3-1-1 Contact Center Offers Service with ‘One Call to City Hall’

City residents can dial 3-1-1 within the city limits for assistance with any City service. For service outside of the city limits, dial (269) 337-8000.

The City of Kalamazoo is celebrating 3-1-1 Day with the introduction of the new 3-1-1 contact center. Starting today, anyone within the city limits can dial 3-1-1 to be connected with any non-emergency city services. When outside of the city limits, the contact center can be reached by dialing (269) 337-8000.

In the event of an emergency, residents should continue to dial 9-1-1.

The 3-1-1 contact center consolidates and coordinates all customer service in one division. Instead of having to locate the correct number for the correct department or person for any particular request, residents may now simply dial 3-1-1 for assistance. Translation is also available for more than 200 languages.

“We wanted to streamline and simplify customer service for our community,” explained City Manager Jim Ritsema. “By creating a dedicated team to assist community members, we can provide better, faster, and more effective service. This also lets our staff in other departments focus on their core tasks.”

3-1-1 is a division of the City Manager’s Office that was created in 2018. In the time since, every type of service request has been reviewed, and processes for handling them have been reevaluated. In total, more than 1,200 scripts have been written to explain how to handle various types of calls. Each department’s calls were transferred to the contact center in phases. 3-1-1 Experience Ambassadors first started answering phone calls in November 2018 for Water, Wastewater, Assessing, and Treasury divisions. All non-emergency calls had been transferred to the 3-1-1 team by the end of 2019.

Transferring customer service to a new division was an organization-wide effort, which relied not only on the 3-1-1 team but also staff in every department. The project also benefited from the experience and expertise of colleagues with the City of Grand Rapids. Becky Jo Glover, Grand Rapids’ Chief Customer Service and Innovation Officer, was an invaluable partner throughout the process, sharing insights from her experience creating the GR311 Customer Service Center in Grand Rapids and Miami-Dade County 311 in Florida.

“The City of Grand Rapids and their GR311 team have been outstanding throughout this project,” continued City Manager Ritsema. “Their advice on everything from software to scriptwriting to processes has been a huge help with implementation in Kalamazoo. We’re really grateful for their support.”

With the Customer Service Center answering all non-emergency calls, focus will shift to refining processes to make service as quick and convenient as possible, with a goal to resolve all issues in one call. The number of repeat callers and frequency of issues can help inform future improvements to online and in-person service.

About 3-1-1

The 3-1-1 number is reserved by the Federal Communications Commission for non-emergency governmental service. Telecom service and cell service providers program this number to contact the City of Kalamazoo for calls that originate within the city limits. Callers can reach the customer service center from anywhere by calling (269) 337-8000. Customers of some phone providers may initially need to dial 337-8000 while 311 programming is completed on their networks.

In the event of an emergency, residents should continue to dial 9-1-1.

 

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.

Contact

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 3-1-1
 (269) 337-8000
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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