Most every municipality in the United States has a 911 system in place to handle emergencies. Too many times, the general population will call a 911 service for non-emergency issues. While the issue may be urgent to the caller, it is often not a life or death situation. A traffic light that is out at the corner of Elm and Main or the abandoned car on highway 66 may all be important to the caller and the city, these are not life or death issues for 911 operators. This is the idea behind a municipality's 311 provider service.

What started as an experiment back in 1996 is now a widely adopted method of collecting non-emergency information for municipalities from their residents. Instead of residents calling 911 when the power goes out, or if their cat gets stuck in a tree, or if the letter carrier is running late, residents can call 311. During the experiment, this reduced 911 calls by one-third. Leaving 911 operators more time and resources to handle real emergencies.

311 Services Have Grown in Popularity

Today, you can find a 311 provider in most municipalities across the country. These services work closely or directly with municipalities to help resolve issues for residents as quickly as possible. What was once a call center telephone service, has now adopted most other kinds of communication including email, text, and social media. This allows a 311 provider to be multilingual, multicultural, and multi-generational in order to reach a greater portion of the population.

Challenges Facing Today’s 311 Providers

Today's biggest challenges for a 311 provider is to have real time access to city databases, reports, and other information. 311 providers must be efficient. Therefore, self-service is critical to the success of any provider.

Suppose the two-week city road project is scheduled for just that, two weeks. It goes over budget and takes twice as long as originally expected. How do you get the good news that the project is now complete to the person who reported the issue? In Portuguese? 311 providers can work inside of the city's customer relationship management platform to track the number of telephone calls, emails, and even social media messages associated with the resident and then give them an update on the completed work, in any language.

Combining any number of social media platforms, corporate apps, and databases can be a challenge for most municipalities. How do you let residents in the northeast neighborhoods of the city know that power has been restored? How does the power company signal the municipality that they are actively working on the issue and how do they update the city when the work is complete? How does the power company communicate the reason for the outage and then how does the city notify all of the residents who complained of the outage? With a robust 311 platform, all of this communication and more is possible.

DATAMARK has experience managing 311 services as a leading outsourced provider. The key is our experience in all types of outsourced managed services. We’ve found success providing complete 311 outsourcing services, or by simply providing consultation on how a city can better manage its existing 311 services. Feel free to reach out to our team to learn more about our wide variety of services that can benefit you and your entire city.


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Why DATAMARK for Government 311 Contact Centers

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DATAMARK has been a trusted business services partner to Fortune 500 companies, large enterprises and government agencies since 1989.

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City government shouldn’t be in the business of operating contact centers. Let DATAMARK handle your 311 program so you can focus on the long-term, strategic management of city government.

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Today’s economic reality means cities face ever-tightening budgets and the need to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely. Outsourcing 311 to an experienced contact center service like DATAMARK can help your community control costs while ensuring top-performing service to your citizens.

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