managing any future emergencies.

The next quarterly update on activities and progress with 311 will be made public at the end of July.


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