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Hello, New York City. May I Help You?

311 call center nyc

Last week, the MAS Urbanists got a behind-the-scenes look at New York City’s state-of-the-art 311 call facility. Winner of a MAS Annual Award in 2008, 311 was launched five years ago and now receives more than 40,000 calls per day. Executive Director Joe Morrisroe and members of his staff enthusiastically presented the ins and outs of this information hub.

Even though most calls are predictable (noise complaints in the summer, heat/hot water in the winter, parking questions year round) there are always important anomalies. They offer social services, and have provided informational services for over 2,000,000 callers during peak times like during the NYC transit strike of 2005.

By creating a centralized phone number, 311 provides New Yorkers with reliable information and access to responsive city agencies. 311 also gathers valuable data representing the needs and concerns of the citizens of our diverse city. Don’t speak English or Spanish? Operators will recognize this and tap into translators who have access to 180 languages.

The information doesn’t only go one way! Citywide Performance Reporting (CPR) organizes the data they receive by phone and helps hold government agencies accountable for what they do.