Effective Technology and Management Practices

for the Development and Implementation of

Citizen Call Centers
Public Technology Institute

1301 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. Suite 830, Washington, DC 20004 www.pti.org



Foreword ...............................................................................................................3 Introduction ...........................................................................................................4 A Seamless Approach to Government Call Centers: Focusing on Service Delivery Corpus Christi, Texas............................................................................................6 Providing Excellence in Service: The Greensboro Contact Center Greensboro, North Carolina ................................................................................20 311 Call Center Implementation: One Call Plus One Request Equals a Proactive and Responsive City Government Kansas City, Missouri..........................................................................................30 New York City 311 Customer Service Center New York, New York ...........................................................................................38 NYCHA’s Centralized Call Center New York City Housing Authority ........................................................................43 Additional Resource:
311/CRM Project Coordinating Group ......................................................................47

About PTI ............................................................................................................49


Many local governments are looking at how Citizen Call Centers and 311/Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) systems can be used to deliver services more effectively within their communities. For citizens, call centers provide quick and easy access to government. For local government leaders, these centers keep them in touch with their constituency, providing real-time data on requests for services within any given geographic area and timeframe. As powerful as call center technology can be, unfortunately, much of its potential remains untapped. In some cases, this is due to ineffective strategies (for example, where not all departments or agencies have bought into the concept) as well as confusion surrounding the different roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders. To help alleviate some of this confusion, particularly among chief elected and appointed officials in local government, PTI presents Effective Technology and Management Practices for the Development and Implementation of Citizen Call Centers. This paper provides an overview of the implementation strategies and results of five PTI member local governments and agencies: Corpus Christi, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; New York, New York; and the New York City Housing Authority. In 2008 PTI launched the “Citizen-Engaged Community” designation program. Through this initiative, PTI will promote both an incentive and a guide for local governments to connect their citizen contact and service delivery systems through improved processes and technology, while encouraging more active participation by citizens in government performance management and reporting. This collection of case studies was compiled as part of this effort. Information on this exciting new program is available at www.pti.org.
Sincerely, Alan Shark, Executive Director Public Technology Institute November 2008


INTRODUCTION In the last decade, the teaming of contact centers and technology has revolutionized customer service operations and become the standard for customer communications. To be successful, organizations must break through silo thinking and establish environments of coordination and integrated systems. Dr. John Clayton Thomas of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University described the “citizen-initiated contacting of local governments”…as “an enormous phenomenon in the U.S., with from 20 to 70 percent of residents initiating local contacts each year, compared to voter turnout in the 20 to 35 percent range.” The annual call volume for many local government 311 call centers is sometimes double the city’s population. With such responses, a 2008 Gartner report suggests that “providing self-service functionality is an important strategy that will help call center managers balance costs and quality of services. Leading companies require their customer service operations to provide increased automation and smooth integration from automated self-service to live-agent-handled tasks. They also need tighter integration between channels, and the ability to respond to the fast-changing application needs of the call center business.” Typically, citizens call local governments to obtain information, submit a complaint or make a service request. They use online and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephony systems to conduct business, such as pay utility bills, apply for a permit, or register for basketball leagues. Governments are not selling products to generate revenue to support new technology for customer support. However, as citizens become more accustomed to the electronic services and customer support provided by the private sector, such customer service standards now are perceived as an expectation, not a convenience. The emergence of mobile communications also are impacting call center and web services. Government Technology reported that the mobile workforce is projected to grow 17.7 percent from 2002 to 2012, while the sedentary workforce is projected to grow 6.3 percent in the same time period. Having Web or IVR automated telephone self-service options are essential for call center operations, since the average estimated cost of customer service, by contact channel, is Web self-service at $0.65; phone self service at $1.85; E-mail at $2.50; phone (with live agent) at $4.50; and Web chat at $7.50 (Gartner/Avaya, 2005).


In addition to government efficiencies, effectiveness and democratic accountability are key aspects of citizen-centric government. Local government 311 call centers, along with integrated online and IVR telephone systems, afford an opportunity to significantly improve government accountability and transparency. Through call manager telephony systems, CRM and work order systems, and web tracking applications, excellent, real-time performance data are available to identify high complaint areas and specific improvement needs for workload and resource allocation, trends in business process problems, customer communication requirements, geographic focus areas, and municipal effectiveness and timeliness in addressing problems. More and more local governments are realizing the value of this teaming of call centers, the web, a mobile workforce and technology to empower citizens and improve the relationship between government and its constituents. The following case studies provide insight into both the commonalities and distinguishing localization and customization for processes and technology successfully used by five government organizations.


A Seamless Approach to Government Call Centers: Focusing on Service Delivery PTI Member Case Study: City of Corpus Christi, Texas
The Concept To excel in responsive, accessible and seamless customer service, the City of Corpus Christi has fully implemented a centralized Customer Call Center, with one easy-to-remember number, 826-CITY (2489). The Call Center was identified as a City Council goal in 2003, was one of five major objectives of the City Manager and was designated as a key organization goal at the City’s annual department director retreat in 2004. A unique feature of Corpus Christi’s Call Center is that call representatives not only provide information to the public, but also issue work orders for department services through the work management systems utilized by respective departments and with GIS mapping. City governments are less focused on product marketing and customer retention than the private sector, and an integrated work management system significantly strengthens what is important to citizens: responsive service delivery. The Plan A strategic five-year plan has directed implementation and staffing of the Call Center, including consideration of 311 in FY 2007-08. The plan includes components for customer service, facilities, policies and procedures, technology, implementation process and schedule, training and performance management. Implementation began in 2003, with departmental customer call functions transitioned into the Call Center beginning in 2004 and completed in 2006. Corpus Christi Call Center Schedule Overview


Significant milestones in the implementation process include developing service manuals for each call representative. The manuals have sections for each department and City service area, with missions, services provided, policies and procedures, customer FAQs, key critical questions for call representatives, and user-friendly, screen-shot training for the specific work management software utilized in that service area. Another important contributor to successful implementation was an effective transition process. This was accomplished by working with individual departments to identify customer needs, completing several weeks of tracking call data, establishing operational procedures, and developing key service questions for call representatives. Using a three-month pilot project approach at the beginning of the transition created a comfort zone for departments and allowed for fine-tuning procedures, responsibilities and communications. The Skeptics The first skeptic was the Director of E-Government Services, who was initially insistent that the technology tool must be a CRM and not a work management application, since the focus should be on the customer. This same director later became the strongest advocate for the work order approach to call taking and resulting departmental service integration. Other skeptics were department directors, as a department’s staff were transitioned into the Call Center. Directors had great anxiety at relinquishing control of customer management, whether they were doing that effectively or not. At the same time, they almost always had an unrealistic perception of the amount and type of calls they received, with no data or tracking in place. The department focus is on the operations and service delivery, not the communications. The Action Staffing Staffing of the Call Center was accomplished by transitioning staff from departments with high volume customer calls or high complaint histories, and those that had deployed MAXIMO work management system. Employees moved into the Call Center with their desktop computers, licenses for work management software, and position funding, thus eliminating the need for significant budget increases. An executive assistant to the City Manager became the Call Center Manager.


