May 12, 2010 By News Report
New York City's customer service system took its 100 millionth call this week, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg answering the call live from the city's 311 facility.
The system, which is available by phone and through the Web, was launched by Bloomberg's administration in March 2003, and designed with support from Accenture.
According to the mayor's office, the 311 Customer Service Center has exceeded industry standards by handling more than 100 million calls, with 87 percent of calls answered in 30 seconds or less, at an average answer speed of 15 seconds. Open year-round 24/7, the call center takes more than 50,000 calls per day.
Since the system was launched in 2003, the top three types of calls have been for noise, heat problems and public transportation information.
New capabilities continue to be added to New York City's 311. In 2009, the city added Skype and Twitter accounts, a free iPhone application so that residents can report "quality-of-life" complaints and attach relevant photos, and new functionality so that 311 call-takers can speak directly to New York City Department of Education experts about K-12 queries.
Bloomberg said in a prepared statement that 311 has revolutionized how citizens interact with the city government: "Before 311, if you wanted to get non-emergency information, there were 11 pages of phone book numbers to plow through, and even if you found the right number, getting the right person was often hit or miss. Not anymore. But 311 is much more than a number to call. It's been a key to making city services more efficient and accountable."
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.