By: Aaron Shroyer, Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow
Kansas City increasingly uses performance indicators to track how well the City is providing its citizens with services. These performance indicators are laid out in every fiscal year’s budget and provide definitive numerical goals for specific city services within each department. Today’s blog post looks at how the City sets those targets and how those targets change over time using the City’s 311 Call Center as an example.
Kansas City was one of the first cities in the nation to establish a call center when it created the mayor’s Action Center in 1972. In 2005, the Action Center expanded its operations to include multiple call center functions that had been housed in other city departments. The City implemented its 311 number in October of 2006 and began using constituent relationship management (CRM) software in January 2007.
One of the 311 Call Center’s key metrics is the percentage of customers satisfied with customer service provided by 311. But before this post digs into the details of setting the metrics, it is important to refresh the readers on how the 311 Center works. When a citizen contacts 311 (via phone, email, walk-in, Twitter, online or at the mobile van), a unique case number is assigned that can be used to track the status of that specific case (http://webfusion.kcmo.org/coldfusionapps/ActionCenterRequest/getstatus.cfm). After that case is closed, an email or letter goes to the customer who issued the request (assuming that the customer provided their address or email address). This follow-up from the City asks the customer three questions:
- How was the quality of service provided by the department?
- How timely was the service provided by the department?
- How was the customer service provided by 311?
The customer service rating comes from this third question. For respondents who are not satisfied, the City is able to track unsatisfied responses by service type. Therefore, the City can make specific improvements if it identifies a trend of dissatisfaction with a particular service.
This customer service metric has been in place for a while. In 2003, the percent satisfaction with the customer service hovered in the mid-60’s. But with the conversion to 311, the City’s scores have risen significantly over the past decade. Now, the rating hovers right around a 90% satisfaction rate. Simultaneously, satisfaction with quality of service provided by departments such as Water Services, Neighborhoods, Public Works, and Parks & Recreation has increased as satisfaction with 311 customer service has increased.
In the 26-month span between April 2013 and May 2015, the customer satisfaction rating was above the 90% target in all but three of those months. Because the target for customer satisfaction with 311 has been achieved for a number of months, the City is working to raise its standard. The City’s movement to raise its own internal standards represents a continued desire to provide the best possible service to its citizens, helping to both make Kansas City’s citizen services more accountable and better connect its citizens with city services.