Currently, 25 full time employees provide information and route work orders and service requests, including 20 call representatives, three supervisors, a call center manager and one call representative who serves as a back-up and provides administrative assistance. Nine call representatives, two supervisors and the manager are bilingual. Based on call volume and type of calls, six skill groups were established in the call distribution system and staffed: animal care, code enforcement, utility accounts, utility departments, other City services and graffiti. With cross-training, call representatives in each skill group are able to serve as backups for the other skill groups. Each call representative signs on with a designated user ID number through the Cisco Agent Desktop System. The three supervisors and the manager are able to sign on and receive customer calls for each skill group through the Cisco Agent Desktop and monitor staff performance and availability through the Cisco Supervisor Software System. This improves customer responsiveness during high call volume periods, such as the first and middle of the month for utility accounts. Hours of Operation The Call Center operating hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., based on call volume requirements. The Call Center initially was open during regular business hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After a four-month pilot project with extended hours completed early in 2007, operations were extended to the current schedule. Although original plans called for a 24/7 Call Center and implementation of 311, call demand did not justify that expansion. Research also indicated that many private sector call centers were moving away from 24/7 operations as call volumes during extended hours did not warrant the required staffing and costs. Calls received during the pilot project between 5:01 and 7:00 p.m. averaged 66 calls per day. Fifty-four percent of these calls were utility billing inquiries or service requests. Seventy-two percent of the total calls were received between 5:01 and 6:00 p.m.; 16 percent between 6:01 and 6:30 p.m.; and 12 percent between 6:31 and 7:00 pm.


After Hour Call Volume




5:01 to 6:00 p.m. 6:01 to 6:30 p.m. 6:31 to 7:00 p.m.



0 Animal Care City Servs Code Enf Utility Depts Utility Accts

Calls continue to be offloaded to web-based and telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications, with usage of these communication channels continuously increasing while Call Center volume is remaining static. Technology In January 2005, with flowcharts for the best sequence of steps for a customer phone call, scripts, and configuration plans, the E-Gov Call Center implemented a Cisco IPCC Express call manager system. Through this VoIP system, citizen calls are directed to specific skill groups (Spanish/English, streets, code enforcement, etc.). This system, along with some online ColdFusion search forms interfaced with the MAXIMO database, provides comprehensive call data, which direct performance targets for call representatives, process improvement opportunities for departmental service delivery, and priorities for new online and IVR applications. IPCC Express has numerous features, including a scroll message that the Call Center Manager and supervisors can send to the desktop of call representatives, listen-in capability, and realtime call data for calls in queue, hold time, call representative active status, and time on calls.


In May 2005, IPCC Express system was expanded, adding an automatic recording for scheduled holidays, options to access a new City Line for Fast Information and an option for customers to pay their utility bills by phone with a credit card.

The Call Center functions as the Emergency Phone Bank during emergency operations. The phone bank is activated when a call representative signs onto the Cisco Agent Desktop with a “9” before entering a user ID number. This will trigger replacement of the Call Center IVR


recording with a new message that announces closure of the Call Center and an emergency message. At this time, the public is given the City’s emergency phone number to call, which is now rolling into the Call Center. The Emergency Phone Bank, operating with three staffing shifts, has been activated twice for Hurricane Katrina evacuees and volunteer information, and for Hurricane Rita emergency information. Procedures for the Emergency Phone Bank are included in the E-Government Services Emergency Operating Procedures Plan, which is updated annually. The Call Center is in the process of implementing VoiceRite Menu Maker, a web-based tool that allows creation and updating of call routing menus from the desktop, with no programming. Menu Maker provides the option of uploading audio .wav files, updating prompts by phone, and typing in text that is automatically converted to speech, with a Spanish option.

As part of a citywide reengineering initiative that began in the Water Department, the City’s strategy originally was to deploy the MAXIMO work management system throughout all departments. The Call Center staffing transition plan was aligned with this deployment. However, as ideal as a single, citywide work management system would be, several business functions existed that required individualized applications, such as utility billing, code enforcement and animal care. The Call Center utilizes MAXIMO for the majority of City services, but also uses HTE and Chameleon to issue work orders. An interface between MAXIMO and HTE has been implemented recently, which has significantly improved easy access to real-time data and eliminated the need for departments to check multiple systems.


MAXIMO has been utilized primarily by Call Center supervisors and by the departmental planners and schedulers, who allocate the work orders. Call representatives enter work orders in a customized MAXGIS program, which interfaces MAXIMO and GIS and provides location mapping attachments for work orders. MAXGIS enables the call representatives to map the customer address for a service call, such as missed garbage, pothole location, gas leak, water main break or a wastewater backup from the City cleanout, and attach a map of the location with the work order. Call representatives also can view the work history of the addresses they map, as well as pending and completed work orders. The mapping feature for the Call Center reduces the number of duplicate work orders when multiple customers call in about an area problem and allows for immediate updates for customers on service responses and progress. In January 2008, the City is upgrading to MAXIMO with an embedded map and MAXGIS no longer will be required for the mapping function. MAXIMO with the embedded map will function basically the same as MAXGIS, except that call representatives will be able to view more information on the status of a work order and any notes that the crew enters on the actions taken to complete a service request. The Call Center has partnership agreements to define service levels with the MIS department for phone system support, and with operational departments to define mutual responsibilities and processes. Training The call center representatives have been cross-trained, not only in customer service skills but also in the specific dynamics of different City services and the different computer systems used by City departments. A senior call representative is responsible for training new Call Center staff, concentrating on one work order system at a time. The call distribution system allows agent set-up by skill group, priority levels (based on knowledge of the department), and English only and English/Spanish speaking. Staff transitioned from a department are designated as the primary call representative in that skill group. The training takes approximately two weeks per skill group and work order system and includes shadowing of other call representatives in the different skill groups as they answer customer calls. Finally, the call representative is monitored by the trainer as they answer customer calls and enter work orders.


The second part of the training includes shadowing of field personnel in different departments. A call representative will ride along with an animal care officer or with a foreman who investigates water main breaks. Each department also explains the services they provide and introduces key department staff. Call representatives receive milestone awards, such as restaurant gift certificates, as they reach targeted number of calls handled. The Process Call representatives issue work orders through the MAXIMO work management system utilized by most departments. Contact codes for designated planners/schedulers in the departments are programmed into the system to receive the work orders, which also are coded by priority type of service. A customized program, MAXGIS, is used to attach maps from the City GIS system to each work order. Call representatives use the Chameleon work order system for animal calls. HTE is the system used for utility accounts, and established policies and procedures enable call representatives to provide expanded assistance to establish or transfer service, make adjustments, etc. HTE also is used for Code Enforcement, which allows coordination of case management. Use of work management systems with centralized databases by call representatives has resulted in major efficiencies for the Call Center and for departments, as well as providing real time information and updates for repeat callers.

The Call Center also handles walk-in customers and citizen inquiries from the City Manager, Mayor and City Council. The Call Center Manager and designated staff attend monthly Town Hall meetings and take necessary action regarding citizen inquiries and service requests.


The Results - Performance Improvement Notable reductions in both wait times and the number of dropped calls have been accomplished in the past several years. For example, calls handled for utility business services have been increased from 40 -60 percent to over 90 percent since the move to the Call Center.

