The City of Houston recently introduced their revamped 3-1-1 service system.
The 3-1-1 Houston Service Helpline is a city government call center where residents can request information about city services and report non-urgent issues such as traffic fines, sewer problems, pothole problems, and neighborhood complaints. Since the service was launched in August 2001, its main component has been the three-digit phone number that can be reached from within the Houston city limits. The call center 311 receives around 2.2 million contacts and 450,000 service inquiries annually, according to a message from the mayor’s office.
Now the revised system, which took about nine months to develop, offers residents new functions and additional options for reporting problems and requesting information. There are now three ways in which residents can submit a service request: via smartphone app (Apple and Google), web portal via a virtual agent and via the call center. In a press release, officials said these additional self-service features will help reduce call volume and waiting times.
“Not only will this reduce the waiting time for people who have to call 3-1-1 instead of creating a service request in our app or web portal, this investment and the upgrade in our technology will keep us looking forward to the next 20 years of demand prepare. “Tina Paez, Houston’s director of administrative and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.
The new system also consolidates repeat reports.
“The new system is another example of how Houston is building a smart city of the future. This new 311 system has the potential to be the platform that connects all of the city’s departments and systems to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for citizens, ”said Turner.
While 3-1-1 is primarily used for everyday non-emergency services, the hotline is often an important tool in emergency response, officials said in a press release.
“During the flood on tax day, the hurricane Harvey and the winter storm Uri, the 311 web portal, the app and the call center were critical points for information gathering and distribution in these times of crisis,” says the press release. “This system upgrade improves the waiting times in the call center and the self-service functions during regular hours, improves responsiveness and minimizes waiting times in times of crisis.”
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