Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New York City's 311 system

There's an interesting article in today's New York Times about New York City's 311 citizen information hotline. Twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, resident can call 311 and get a knowledgeable and helpful human being on the other end of the phone. The reporter who wrote the story spent two days training and a week "on duty" fielding live calls. The most frequent calls are noise complaints; next come tenants complaining about landlords. Business spikes upward on Mondays since most people seem to believe the service is not operable on weekends.

It's hard to quantify the benefits of good customer service by a governmental entity (telephone operators are continuously scored on their courtesy and helpfulness to callers). But as the reporter points out, the intangible benefits of a citizen feeling that government was able to help in a cheerful, pleasant way has a ripple effect throughout the community.

I'm not sure that a 24/7 helpline will ever be possible for a registry of deeds, but we can and will continue to search for ways to make the service we provide to our customers more helpful and efficient.

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