Performance metrics are calculated monthly through the City’s Balanced Scorecard system. Call representatives provide excellent customer service and meet performance targets. During FY 2005-06, the call center handled 96 percent of the 395,000 calls presented to them with an average wait time of 1 minute and 10 seconds. The City continuously receives comments from citizens that they are professional, courteous, and extremely responsive. Year-to-date in FY 2007-08, the Call Center is handling over 97 percent of calls, with a wait time average of 23 seconds. As performance improves, the average cost per call handled has declined, now averaging $1.32 per call handled. The Expanded Vision - Seamless City Service Excellent customer service in today’s world requires multi-channel options for citizens to obtain information, interact with government, conduct business and request services. This means that Call Center communications must be available for walk-in service, through live telephone conversations, through automated phone systems, and online through web applications. In addition, it is essential that the content of these various communication channels be consistent and integrated.\


Customer Preferences Contact Telephone Web In-Person E-Mail Preferred 40% 24% 13% 11%

To accomplish the goal of seamless service, Internet, Intranet and IVR systems now are coordinated with the Customer Call Center operations to enhance the use of single databases, multi-media channels, and customer choice of communications. For example, the departmental FAQs are available online and as a Help function on the desktops of Call Center representatives. The online FAQs get 50,000 views per month, and have significantly offloaded information-type calls. A dynamic web application called Web Q&A allows citizens to

Pew Internet and American Life Project

use the Internet to search the FAQ database, ask questions, send comments, or submit a service request that goes to the Call Center for responses and work orders. The online service for utility account information receives over 6,000 views per month, and the IVR service for utility account information receives over 4,000 calls per month. Coordinating the use of technology and communication channels has been successful in offloading information calls to enable the Call Center to concentrate on service requests.

The Opportunities of WiFi and Mobile Work Crews In the past, City crews would go to the work site, make the repairs and then come in at the end of the day – or the next morning - to enter their notes and actuals in the work management


system. A number of departments now have mobile work crews utilizing wireless access through portable devices, such as PDAs and tablets. The work crews in the field are able to receive work orders and view notes and customer contact information entered by the call representatives. When the work is completed, field crews enter notes regarding the repairs and will close the work order. This is extremely efficient and improves customer service for repeat calls, enabling the call representative to provide fast, real-time status reports to customers. The Challenges • Everyone wants to delegate all customer contact to the Call Center. • Departments sometimes want the Call Center to function as an answering service and do not want to separate customer calls from staff contact calls. • Departments want the Call Center to fix their call flow issues, which often arise from ineffective business processes. • Improving customer service often means providing support to departments beyond call taking and issuing service requests; for example, improving their business processes, defining public communication strategies, even pulling together data for their work orders. • Citizens perceive their issue as a City issue and do not distinguish between call representatives, departments, management, and council. Therefore, the Call Center often is held accountable for departmental service responses. • The Call Center Manager must address frequent, direct requests from the mayor and council members. The Lessons - Suggestions • Incorporate in the business plan sufficient orientation time for department staff who will be transitioning to the Call Center. This will enable them to receive training in all computer and telephone software and acquire necessary knowledge of organizational operations and services prior to transferring all of their department calls to the Call Center operation. • Consider future growth in designing the Call Center floor plan. If the Call Center is successful, more call functions will be transitioned than planned and space needs become a big issue.


• Require departments to provide historical data on the number of calls received and work orders issued for six months prior to the transition. • During the planning phase, require all departments to prepare documentation on services provided, emergency numbers, critical questions, frequently asked questions, and any additional training needed for staff being transitioned, such as basic computer skills. • Design a center with wall monitors for displaying emergency information and performance indicators. The Future The Call Center continuously looks at opportunities to improve and expand through new technology. Plans are to add a Cisco or Web Q&A option for online chats with call reps, starting on designated days and possibly with an online click to a live phone chat. The Call Center has been working on technology set-ups for “pajama patrols” to allow at home workers and is looking at increasing mobile communications with field crews through VoIP in conjunction with wireless portal projects. The Call Center also is reviewing a request for 211 call services through the United Way.

The goal continues to be “Any call rep can take any call from any customer.” Annie Leal Call Center Manager and Interim Director E-Government Services City of Corpus Christi 1201 Leopard Street Corpus Christi, TX 78469 361.880.3222 Susan Cable eServices Consulting 35 Wellington Drive Sugar Land, TX 77478 713.307.2647


City of Corpus Christi, Texas Customer Call Center Form of Government Council-Manager Council Districts 9 (5 by district, 4 at-large) Population 285,000 (2005 Census) Annual Budget (City-wide) $ 588 million E-Government Department Budget $1.8 million Call Center Major Components Physical Location: City Hall, 1201 Leopard Square Footage: 3,400 Two T-1 lines dedicated to the Call Center Number of telephones: 30 Number of computers: 30 Number of Call Center Staff 25 Full-Time Equivalents Location within City Government E-Government Services Department, Call Center Manager reports to the E-Government Services Director, who reports to the Assistant City Manager, Administrative Services Type of System 826-CITY (2489) – non-emergency service


Unique Call Center Technology and Management Tools Cisco Call Manager System Cisco IPCC Express Telephone System Cisco Historical Reporting MAXIMO, HTE and Chameleon Work Management Systems MAXGIS Mapping System Balanced Scorecard (executive dashboard and performance measures) Citizen Feedback Mechanisms E-Mail, Customer Online Center, Written Letter, or phone call to department directors Monthly Town Hall Meetings with City Council Members Online Surveys and Customer Request Forms Annual Citizen Survey
Source: City of Corpus Christi, Texas, E-Gov / Customer Call Center 2007


Providing Excellence in Service: The Greensboro Contact Center PTI Member Case Study City of Greensboro, North Carolina
Vision Situated in central North Carolina, the City of Greensboro, population 250,000, is a shining example of a municipal culture dedicated to providing “excellence in service” to its residents. Whether it is providing prompt answers to questions regarding the city library’s operating hours or quickly repairing a broken traffic signal, city employees believe that they should consistently offer high-quality service. As the city grew, call volumes had increased to the point where separate pockets of staff who received calls for a specific department or division were not able to efficiently and consistently handle the calls that came to them. Residents were complaining about not being able to talk to a real person, or that they were being passed around from one person to the next when they had a problem to solve, or that they waited too long in a queue before being connected. There was no central database of information for the City, and the growing size of the City itself, as well as the expansion of the staff for the municipal government, was resulting in a more separated and specialized organization where individual employees often did not have a good grasp about who did what outside their own area. The City published over 400 different telephone numbers in the “blue pages” of the local phone directory. Daunted by the size of this list, most residents did not know who to call to report problems or to ask questions. In order to make it easier to receive services and information, the City began implementation of a centralized Contact Center to receive resident requests and ensure that the inquiries are effectively addressed. Since many of these result in requests for service, it was crucial to integrate with the work order systems used by the operational areas. A group of City leaders, led by one of the assistant City Managers, began to build the vision of a centralized Contact Center to respond to requests and concerns. In 2003, the combination of the switch to a VoIP phone solution, and the decision to move forward to consolidate the work order systems used by the various operating areas of the City set the stage for the creation of the long-envisioned Contact Center. With the full support of the City Manager’s office and a select group of department heads, a cross-departmental committee was formed to determine


the scope, the steps and the process by which the vision could become reality. Other centers were surveyed and visited, and a plan was prepared. The committee determined the following: • Positions would be moved from other departments where calls were being answered to provide positions for the new division. Only two positions would be created, a Manager’s position, and that of an Information Analyst. • Operational departments would be the first “clients”, followed by those departments whose needs were primarily informational. • Departments were allowed to self-select for inclusion in the Contact Center. (Early adopters were the Transportation Department and the Solid Waste Division.) • Excellence in Customer Service would be an over-arching goal, and would dictate the decisions that would be made in selecting/developing technology and personnel. People Early on, the focus of the Contact Center Manager was to assemble the best team of people to put on the phones as was possible. Emphasis was placed on the selection process, and it was determined early on that even current City staff had to apply and go through the stringent screening process to be selected for the seven positions needed for opening day. Applicants went through multiple steps: 1. Applicants were screened to determine their match to the minimum requirements. These included previous customer service experience (preferably with heavy phone contact), and excellent communication skills (verbal and written). 2. The selected group went through behavioral interviews, first on the phone, and, if that was satisfactory, in person with the Manager and Information Analyst. 3. A set of PC based skill assessments were completed. Applicants were screened for skills in listening, customer service, spelling, phone etiquette and data entry speed and accuracy. 4. A role play was conducted, giving the applicant a written description of a service and the policies associated with it, and then having them take a call with an “angry customer”. This helped determine their skill in absorbing new information quickly and using it to address a problem with a caller.


