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311 Center for Service Innovation hosts open house 

In May 2005, the City of Knoxville tackled the question: “Who ya gonna call?”

The answer was 3-1-1.

Today, Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed Knoxville residents and City employees into the room where it happens: the new 311 Service Center in the City County Building is a hub of helpfulness and innovation in communications between residents and City services.

311 Director Russ Jensen with Mayor Madeline Rogero

“We built the Center to keep up with the evolving role of 311 as technology improves and customers’ needs change,” says 311 Director Russ Jensen.

Knoxville residents use the hotline to report a variety of non-emergency issues including, but not limited to: waste, leaf and recycling pick-up; derelict properties and abandoned vehicles; animal control; potholes; road conditions and traffic; parking meters; and more unanticipated requests.

“Once, a lady called asking for the day’s winning Lotto number,” says Customer Service Supervisor Shawanna Tipton. “After I said I didn’t know it, she wanted me to call Kroger and ask them.”

 311 Service Center supervisor Shawanna Tipton

While residents need to procure winning Lotto numbers by other means, 311 operators are equipped with an array of tools to answer a wide variety of City-related questions. Each of their desks is outfitted with two flat-screen monitors, internet access, a phone, and sheaves of folders, binders and pamphlets with info about numerous City services. Also, large monitors show current weather conditions and feeds from the Tennessee Department of Transportation cameras; another tracks trending topics on Google. The department’s six customer service representatives answered approximately 170,000 calls in 2016.

 311 Service Center desk

The new center’s location—just off the elevator on the third floor—better accommodates in-person visitors, says Jensen. Visitors to the City County Building, which houses 30 City departments, can use the office as a gateway to their next destination.

 311 Center for Service Innovation

“Originally, our main goal was to answer the phone and be nice,” says Jensen. “But we’ve accomplished much more and are excited about what we can do in the future.”  

Mayor Rogero speaks with 311 Service operator Renae Groen

Mayor Madeline Rogero chats with 311 Service representative Renae Groen.

Posted by ptravis On 11 January, 2017 at 5:20 PM