Philadelphia 311 Service Calls For Help - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Leadership

Philadelphia 311 Service Calls For Help

Philadelphia's 311 contact center gets help from nonprofit to implement customer satisfaction surveys that improve non-emergency customer service.

6 Cool Apps From Uncle Sam
6 Cool Apps From Uncle Sam
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Faced with a limited technology budget, but a need to improve the customer experience at its 311 non-emergency contact center, the City of Philadelphia did what many cities are trying: using data collection more intelligently and turning to partnerships outside the public sector.

Philadelphia's 311 contact center serves more than 1.5 million residents, businesses, and visitors seeking city-related services and information, according to the Philadelphia's deputy managing director Rosetta Carrington Lue.

One of Lue's responsibilities is serving as chief customer service officer, which led her to implement the city's Customer Service Support Plan, a performance-based initiative centered on improved customer service and responsiveness. At the heart of that initiative is the city's contact center, which needed a better way of collecting feedback from callers and coaching its employees to improve customer experience with each transaction.

"One challenge faced by many contact centers is staffing limitations to handle the volume of incoming customer traffic. There are barely enough employees to operate phones, let alone work on meeting or exceeding the organizational customer satisfaction performance goals," Lue said in a blog post on DigitalGov, a site managed by the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

[Free, easy-to-access government data helps the public participate in their communities. Read Open Data: Good For Citizens & Government.]

"We needed to find innovative solutions to effectively collect, and manage, accurate and real-time customer experience responses," she says.

Lue and her team turned to the private sector by partnering with a Fortune 500 company, which helped the city develop a customer satisfaction survey pro bono. The team also collaborated with a local non-profit organization for surveying and data-entry staffing support. As part of its Work Experience programs, the non-profit equipped the contact center with workers for up to 20 hours a week for a period of time or until they find employment.

(Source: Creative Commons, Adam Jones)
(Source: Creative Commons, Adam Jones)

The Work Experience employees receive formal training necessary to become familiar with the center's data collection processes. They are the ones who administer customer satisfaction surveys on the phone to callers who have agreed to participate. The workers then enter the results into a centralized database.

"Overall, our ability to gather customer satisfaction data has been instrumental in our growth as our city's customer service center. The data has improved our technology and business processes, external communication, and service offerings as we continue to strive for customer service excellence," says Lue.

The City of Philadelphia continues to use Work Experience programs to collect customer satisfaction surveys. Lue says the initiative also has been expanded to include social media data mining, where select agents monitor social media to see what the public is saying, such as which services they'd like to see offered or improved.

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
8 AI Trends in Today's Big Enterprise
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/11/2019
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Places to Look for Great Developers
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/4/2019
Commentary
Cloud 2.0: A New Era for Public Cloud
Crystal Bedell, Technology Writer,  9/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll