2.1 Million Calls Later, City's 311 Service Marks 10th Anniversary

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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2.1 Million Calls Later, City's 311 Service Marks 10th Anniversary

Posted: 05/05/2015
311 Knoxville's NumberOn May 5, 2005, the City of Knoxville launched its 311 information line. It was only the 12th municipal 311 service in the nation, beating out larger cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Ten years later, Knoxville's 311 has racked up some impressive statistics. Call Center employees have answered about 2.1 million calls and initiated 386,658 requests for service. Regular follow-up surveys asking people to rate their experience with the 311 service consistently show a satisfaction rate of 98 to 99 percent.

"We started out to make government and City services more accessible and more customer-friendly," said Russ Jensen, the City's 311 Director. "I think we have accomplished that. But we are always looking for ways to improve."

Jensen oversees a staff of six customer service specialists, who field calls from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A large screen in the 311 Call Center on the 6th floor of the City County Building shows how many calls are in the queue and how long each caller has been on the line. Jensen says 75 percent of calls are answered within 20 seconds.

Jensen and his staff have also been integral to several City initiatives, including:

• enrollment for the City's curbside recycling program;
• a statewide data collection project for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (based at the University of Tennessee);
• enlisting the City in the inaugural class of an Innovation Academy run by Arizona State University and the Alliance for Innovation, which has led to a City Ambassadors program aimed at improving customer service across all departments;
• and a digital inclusion program to train senior citizens on using computer tablets at the John T. O'Connor Senior Center.

Last year, Knoxville's 311 service won the national Customer Service Week 311 Synergy Group award of excellence. The award recognizes one centralized government customer service center that has consistently demonstrated a customer-focused approach to improving local government service.

"We have learned a lot in the past 10 years about what Knoxville residents and visitors want and need in terms of City services, and how to address those needs as quickly as possible," Jensen said. "I am very lucky to have a great staff and strong, customer-focused leadership from Mayor Rogero. We are looking forward to the next 2 million calls!"