Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Connecting to Calgary’s 3-1-1 team just got easier

3-1-1 is a phone number to call for any and all types of city service requests; it’s a resource of information for City departments to better serve Calgarians; and most recently, 3-1-1 was a crime fighting machine that provided data linking a graffiti artist to more than 100 incidents around Calgary.

With all the great information Calgarians report to The City through 3-1-1, it’s no wonder why we’re constantly looking for ways to enhance the system. Therefore, near the beginning of March, we did just that.

"Moving into the summer months, the nature of 3-1-1 calls increases significantly” says Terry Pearce, Manager of Citizen Services, “many calls come in regarding grass, animals and water, as more people are out and about.”

The new 3-1-1 upgrade has improved self-service options, including the use of mapping and mobile tools to easily submit requests. New tracking enhancements also allow Calgarians to see their service request status without having to call The City and speak to a 3-1-1 representative. The system will ask for some basic information, such as your name and email address, to send a notification to confirm your request has been received, as well as a link to check status updates as the request is being worked by City staff.

“Our new 3-1-1 system is a modified version of what we were previously using, but with an astounding 405 enhancements to the product,” explains Terry.

With modified intake control, the online service request process is now user friendly and smart phone friendly with iPad and playbook compatibility. One of the unique features is web mapping, which leverages Google Maps to specify a web address with automatic suggestions as you type. Another great feature is the ability to attach up to five images of the issue directly into the request.

“Users can more easily determine the category of service needed by selecting from one of 73 available active request types,” says Terry, “many of the upgrades, including the predefined categories, are to enhance ease of use for citizens.”

The platform we’re using to manage 3-1-1 service requests has further capabilities that we’ll be exploring as continuous improvements. Citizen registration and profile creation can store user information, customize services they are comfortable choosing and allows the user to create templates for common service requests for ease of input.

More exciting avenues of connecting with Calgarians are also being tested to ensure that The City utilizes current technologies that our citizens most frequent.

Our ability to manage customer service requests and generate performance reports will also greatly improve, resulting in more efficiencies and a better online experience for citizens when connecting with 3-1-1.

To request a service or check the status of a service request click the “Connect with 3-1-1” button on the 3-1-1 website.

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