From these steps, an initial group of seven City Services Representatives (CSR’s) were hired and trained during the summer of 2004. Their training included traditional customer service topics, learning to use the new applications that had been developed, learning about all the departments in the City and what they do, as well as spending time with line staff in the various operating departments. Implementation Goals In July of 2004, the City of Greensboro received the first calls into its new Contact Center. Underpinning the Center’s startup is a complex integration of technology that includes the Contact Center application itself, a new enterprise-wide asset and work order management system tied together using geographic information system technology. From a customer service perspective, the goal of the Contact Center is to provide residents with a single number they can call when needing any non-emergency question answered or service provided. While two-thirds of the calls coming into the Center seek answers to questions (i.e. hours of operations, guidelines on recycling, etc.), the remaining calls surround concerns that necessitate the provision of services by an operating department. An important aspect of the Center’s application was the creation of a “knowledge base” that would guide the CSRs during their interaction with customers. This is an essential aspect of the application since a CSR is expected to be knowledgeable on a countless number of services offered by an organization that employs over 2,500 people. Further, since residents frequently are unable to differentiate between the different levels and responsibilities of government agencies, the knowledge base also includes information on other government entities. A typical knowledge base item would contain information about the service (i.e. policies, costs, etc.) and, in the case of a service request, it identifies specific information an operating department will need from the customer before starting a job. The knowledge base is searchable by the CSR using pre-defined keywords. The CSR is also able to fine-tune the search to a specific department or division. Centralizing the enterprise-wide intake of work requests necessitates the use of an enterprisewide work order and asset management system. For this, the City selected Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) from Infor as the system that would best meet our needs.


Not all work is resident initiated. While 69% of work orders are initiated by the Contact Center, the remainder are initiated by the operating department itself (i.e. preventive maintenance, scheduled repairs, etc.) and these jobs must be integrated with and prioritized along with the work initiated by residents via the Contact Center. Tying the Contact Center application and Infor/EAM together is our Geographic Information System. Specifically: • An interactive map embedded in the Contact Center application allows the CSR to select the asset (i.e., street segment, address, etc.) where the caller is requesting work to be done. • A similar map embedded into the Asset Management System allows operating departments to schedule work, include site maps with work orders and otherwise replace the many paper maps that had been crucial to their everyday activities. • Since the majority of assets serviced by Greensboro are physical features mapped in GIS, this GIS data becomes the core of our asset inventory and data maintenance of GIS features updates asset management inventories. • Analysis of work request and asset management trends can be accomplished by a variety of spatial characteristics such as neighborhood, census tract, Council District, street segments and the like. Initial Growth After implementation, events began to move quickly. Once things were working smoothly for the Transportation Department, some small divisions within the City asked to be included in the Contact Center. These included the main desk and maintenance department for the Parks & Recreation department, Code Enforcement calls, and internal maintenance calls for some City facilities (lightbulb out, temperature not right, etc). Because these groups were not yet using Infor/EAM, their work orders were “skeleton” versions, and were sent to them via E-mail, a function that was embedded into the Contact Center application. In March 2005, the next large Infor/EAM user, Solid Waste, came online and began using Infor/EAM to receive and route their work orders. This caused call volumes to double, and the


seven CSRs were now seeing busy days filled with calls and work orders. Then a new challenge appeared on the priority list. The Water Resources Department had long been viewed as the only other group in the City who would retain their own call handling function. Their work was specialized, involving calls regarding water billing accounts, and required another separate software application and much policy and procedure information that was not replicated elsewhere. However, as their volumes also increased, they felt a need to increase staff. In a tight-budget situation, it was determined that this need could best be met by rolling their calls into the Contact Center. We thus began a nearly nine-month effort to train all the CSRs on the new system, as well as the policies and procedures necessary for handling these calls, and to add four additional positions to the Center to handle the workload. This increase in staff necessitated a rework of the Contact Center’s physical space, a move that resulted in a rework of the entire department. Simultaneously, we were required to go through an intense hiring process to screen and hire the additional 4 CSRs. Interestingly, most of the people who had been doing the job in Water Resources chose to take other positions in that department, and only one person with experience in the job came to the Contact Center. Three additional people were hired from the outside, and the training began in earnest. Each CSR went through an initial two-week training, and then spent an additional two weeks taking calls in the Water Resources facility. Starting in August, and overlapping the “classroom” training and practice time, the training was mostly complete by the beginning of December 2006. In December, the queue for Water Resources was configured to “send” calls that waited in queue for more than x seconds to the Contact Center. The Contact Center was thus able to receive a small number of calls and get additional practice time without taking the full call load. The wait time was slowly reduced, until we “flipped the switch” at the end of January 2007 and began taking all the calls for Water Resources. Once again, our daily average volume doubled. Once we settled again, we chose to begin our marketing campaign to the community to promote the 373-CITY number, and raise awareness of our existence. We also had built the Knowledge Base to the point that we could handle informational calls for all remaining departments. We were now fully operational!


Organizational Impact Possibly the best way to understand the application is to step through a typical call as it makes its way through the Center and then to the operating department. For our example, we will use a resident request to fix a pothole. Today, the resident begins by calling “373-CITY”. The call is placed in a queue to be answered by one of the eleven CSRs on duty. The Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone system balances the call load and routes the call to the next available CSR. The CSR greets the caller and determines the general nature of their concern. Then the CSR turns to the application’s knowledge base and enters in a few key words that retrieve the one (or more) items associated with “pothole.” The knowledge base instructs the CSR to get the location of the pothole. The location can be either an address or an intersection. Once the location is entered, the application utilizes an ArcIMS map service to geocode the location and display a map of the area to the CSR. Concurrently, the map service is also used to spatially identify the location’s Council District, Zoning, Solid Waste pick-up route and similar (frequently asked about) relationships. The map also identifies if the location of the pothole is within the city limits, if it is on a publicly maintained street, and displays attributes (such as address ranges) that can be used to verify that the correct location has been found. In Infor/EAM, work orders for potholes are written against an asset, in this case, the street segment containing the pothole. Since the knowledge base item referenced a pothole, the ArcIMS service automatically makes the street centerline the active map layer. The CSR next selects, with their mouse, the segment to be serviced and initiates the work order in Infor/EAM. The application allows the CSR to search for pre-existing pothole work orders on both the street
Figure 1: CSR entering citizen request


segment in question and also, via the ArcMap service, a buffer of adjacent streets in an effort to minimize duplicate work orders for the same problem. A screen shot of the map used by the CSR is automatically attached to the outgoing work order, as are any comments collected by the CSR such
Figure 2. Using GIS map to identify street light assets by address vicinity

as its size, if it is a traffic hazard and

the like. If provided by the caller, contact information is also included in the work order so that staff in the operating department can contact the caller for follow-up information. The CSR then asks if there is anything else that he/she can help the caller with and concludes the call. The actual transfer of the work order from the Center’s application to Infor/EAM is done via a web services call using an XML document. This technology provides a stable interface between the two applications. Based on the work order’s problem code and other characteristics, it is routed to the responsible supervisor’s Infor/EAM account. There, the user’s inbox is updated to reflect a new incoming work order. In many cases, the user is seeing this on a portable wireless PC that is carried in their work vehicle with them. The work order can be reviewed, the job planned and ultimately transferred to the crew that will be performing the work. Upon completion, the work order can be re-routed back to the supervisor for follow-up and closure. Back at the Contact Center queries exist to identify work orders that have been submitted, what their status is, and who has been assigned to the work to assist them if they receive follow-up queries from residents. Upon completion of the job, details of the actions taken, costs and the like are entered into the Infor/EAM system and the work order is closed.


