March 11, 2008Call Center Received 15.3 Million Calls in 2007 and 61 Million to Date
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT ) Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave today congratulated the men and women of the 311 Customer Service Center on five years of excellence as New York City’s non-emergency number. Announced by Mayor Bloomberg in his 2002 State of the City Address and launched in March 2003, 311 has become synonymous with New York City services, handling a record 15.3 million calls in 2007 – a 14 percent increase over 2006 – and receiving 61 million calls since inception.
“Over the last five years, 311 has transformed the way City government functions, not only improving customer service but also giving us the information we need to hold agencies accountable for their responsibilities,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “But we are not resting on our laurels: We have continued to improve customer service and accountability through new technology like ‘311 on the Web,’ which allows New Yorkers to receive updates on their 311 requests online.”
“311 is one of the best examples of open government, and Mayor Bloomberg’s vision is to credit for its enduring success,” said Commissioner Cosgrave. “No longer do New Yorkers need to scour the phone book in the hopes of finding the right person, in the right office, at the right time – on weekdays only between 9 AM and 5 PM – to make a complaint, or even to retrieve basic City information. Rather, New Yorkers, and the rest of New York’s customers the world over, have only to ‘311’ their matters to have them addressed.”
“From parades to potholes, and quality-of-life issues to human services access, 311 is at your service 40,000 times a day,” said 311 Executive Director Joseph Morrisroe. “The achievement of 311 is due to the stellar work of our many professionals, from call takers to support teams, whose efforts make it the pre-eminent government call center anywhere. New York City’s customers far and wide also deserve credit for 311’s success, by putting their faith in us to handle their concerns professionally, accurately, and effectively. We relish the challenge and responsibility of being the face of New York City so often for so many.”
When first launched on March 9, 2003, 311 consolidated more than 40 separate call centers and hotlines – and 11 pages of government listings in the phone book – into one, easy-to-remember number. The new number enabled New Yorkers to access City government with only two phone numbers: 911 for emergencies and 311 for everything else. Today, the approximately400 Call Center representatives answer more than 40,000 calls daily, with an average wait of just six seconds. From a first-year total of 4.5 million calls, the volume of calls grew to 10.7 million in 2004 and 14 million in 2005 (including a single-day record of 241,000 calls during the December 2005 transit strike). In 2006, 311 received another 13.5 million calls, followed by a record 15.3 million in 2007. In spite of the increased call volume, 97% of all calls in 2007 were answered in 30 seconds or less. Every day for nearly six straight months from August 2007 through January 2008, the call center answered at least 90% of calls in fewer than 30 seconds.
As part of PlanIT – the City’s first-ever comprehensive technology strategy – since January, customers have been able to enter the service request number of a previously-filed 311 complaint on NYC.gov, where they are provided with the status of that service request, including the date created, type of request, request details, the borough and address of the incident, the status of the service request, and the last time the request was updated by the servicing agency. This “311 on the Web” functionality gives New Yorkers a new choice by allowing them to manage their interactions with 311 using the Internet.
Due to its robust call-taking capacity, 311 has also enabled City agencies to launch several large-scale initiatives. In 2008, for the fifth consecutive year, 311 partnered with the Department of Consumer Affairs to facilitate the City’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to learn about the EITC, as well as eligibility requirements for the program, information about free tax filing locations citywide, and to request literature in 12 different languages. During the 2007 tax season, New Yorkers claimed more than $1.6 billion in total EITC tax credits, and 311 has already received nearly 28,000 calls about the EITC in 2008.
As the City’s phone number for all non-emergency government information and services, 311 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and provides language translation services in nearly 180 languages. 311 can also be accessed from anywhere in the world by dialing (212) NEW-YORK. The call center has become a model for non-emergency numbers around the world. Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the City of San Francisco have all established innovative non-emergency service numbers based on the 311 model.
The 311 Customer Service Center is administered by DoITT, the technology agency for the City of New York. DoITT works to transform the way the City interacts with its residents, businesses, visitors, and employees by leveraging technology to improve services and increase transparency, accountability and accessibility across all agencies.
The top calls since the inception of 311 are: