Philly311: Engaging Citizens, Serving Customers

Source: Evelina Moulder, International City/County Management Association, 2009

From the summary:
Philadelphia set a goal to be a national leader in customer service, and recognized that in order to achieve that goal, it would have to do a better job of engaging its citizens. Both Mayor Michael Nutter and Managing Director Camille Barnett, an ICMA member, envisioned a 311 system as an essential component to improving citizen engagement and customer service.

The city launched Philly311 in December 2008, which can be accessed by phone, e-mail, Web, or walk-in. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Customer service representatives are viewed as ambassadors of the city and have a major role in the relationship between the government and its citizens.

Despite its marketing budget being cut two months prior to the launch, Philly311 received 3,576 calls on its first day of operation, according to the new report Philly311: Engaging Citizens, Serving Customers. High-call volume continues with most calls for information (71%), for referrals to a particular department (14%), and service requests (12%). Citizens have been requesting service related to abandoned cars, street light outages, potholes, vacant properties, exterior maintenance, trash pick up, among other issues. Service requests receive a tracking number so that customers can track progress on the 311 Web site.

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