Staff from throughout the City has been involved in the project. Generally speaking this has included: • MIS Department application developers and database administrators • GIS Division analysts, application developers and database administrators • Contact Center management, analysts and CSRs • Management and line staff in various operating departments, especially the Transportation Department and Solid Waste Departments. Management Practices – Lessons Learned Throughout the project, many decisions had to be made to determine how work would proceed to achieve the best solution. Decisions that we are proud of, and would make again include: • Implementing gradually, with only one or two departments “going live” at the same time. This allowed everyone to have some adjustment time and to get past the learning curve before tackling something new. • Extraordinary care in selecting staff for the Contact Center. This has paid off in quality of service, and in little or no turnover. Because there is so much to know, CSRs take at least 6 months (now that we are fully implemented) to be comfortable taking the variety of calls that come into the Center. Keeping the staff stable, and choosing excellent people from the beginning, has definitely contributed to a successful operation. • Determination to minimize the applications used by Contact Center personnel. In particular, the decision to standardize the work order system provided a solid basis for handling a myriad of issues, even when we are dealing with departments not yet fully implemented in the system. In training, having one standard method for entering work requests simplifies what the CSR needs to know, and makes them productive more quickly. • Setting up the Contact Center so that we are part of an “operations neutral” department. In our case, we are part of Public Affairs, so we are included in the same department as the communications staff (website content, press releases and media contact, local government access television) and the community relations staff (Council & City Manager complaints, ADA concerns, intra-departmental issues, neighborhood groups liaison).


This placement facilitates information sharing among the groups, and allows us to serve all the operational departments as important clients without preference to any one group. • Giving residents multiple ways to access the Center. These include phone calls, TTY calls, live “Chat”, E-mail, walk-in, and web-based service requests. Things we wish we had done better: • Spent more time and money on advertising our existence and the phone number to call. We are still working hard to be sure that everyone in Greensboro knows the 373-CITY number, and is comfortable calling us first. Technology Practices We are very proud of the technology that we have developed/implemented to support the Contact Center and the operational departments in the City. We believe these choices allow us to serve our residents on a world-class level. We continue to enhance the systems we have, but are confident that they will continue to serve us well, with minor changes, for many years to come. Results The Contact Center has proven to be a success.
8.00% 6.00% 4.00% 2.00% 0.00% 2004 2006 2008 (ytd) Abandon Rate

Statistics show that abandon rates have dropped (from previous averages around 16% annually), hold times are lower, and turnaround time on work orders has been reduced. Call volumes continue to rise, though more slowly than they did in the first couple of years.

Residents frequently tell us how pleased they are to have one number to call to get all the information and services they need, and are amazed at the scope of the information available to us. Our turnover has been virtually nil, and we continue to look for additional services and information we can absorb into our workload. Overall, we are very pleased with the outcomes that we have achieved, and look forward to the challenges that will come our way.
250000 200000 150000 100000 50000 0 2 004 2005 2006 2007 Calls


Mary Jutte Public Affairs, Contact Center Manager 300 W. Washington St Greensboro, NC 27402 (336) 373-3269 mary.jutte@greensboro-nc.gov Pat Boswell Public Affairs, Director 300 W. Washington St Greensboro, NC 27402 (336) 373-3302 pat.boswell@greensboro-nc.gov


311 Call Center Implementation: One Call Plus One Request Equals a Proactive and Responsive City Government PTI Member Case Study City of Kansas City, Missouri
Citizen Service Responsiveness In 1974, the City of Kansas City, Missouri created the “Action Center”, a city division created as a “one-stop” shop for citizen service. However, the City continued to have many numbers for Citizens to call and request services or report a non-emergency problem to the City. Several different departments had staff that spent a great deal of time answering and directing telephone calls rather than focusing on the core departmental services. Additionally, departments may have been receiving service requests from more than one source, without a centralized system to track and manage calls and requests for service or information. The results of this structure were frustrated citizens, lack of sufficient departmental staff (leading to poor customer service), and poor organization, prioritization and tracking of calls and services. A New Approach In 2003, City staff began an assessment of the services and potential of the Action Center. With the support of the City’s elected leadership, the City of Kansas City decided to implement a 311 Call Center for the citizens of Kansas City. The single three digit number would be the access point for citizens to reach City services and request information. Goals for the new system included enhanced customer service from the Call Center and City Departments; reduced number of non-emergency calls to 911; and improved reporting, tracking, and planning of requests and resources. The project began in earnest in 2005, when various City call centers were centralized into the Action Center. In October 2006, the 311 telephone number became active and in January 2007, the back-end software was implemented (Oracle’s PeopleSoft Customer Relationship Management System) which handles the tracking of the calls and service requests.


Implementing the System The implementation of the 311 Call Center was managed using the City’s Information Technology Project Management Office procedures and methodologies. Using the established procedures helped manage scope creep, track and account for changes, and manage the schedule, team and vendors. Customer Relationship Management Software System The City chose to use the PeopleSoft Customer Relationship Management System. Four systems were evaluated against the City’s documented requirements for the citizen facing Customer Relationship Management System. PeopleSoft met the requirements needed. PeopleSoft had the added benefit of being an Enterprise System the City was already utilizing for Human Resources and Financials. Technical system support and skills are shared across the PeopleSoft applications, increasing the value of the systems. Implementation Phases and Timelines The 311 Call Center project was completed in three phases over a two year time period. The first efforts involved consolidating call centers from various departments into a single location. The second phase led to the implementation of the PeopleSoft CRM system, thereby replacing the City’s previous request for service system. The third phase emphasized bringing additional departments who were receiving citizen requests into the 311 Call Center. As part of the project, the project teams included organizational change management and training for all departments and participants in the project. Departments receiving requests for service through the PeopleSoft system were trained to receive and update requests. City staff was also trained on the reporting and informational capabilities of the system. The City’s executive management promoted both organizational and community support by implementing internal and external marketing plans. City staff were provided assistance in moving to and utilizing the new system.


Integration with other Systems The PeopleSoft System had some out-of-the-box mapping capabilities, but not enough to suit the 311 Call Center’s needs. The 311 project team worked with the City GIS team and GIS vendor to extend the mapping capabilities of the system. A key component of the GIS integration involves utilizing the City’s address database to confirm whether the address of a request for service is inside the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri. The mapping component also allows the 311 Customer Service Specialists to identify if a request for service is already open for a particular problem (for example, multiple calls regarding a water main break). The PeopleSoft system is also partially integrated with the city’s permitting and previous request for Service system. While not a perfect solution, this integration does allow for the PeopleSoft system to be linked to a system with different operational functionality. Staff Training In addition to basic customer service skills, Customer Service Specialists receive up to four weeks of training in the 311 Call Center. New staff first partner with a mentor to become exposed to calls, call types, and the PeopleSoft system. New staff attends two full days of training on the PeopleSoft system. Following the training, the new specialist will again do side-by-side mentoring with an experienced specialist. The new staff will hear how the mentor interacts with citizens. The new employee will only do the data entry in the PeopleSoft system while the mentor talks with the citizens. This allows the new specialist the ability to focus on the application while the citizen does not become frustrated because the specialist is not able to focus on their needs. After about a week of this type of mentoring, the new specialist will then take the calls and do the PeopleSoft work while the mentor observes and assists. After another week, the new specialist will be ready to take calls on their own with supervisor assistance as needed. The training has proven to be an effective way to introduce new Customer Support Specialists into the Call Center environment while still being able to provide excellent service to the citizens who are calling 311.


