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GCN : October 2015
person receives a timeline for resolv- ing the issue and a tracking number to keep up with the request without having to contact 311 again. “We’re giving our residents and customers the opportunity to report something and actually see what’s going on with your request,” Lue said. “That was important to the mayor.... [And] we have service agreements with the departments, so when you call in, we outline the process and set the expectations for you.” Those service agreements are part of Philly311’s efforts to better partner with other city departments on requests that are compli- cated or re- quire a more in-depth response. One of the highlights of the new system is that police officers can now check on a citizen’s request right from their police cruisers. “There are about 1,000 police vehicles” out in the city, Lue said. Anytime officers are talking to community members and hear about a 311 complaint that has not yet been addressed by the city, “the police can go back to their vehicle, put the address in and the information pops up.” Lue wanted to make sure that the system would be easy for customers to use, so local citizens were involved in its design from the beginning. “ We brought them in early in the process to help us, and that saved us time when it came to implementing the system and rolling it out,” she added. Lue said the unplanned six-year hiatus allowed her staff and other city departments to study trends and new technology, and to make the best deci- sions once funding became available. “Really it was a blessing in dis- guise,” she added. “We were able to bring about 100 people together from different city departments and say what we like and what we don’t like when it comes to the technology and getting things done. Those six years really gave us a chance to see how data was coming in and how it would be used, how we could be more efficient and effective. We were able to take all the lessons learned and say this is what we need as a city to ensure we have the right platform.” — Derek Major 32 GCN OCTOBER 2015 • GCN.COM “Our customers had a higher expectation on service delivery and response time, and they also wanted various channels to communicate with the city, meaning we had to look at what kinds of software can we use to implement that omni-channel experi- ence,” Lue said. And the city had an opportunity to track and use data. “ We needed a sys- tem to help us analyze data and turn it into information very quickly in a time of crisis or a time of ongoing need where we needed to not just look at the data but show us trends, mapping, hotspots,” she added. Officials wanted a model that “would enable leaders to make a better decision based on the information they have in front of them versus waiting weeks for IT to organize all of it.” With the help of Unisys, Lue and her team created a customer relation- ship management system based on Salesforce’s CRM platform. The system was released in December 2014 after 11 months of development, and it im- mediately changed the way residents make requests. In the past, when Philadelphians called 311 with a service request, such as a pothole they wanted fixed, they would have no idea when the city would get around to addressing it, which led to frustration for residents and repeated calls to 311. People can now make requests via phone, web or a host of social media platforms including Twitter and Face- book, and after a request is made, the AT A GLANCE PROJECT: Philly311 ORGANIZATION: City Manager’s Office, Philadelphia Mobile-friendly interfaces, citizen- driven design and a modernized CRM help deliver better government service. 1015gcn_020-038.indd 32 10/5/15 10:41 AM
January and February 2016