April 24, 2013 By Lauren Katims Nadeau
When Sacramento, Calif., implemented its 311 customer call center in 2008, it was a huge success. In fact, it was so popular that staff couldn’t handle the daily call volume, losing 100,000 calls a year to customer hang ups.
Four years later, the city launched a mobile 311 app that is not only alleviating customer frustration with long wait times, but is also creating an entirely new mindset of how city-citizen interactions should work.
“We continue to expand access to various tools, so citizens can self-serve,” said city IT Manager Maria MacGunigal. On the to-do list for expanded access are ad-ons like bicycle and neighborhood watch registration, checking the status of a ticket and text reminders for recycle days.
And for city CIO Gary Cook, the more of these types of apps, or ability to communicate with the city, "I think the better chance we have of being the best managed city,” he said, adding that the impetus for change goes back to City Manager John Shirey, who was appointed by the mayor in 2011, and made it a personal goal to make Sacramento the most well-managed city in California.
Sacramento would become the most well-managed city, Cook said, by making technology a priority in transforming city government into a completely accessible place for citizens and the business community.