Process Citizens are able to contact the 311 Call Center through a variety of means. The Center is available via the 311 number for approximately 81 hours each week, including weekend hours. Citizens may also contact the Call Center via the city website, fax, or in person at City Hall. All calls and requests are entered into the PeopleSoft system, regardless of how the citizen made contact with the City. Once a service request is received, the request is routed to the appropriate department for resolution. The responding department completes the activity and enters the resolution into the PeopleSoft system. The citizen is kept informed of the resolution and sent a follow-up survey to evaluate the services received from the City. Tracking of Requests All requests for service as well as all requests for information are tracked within the PeopleSoft CRM System. This has led to increased accountability for work as well as better planning and follow-up for citizen requests. Appropriate City staff is immediately notified when a request for a service is entered into the system. Each department has established procedures and service level agreements with the 311 Call Center for resolution of service and information requests. Service level agreements are further enforced through the use of escalation plans which take effect if or when requests are not completed. City staff now has access to call tracking and history information via the PeopleSoft CRM system. The system is used to house and retrieve data on all requests for service or information answered through the 311 number or E-mail request. Reporting and planning are now more easily accomplished. The information can be used to appropriately plan resources (staff, equipment, and funding) for tasks and services. Citizen concerns are better documented and the City can be more proactive in responding to the requests for information and the types of services most often requested. For example, the Call Center can monitor ongoing news situations, such as loose dogs which prompted the need to increase animal control efforts. Calls that are received in the 311 center can be immediately addressed and the information immediately used to respond to an active situation.


Agencies Involved Many City staff and departments participated in the implementation of the 311 Call Center Systems. Additionally, the City worked with the local land and mobile telephone providers; the City 911 call center (to transfer calls if needed) and the regional 211 Social Service system. The City also worked with Unisys located in Blue Bell, PA (Corporate Headquarters) to implement the call center. Challenges and Lessons Learned The 311 Call Center implementation was not without challenges and skeptics. The City learned much from the process. Challenges Call center staff were very concerned changing the environment and the systems they were accustomed to using. However, after training and working in the new PeopleSoft CRM for a few months, the call center staff became more confident and more effective in the new system leading to improved customer service. The implementation also faced challenges from the departments involved. Operational staff needed to consider business process change in order to fully utilize the capabilities of the new system. While City Departments were not generally opposed to the calls being answered by the 311 Call Center, the reporting capabilities have been key in winning over skeptics to the systems. Once management realized the tracking and reporting capabilities offered by the new business process and the PeopleSoft system, new measurement and performance expectations began to be implemented. The continued tracking and reporting ensures the departments that the measures and processes are being followed and met. The geography of the Kansas City metropolitan region posed a unique challenge to the implementation. Kansas City is part of a large metropolitan community that spans across 10 counties and two states. At the time the City implemented its 311 Center, the rest of the region was not yet ready to implement a regional effort. Therefore, the Kansas City system is implemented only for the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri—not the entire metropolitan region. While this was not a problem for landlines, the proliferation of cell phones and cell companies required special coordination and efforts to ensure that when 311 is dialed from a cell phone, that it is directed to the City’s 311 call center. Call center staff must also take extra effort to


ensure that cases are opened only for City of Kansas City, Missouri residents. The call center representative will query an address through the interface with the City GIS system and also verbally confirm the address and the City with the caller. Lessons Learned The 311 Call Center was implemented in phases. The three largest departments in terms of citizen calls — Public Works, Neighborhoods and Community Services, and Parks and Recreation — were included in the first phase. Early in the implementation, the City experienced high call volumes quickly resulting in some business interruption as the new systems were implemented. The implementation may have gone smoother with less business interruption had departments of differing levels of citizen calls been chosen instead (i.e. one of the larger departments, a medium sized call volume department like City Planning, and small caller volume department such as Health). The 311 Project teams continued performing regular duties during the project implementation. A dedicated project and testing team would have been beneficial to the project implementation. Clear communications about the performance and reporting expectations as well as the organizational change management are also critical to ensuring a successful implementation. Training opportunities and clear expectations about business process and performance change are critical to ensuring departmental adoption of the systems. Improved Service Results The implementation of the 311 Call Center has produced benefits for citizens and City staff. Citizens have a more streamlined approach when they need services from the City. They are ensured quality customer service when they call the 311 Center. The Center staff are trained and qualified to offer assistance and information to the citizens. Citizens are using the 311 call center and realizing greater satisfaction with their interaction with the City’s Call Center. The call center received nearly 400,000 calls in 2007 (up from 260,000 in 2005). Call volumes are expected to continue to increase in 2008. City departments have also realized the benefits of the implementation. The 311 Call Center now answers calls for general inquiries (calls previously handled by the City Action Center); the Parks and Recreation Department; Public Works Department (Streets and Traffic, Solid Waste,


and Snow and Ice); Neighborhood and Community Service (Towed Vehicles and Animal Control); Municipal Court; and the City switchboard. This consolidation allows the departmental staff to focus on core departmental services and customers who must come to City Hall. City staff is also better able to allocate resources due to the tracking of requests and calls. Call and request history has helped the City understand issues and concerns that are important to the citizens. Departments now see and track the number and type of important requests and are able to effectively allocate resources to citizens’ most requested services and needs. The 311 Call Center will also be utilized by the City in Disaster Recovery efforts. Plans were put in place to utilize the 311 Call Center (and a backup location) to provide resources and assist the City in managing and recovering from potential disasters. Increased Citizen Satisfaction The 311 Center follows up with citizens to assess how well their needs were met and how satisfied the citizen is regarding their interaction with the 311 Call Center and City service provided. Citizen satisfaction with the 311 customer service has increased to nearly 90% at the end of 2007 from just under 80% in May 2007. Citizen comments include “I am very pleased with the efficiency of this new City service…” Citizen satisfaction with the Quality of Service and Timeliness of Service from the City departments has also increased. Another citizen indicated that “All services were exceptional, from the call to the Action Center [311 Call Center], to the time the work was done…” The City’s Annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey for 2007 indicated that “[survey respondents who called 311] were more satisfied with the quality of customer service received from city employees than the respondents who did not call 311.” Future Plans Future plans for the 311 Call Center include enhanced reporting, an improved telephony platform, usage of workforce management systems, call monitoring and implementation of field services to improve response times and further increase efficiencies. One call plus one request equals a proactive and responsive City government!


