When cities began implementing 311 call centers in the 1990s, they did so to better understand and respond to citizen needs. With one phone call, residents could report graffiti, potholes, and broken street lights. But it was a one-way service. As resident needs expanded and digital communication channels matured, 311 call centers didn’t always keep up, feeding the perception that local government is ineffective and unapproachable. This is a frustrating situation for residents and City Hall alike.
Yet, forward-thinking cities across the country are breaking the mold and public perception by adopting innovative ways to interact with their citizens. They're giving a voice to their residents, making their city a better place to call “home.”
The City of San Jose
Often nicknamed the Capital of Silicon Valley, the City of San Jose wanted to make City Hall as innovative as the community it serves. In 2017, the City launched the My San Jose app, with the goal of being the most innovative municipality in the nation by 2020. By developing a relevant and easy-to-use tool, San Jose residents are empowered to make a difference. Each request submitted on the mobile app is routed to appropriate city departments, so work crews can respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. Once completed, residents are informed of the improvement that they made to their own community.
The City of Albuquerque
The City of Albuquerque takes pride in its citizen experience, and was voted the second most digital city in the country in 2017. This recognition showcases their efforts to establish new lines of communication with residents, as Albuquerque was the first to integrate Amazon Alexa as a 311 Contact Center channel. Using Alexa, Albuquerque residents can get help finding a lost pet, schedule a large package pickup, and remove litter all with the conveniences of a modern voice interface.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana is a big city with a small town feel. When City Hall embarked upon a project to better understand its citizen needs, it realized that it also needed to hold itself accountable for meeting those demands. After launching a GPS-enabled mobile app, citizens can create and see all pending service requests on a map, alongside projected resolution time. This level of transparency ensures that city departments respond quickly and efficiently. As a result, citizen engagement and the city's community satisfaction rating have both increased. Plus, things just run smoother in Fort Wayne. A pothole used to take weeks to fill, and now it takes just 24 hours.
Home to 1.5 million residents, Sacramento County is also finding efficiencies with a modern service strategy. The municipality is optimizing interactions with its residents across multiple channels by sharing and integrating data across its internal departments. By automating previously manual processes, Sacramento County is freeing up its communications center staff to focus on public engagement and collaborative projects that make the area feel like home.
Many of these stories first appeared in an Oracle press release, published on October 16, 2018.
Montana-based, Molly is an outdoor enthusiast and never too far from a mountain peak or river. At Oracle, she works on the CX Global Marketing Team, inspiring other CX professionals with storytelling. She's passionate about addressing the challenges today's businesses face, and loves highlighting their success. She's also busy researching the next groundbreaking trend impacting consumers, companies and CX professionals alike.