City's 311 Call Center Hits Milestone

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City's 311 Call Center Hits Milestone

Posted: 11/08/2007
There were no noisemakers, flashing lights, falling balloons or popping champagne corks when the City of Knoxville's Call 311 Center hit a milestone this week. Instead the staff of 311, the city's customer service center, did what it does best when it fielded the 500,000th call for service this week - it quickly and competently responded to a Knoxville citizen's question. The caller wanted the city to know that the red signal on a traffic light at Broadway and Hotel Road was not working. The 311 customer service representative routed the information to the city's traffic engineering section and the problem was fixed shortly after they received the information. The call came in just before noon on Tuesday, November 6, and it was a satisfying moment for a group - all but one member of the 311 staff has been there since the beginning - that started operations a little more than two years ago. At just over a minute-and-a-half average length per call that's 750,000 minutes or 12,500 hours of helping people in the city with everything from codes complaints to traffic ticket according to 311 Director Russ Jensen. "This is a great achievement for a group of folks who do wonderful work for the city and the people who live here," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "We had high expectations for 311, which gives people an opportunity to call one number, go to a single source, to get information about city services. And it has turned out even than we had hoped for," he added. "It's made it easier for people to contact us, it's streamlined the process of getting their requests to the right department and it's made it easier for us to act on that request. "Implementing a 311 system was one of Haslam's goals during his first campaign for Mayor in 2003. The 311 Center's motto is "One Number. One Call." and it's the direct line for access to a tremendous range of information about, or requests for, services provided by city government. That ranges from information about city parks and recreation programs and schedules and requests to repair potholes to leaf pickup schedules, city court dates and codes enforcement issues among many other areas."311 is Knoxville's phone number," Jensen said. "Our main focus is customer service and we look at ways to improve that service every day." When a call comes in to 311 a customer service representatives provides the requested information if the caller has a question. If the caller has a service request a 311 representative enters it into the city's advanced tracking system and submits it to the proper department. Since all requests have a tracking number callers can keep up with the status of their requests. The system also helps the city because it can be used to generate reports about the volume and type of services citizens are requesting, in what areas, allows the city to identify chronic problems and indicates how various city departments are responding to those needs. The 311 staff includes six customer service agents, Chris Coyle, Shawanna Tipton, Rebecca Hill, Cheri Hollifield, Jay McCrae, Denise Johnson and Jensen.