Contacts: Earnest Rouse Assistant to the City Manager 311 Call Center Director City of Kansas City, Missouri 324 E 11th Street, 8th Floor Kansas City, Missouri 64106 816.513.2009 earnest_rouse@kcmo.org JeanAnn Lawson 311 Call Center Operations Manager 311 324 E 11th Street, 8th Floor Kansas City, Missouri 64106 816.513.1302 jeanann_lawson@kcmo.org Mary J Miller Deputy CIO Information Technology Department City of Kansas City, Missouri 1111 Locust Street, 3rd Floor Kansas City, Missouri 64106 816.513.0811 mary_j_miller@kcmo.org Elizabeth Gray Call Center Manager 324 E 11th Street, 8th Floor Kansas City, Missouri 64106 816.513.1306 elizabeth_gray@kcmo.org

Lee Hinkle Project Manager, Information Technology Department 1111 Locust St, 3rd Floor Kansas City, Missouri 64106 816.513.3778 lee_hinkle@kcmo.org


New York City 311 Customer Service Center PTI Member Case Study City of New York, New York
Serving over eight million residents and additionally half that number of commuters, visitors, and tourists on any given day, New York City’s 311 Customer Service Center is the largest 311 in the nation. Launched under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s leadership in March, 2003 over 68 million callers have since dialed 311 for non-emergency government information. From potholes to parking to property information, New Yorkers call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to file complaints, find information, or connect to a City Agency. The success of NYC 311 is evident in the annual volume growth, from 8 million calls in the first full year, to over 15 million calls in 2007. The role of NYC 311 has also grown and evolved since the launch, most notably in the past two-plus years under the direction of Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). Commissioner Cosgrave is the architect of the City wide “Plan IT”, the City’s first-ever comprehensive technology strategy for coordinated, effective and efficient citywide IT implementation, with an overarching theme of customer service. In addition to this far-reaching plan, DoITT partners with other City Agencies to expand existing programs and introduce new initiatives that were not part of the initial 311 non-emergency government-services only construct. This transformation has changed the way New York City delivers information, services and assistance to constituents, and changed the way NYC 311 operates. The following is a look at changes to the call handling and service delivery, and some of these transformative programs that utilized the “311 machine” to further City initiatives on Health and Human Services, Environmental programs, and Public Safety. NYC 311 relies on its two most valuable assets to support delivery of City services: a qualified and personable team of call center representatives trained to deliver customer service; and a robust customer-service management system that provides “content” for over 3,000 unique government services. A customer calling 311 does not need to know what department will handle the inquiry or what procedure to follow to file a complaint. The customer needs only


report their concern or state their need and the combination of staff-and-system will service that customer, using a keyword search as a starting point. The experience begins with the information and actions returned by that keyword search. Initially successful in directing a customer to the correct City agency for information, NYC 311 has now expanded to provide more. For example, a customer calling to inquire about food stamps availability can now be referred to a Health and Human Services Intake & Referral specialist with access to additional information on Green Markets, available food pantries, or financial assistance, in addition to fulfilling the original stated request. This expansion allows DoITT to position NYC 311 as a centerpiece for City programs focused on Health and Human services to provide referrals to City, State, and non-profit partners. City programs requiring outreach, communications, or enrollment leverage NYC 311 to achieve program objectives. These programs and NYC 311’s adaptability help change the way New York City delivers information and services. Earned Income Tax Credit The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program is a joint effort of the EITC Coalition and NYC 311 to reach as many New Yorkers as possible who are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. The earned income tax credit is geared towards lower income individuals. The EITC Coalition was created by the Department of Consumer Affairs and designed to reach out to over 200,000 New Yorkers who while eligible for the credit had not claimed it in the past. In order to reach those qualified New Yorkers the Department of Consumer Affairs formed an extensive coalition utilizing over 150 different partners to help advertise and publicize the credit. Additionally, New York City offered many free or low-cost tax preparation options. NYC 311 was the channel used to provide information on everything from a description of the Tax Credit, explanation of eligibility requirements, and directions to a local site for tax preparation assistance. Every EITC sign or advertisement incorporated the NYC 311 logo and encouraged people to call for more information. Through training, content updates, and partnership between Agencies, NYC 311 call center representatives were ready, willing, and able to provide assistance to individuals calling in regards to the EITC. NYC 311 also assisted the EITC Coalition with marketing strategies. Representatives asked customers a few brief questions to obtain data the Coalition used to


determine which promotional approach was the best for reaching New Yorkers. The effectiveness of the marketing campaign and utilization of NYC 311 as the “communications hub” was evident in the growth and expansion of the program. In 2005 there were over 6,000 enrollees and by 2008 over 34,000 enrollees participated. Smoking Cessation Since entering office in 2001, tobacco control has been one of Mayor Bloomberg’s primary health initiatives. From banning indoor smoking to raising the tax on cigarettes, he has led the fight against the number one cause of preventable death. NYC 311 has been a major player in City and State campaigns to help smokers quit. On a regular basis NYC 311 offers callers a direct link to the New York State Smoker’s Quitline. Annually NYC 311 collaborates with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to support a multi-week Stop Smoking Program. It provides free nicotine patches and nicotine gum to eligible New Yorkers over the age of 18. NYC 311 is utilized to screen candidates and collect contact information. To support this program NYC 311 had to change call-handling procedures. Rather than provide static information on specific services based on keyword searches, call center representatives were trained to use an interactive “smart script” to collect health, medical, and demographic information on prospective enrollees. Completed responses are submitted to DOHMH to determine eligibility and which smoking cessation medications a participant would receive. In addition to handling enrollment the NYC 311 representative has the ability to check fulfillment and delivery information, confirm how to use the medications, share possible side effects, and many other related topics. The partnership between NYC 311 and DOHMH assesses lessons learned after each program, and conducts focus groups with call center representatives each year, resulting in enhancements to scripts, how questions on eligibility are asked, enrollment procedures, and even the multi-media marketing campaign. Success is in the results, with almost 145,000 users enrolling in four years, from 2005 through 2008. Through this partnership the Health Department estimates that almost 16,000 New Yorkers will not die from a smoking-related death as a result of quitting smoking.


Emergency Notification New York City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) initiated a public messaging trial program to inform residents and businesses of emergency situations. Designed to “push” information to the public, rather than relying on customers calling, NotifyNYC is a program that can deliver text, E-mail, or phone call notifications of emergency situations and status to subscribers. The initial trials launched in 2007 in geographic regions of the City proved successful, and a citywide rollout is planned by end of 2008 NYC 311 was used to support the initial rollout and communication by providing program information and then modified typical call-handling procedures to assist users in the new online registration process. While new territory for NYC 311 call center representatives, the existing content-management system and basic training allowed select representatives to support inquiries and assist with the initial rollout. The success of this program allows information “pushed” to constituents by NotifyNYC to mirror the content available in the NYC 311 system, ensuring clear and consistent public-facing communications during emergency situations. Million Trees New York City is going green. The New York City Parks Department and New York Restoration Project launched the “Million Trees NYC” program in October, 2007. A citywide, public-private program with an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. NYC 311 is also committed to reducing the New York City’s carbon footprint and promoting environmentally inclined programs. To support this initiative NYC 311 was called upon to assist New Yorkers with making New York greener. After extensive training and additions to the customer service management system, representatives were able to give the customer a detailed background on the program, send them literature pertaining to the initiative, assist with requesting a new tree to be planted, and even provide information on making a donation. Whether it is Health, Finance, Public Safety, or the Environment, NYC 311 continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of City government and the expectations of its customers. From assistance in quitting smoking, to information about Earned Income Tax Credits, to enabling emergency notifications, or supporting to a greener environment, NYC 311 helps New Yorkers lead better lives by giving them better access to people and agencies that can assist them.


