In just the first full calendar year of operation, Lethbridge 311 might very well have seen one for the record books. In 2020, the City's customer service contact centre answered 114,765 calls. That equals more than one call per resident and a total of 312,180 minutes where Customer Service Specialists were on the phone helping those with questions about City programs and services.
Of those calls 21,265 service requests were created and 91,029 calls were for information requests with the top three questions being about utilities, waste and recycling and transit. The 311 staff also took close to 9000 calls related to COVID-19.
"The value of our 311 service became increasingly evident as we worked to manage the COVID-19 pandemic," says Tara Grindle, Communications Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "Having this resource to monitor what questions residents have and to provide them with good information was invaluable."
The launch of Lethbridge 311 in March of 2019 put a strong emphasis on the importance of customer service for the City of Lethbridge, a focus that continues to grow today.
"Lethbridge 311 is evolving, helping us provide great customer service to our residents," says Travis Hillier, Corporate Customer Service Manager. "Through the recent KPMG Operational Reviews, we have also identified opportunities to create a formal citizen centric customer service model which is really exciting."
The City is in the process of implementing customer service standards across the organization and providing additional training for staff. Centralized customer service is also being introduced on the first floor of City Hall.
"Our Lethbridge 311 Payments and Customer Service area will be able process payments, answer general questions or direct citizens to the appropriate specialist in another department if needed," says Hillier. "They will be able to provide most of the same services that you get by calling 311 but in-person."
In 2020 there were 75,680 of visits to the Lethbridge 311 online portal with 1151 service requests submitted. In the near future, the City is also looking to expand online features such as adding a chat function to better service residents.