Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Is 3-1-1 getting a soft opening?

So remember how the city is planning to implement a 3-1-1 non-emergency call center by the end of the year? Looks like some pieces are already up. If you call the City Hall switchboard at 215-686-1776 -- the current destination point for city information -- you get the following recording before being put on hold for an operator: "Your call is important. Please hold for the next 3-1-1 professional representative." We've questioned if 3-1-1 can really be fully operational by years end. A true 3-1-1 system like New York's requires expensive software and trained operators. So far, it doesn't appear that enough funding is in place to cover all the costs. And with the current budget crunch, we doubt there is a lot of extra cash floating around. Have you called for city information lately? What has your customer service experience been like?

Is 3-1-1 getting a soft opening?

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So remember how the city is planning to implement a 3-1-1 non-emergency call center by the end of the year?

Looks like some pieces are already up. If you call the City Hall switchboard at 215-686-1776 -- the current destination point for city information -- you get the following recording before being put on hold for an operator:

"Your call is important. Please hold for the next 3-1-1 professional representative."
 
We've questioned if 3-1-1 can really be fully operational by years end. A true 3-1-1 system like New York's requires expensive software and trained operators. So far, it doesn't appear that enough funding is in place to cover all the costs. And with the current budget crunch, we doubt there is a lot of extra cash floating around.

Have you called for city information lately? What has your customer service experience been like?

0 comments
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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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