Co-authored by: Jessica N. Carr 311 - CUNY Research Assistant Joseph R. Morrisroe City of New York – Executive Director 311 and NYC.gov


NYCHA’s Centralized Call Center PTI Member Case Study New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest housing authority in North America, provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. Continually seeking to improve the quality of life for their residents, the Authority implemented a major resident-centric service in 2006, called the Centralized Call Center (CCC). For the first time in NYCHA's 75+ year history, this major innovation has enabled residents to schedule appointments for routine maintenance work. While making a positive impact on resident service and efficiency, there are few initiatives with the potential to revamp a key aspect of NYCHA’s management operations than this business process change management initiative. Prior to the CCC, NYCHA residents would call the development's Management Office to request maintenance services, the work request was entered into the system, but no appointment was given. As a result, the resident had no prior knowledge of when the work would be performed by a maintenance worker. As a result, a maintenance or skilled trades worker(s) might arrive at the apartment and find that the resident was not home. A notice was then left under the door advising the resident that an attempt had been made to make the repair(s) and another attempt would be made on a specified date. If, after the second attempt, the resident was not home, the resident was advised that s/he would have to re-submit a request for repair(s). In addition, numerous staff in the Management Office could enter data resulting in no one point of contact. For instance, a resident might make the first call to the Management Office describing the problem as "My entrance door is broken." In a subsequent call, however, the resident might describe the same entrance door problem differently: "My entrance door is off the hinge." In this example, because the same problem had been described in different ways, work tickets could be opened for each problem. Finally, if the work had been performed but the resident was not satisfied, they felt there was no one available to express their dissatisfaction.


These long-standing problems –backlog of work requests caused by duplication of work tickets and residents not being home for unscheduled maintenance visits –were frustrating for both residents and staff. For instance, there were nearly 900,000 open tasks for Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, of which over 130,000 were TNHs (Tenant Not at Home). Not only was this system frustrating but also costly, resulting in repeated repair calls and staff visits. NYCHA needed a new system to break the cycle, something that could improve customer service within fiscal constraints and with available staff. In seeking a business process change solution, NYCHA’s executive management team understood the value provided by many service providers in other sectors who scheduled repairs for the morning or afternoon. In order to enable NYCHA to schedule repairs for the 157 Management Offices that oversaw 344 developments, NYCHA envisioned a centralized call center. It would provide residents one location to call in their repair needs and schedule appointments. A centralized call center independent of development management would also add integrity to the process of collecting and reporting on requests received and completed. The CCC initiative has radically changed the way staff manages their workload for repairs and required materials. The CCC became the foundation of an expanded vision to make NYCHA a far more customer-(resident) centric organization through efficient and effective organizational structures and CRM technology. As a result of this expanded vision NYCHA has since embarked on a 22-month program called NYCHA Improving Customer Experience or NICE. In the planning stage for over three years, NICE launched in September 2007 after IBM was awarded the contract for systems integration and implementation. This project will release system functionality during the summer of 2008 and throughout 2009. NICE is an effort to improve customer service by expanding the CCC to provide one point of contact, beyond maintenance repair, to the Leased Housing Department and Applications and Tenancy Administration Department (ATAD) customers. In addition, NICE will automate business processes by replacing outdated departmental systems and creating one source of customer data through electronic folders and content management systems. NICE will replace several legacy IT systems and implement enterprise technology solutions including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Universal Content Manager (UCM).


NICE has also resulted in an historic shared services agreement between NYCHA and the New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT). This leverages NYC’s investment in the Siebel CRM technology which supports the 311 initiative as well as DoITT’s CRM technical capabilities. It also expands the City’s current 311 capabilities (this closes the loop by introducing field force automation which other city agencies could potentially leverage to reduce NYCHA’s out year support costs). As mentioned, NICE is being implemented in two phases. The first phase, which involves implementing an enterprise asset management system called Maximo, will be implemented in early 2009 and includes: Maintenance Operations, including work order scheduling and dispatching of inspectors, notification of tenants and landlords, service requests and work tickets Asset management Field force automation via handheld inspection capabilities The second phase will incorporate Siebel Public Sector CRM and Oracle Universal Content Manager (UCM), which will be implemented later in 2009. It includes: Applications and Tenancy Administration Department (ATAD) automation Leased Housing Department (LHD) automation E-folder with imaging and document management implementation Customer Service Center capability for customer fulfillment, application intake and review and case management Customer self-service portal NICE is intended to ensure NYCHA maintains a consistent, reliable, and professional standard to every customer interaction and transaction. It is an outgrowth of an aggressive Plan to Preserve Public Housing (PPPH), which launched in 2006 to ensure long-term viability of public housing in New York City, and enables NYCHA to continually provide quality services to lowand moderate-income New Yorkers. As part of the PPPH, NYCHA made a commitment to implement this technology to improve the quality of service.


About New York City Housing Authority The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. To fulfill this mission, NYCHA must preserve its aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of its developments. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in North America. NYCHA's Conventional Public Housing Program has 178,350 apartments in 343 developments throughout the City in 2,636 residential buildings. NYCHA has 12,500 employees serving 174,102 families and 405,794 authorized residents. NYCHA residents and Section 8 voucher holders combined occupy 12.5% of the City's rental apartments and comprise 7.8% of New York City’s population. Simultaneously, we work to enhance the quality of life at NYCHA by offering our residents opportunities to participate in a multitude of community, educational, and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives. Avi Duvdevani Deputy General Manager for Information Technology/CIO New York City Housing Authority Executive Department, 12th Floor 250 Broadway New York, NY 10007 avi.duvdevani@nycha.nyc.gov (212) 306-8833


Additional Resource: 311/CRM Project Coordinating Group

The 311/CRM Project Coordinating Group was created by the Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network, 311 Community of Practice at Rutgers University; the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies and PTI. By coming together, the group hopes to:
• Create a unified public voice to promote the diffusion of 311/CRM systems to local governments across the U.S.; • Share information and serve as a resource to local governments on 311/CRM systems through development of online discussions, publications and educational programming; • Recognize and promote best practices and strategies that lead to more responsive government and improved government performance.

Each founding member of the 311/CRM Project Coordinating Group has received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to conduct research on 311 and CRM systems as part of its goal to make municipal governments more responsive to their citizens. Research projects that coordinating group members are conducting include:
• Rutgers University will focus on creating a long-term sustainable network for 311/CRM practitioners for the development of the profession, networking and information-sharing. The Network will build a centralized repository of resources related to 311 including books, articles, manuals, conferences, and websites among others. Citizen participation, performance measurement and reporting, and management will be a key emphasis of this effort. For more information visit ppmrn.net. • ICMA and the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies will conduct research and develop resources and tools for communities considering implementation of 311/CRM systems. ICMA and the Ochs Center are interested in overall system management (including various organizational issues such as staff training), citizen engagement and performance measurement and management. For information visit www.icma.org/311 and ochscenter.org.


• PTI will focus on developing a support and recognition program for multi-channel government contact centers, including 311/CRM systems integrated with web portals, telephony and mobile communications, which institute key process and technology practices. Technology, data management, analysis, information flow and information impact on governance, reporting, and citizen participation are among PTI’s areas of interest. For information visit www.pti.org. 311/CRM Project Coordinating Group members will disseminate information on their research initiatives through their respective websites, and will explore opportunities for collaboration with other organizations interested in the promotion and diffusion of 311/CRM systems when appropriate.


About PTI

Public Technology Institute is a national, member-supported organization based in Washington, D.C. Created by and for cities and counties, PTI is a resource for technology executives in local government. PTI works with a core network of leading local government officials -- the PTI membership -- to identify opportunities for technology research, share best practices, offer consultancies and pilot demonstrations, promote technology development initiatives and develop enhanced educational programming. Officials from PTI member governments participate in councils and forums that address specific technology areas. Through a corporate partner program with leading technology companies, and partnerships with federal agencies and other governmental organizations, PTI shares the results of these activities and the expertise of its members with the broader audience of the thousands of cities and counties across the U.S. Visit PTI online at www.pti.org.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.