Tuesday, November 3, 2009

East Bay, Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville Real Estate: City of Berkeley Launches New 311 Call Center

Pilot program aims to streamline and improve customer service

Berkeley, California (Monday, November 02, 2009) - Berkeley residents, businesses, and visitors now have two faster, easier ways to access City services: a new 311 Call Center and an updated online service center at www.CityOfBerkeley.info/onlineservice.

The 311 Call Center

Creating a consolidated call center has been a major component of the City’s Customer Service Initiative. Anyone within the Berkeley city limits can now dial 311 from a land line to reach the Call Center. Cell phone access is currently in test mode and will be fully operational by December. “By providing one easy to remember, convenient number we want to help community members get the information and services they need as quickly as possible,” said Deputy City Manager Lisa Caronna. Call Center phones are answered 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on regular City business days.

311 is not a City switchboard - - calls are answered by customer service representatives who can help most callers complete routine City business without being transferred. The most frequently requested transactions include:

Reporting graffiti, potholes, and broken parking meters;

Paying refuse bills and parking tickets;

Requesting general information (City business hours, office locations, etc.);

Changing residential refuse services; and

Reporting a residential or commercial missed garbage pick-up.
The Online Service Center

In a web survey conducted last fall, the top two online services requested by community members were the ability to submit online service requests and to access an online City staff directory. Both services have now been added to the City’s website. The Online Service Center (www.CityofBerkeley.info/onlineservice) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and performs many of the same services as the Call Center, including the ability to report problems such as graffiti, potholes, and illegal dumping.

“We’re excited about these pilot programs, and look forward to getting feedback from the public so that we can make adjustments and improvements,” Caronna said. “The Customer Service Initiative is definitely an ongoing process. We’re glad to announce the 311 Call Center and the new services available at the Online Service Center, and look forward to expanding the scope of services handled by both throughout 2010.”

The public is invited to email feedback and suggestions to 311@cityofberkeley.info.

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