Six months after Montgomery County’s 311 online and telephone information system launched on June 17, calls coming into the system continue to increase. Call volume peaked in August with almost 57,000 calls received. The 311 web portal, which allows residents to find answers and check on the status of service requests, has consistently averaged 25,000 views per month.
“The 311 system has become an integral part of County government resulting in cost savings and enhanced customer service for our residents,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Our new MC311 system continues to grow and expand its knowledge base. As our residents become more familiar with the system and the relative ease of reaching County services by simply dialing 311, we expect our call volume to continue to rise.”
The MC311 Customer Service Center is staffed with 49 customer service representatives who can access more than 4,000 knowledge-based articles to assist them in answering calls. Calls that come into the call center can be categorized as follows: general information, referrals, service requests and miscellaneous comments/compliments/complaints.
The MC311 Customer Service Center handles a wide range of calls and questions, from the most popular – Ride On bus related calls and bulk trash pickups – to more obscure topics. Among the latter: complaints about someone feeding raw meat to vultures; “Is it against the law to shower in the County after 11 p.m.?” (answer: no); “Am I still married?”; and “How do I get a copy of my mother’s police mugshot?”
The top 10 call types handled by 311 call takers since it opened in June through October are:
• Ride On bus trip -- planning/location/status/scheduled arrival time
• Bulk trash
• Directory assistance
• Requests to discuss property tax bills
• Schedule building construction-related permitting inspections
• Disposal or recycling of scrap metal
• Information printed on tax bills
• Name and telephone number of building inspector
• Order a recycling bin, can or wheeled cart
• Contacting a zoning specialist
A recent survey of hundreds of 311 users showed about 75 percent of users satisfied with the time it took to reach a Customer Service Representative. Seventy-two percent were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the handling of their call. The survey showed 75 percent satisfied or extremely satisfied with their overall 311 experience.
“I am happy with these results,” said Leggett. “But I know that we are all committed to doing even better in the future.”
The MC311 Customer Service Center operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The self-service website is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About 30 County government “information and referral” phone numbers are now answered directly by MC311. All other County lines continue to be accessed directly. Trained representatives who speak Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and French are available at MC311, as is a language interpretation service for other languages. A TTY line is available at 240-773-3556.
Working with the local phone company providers, Montgomery County has succeeded in including six local telephone exchanges not included by the companies in the original coverage design. Customers with exchanges 299, 365, 469, 765, 676 and 983 can now reach the 311 call center when using their land line.
For more information about MC311, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507, or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311.
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