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Enhancing Local Government Customer Service in the Digital Age

Contact: Cory Fleming, Senior Project Manager, Global Project Management, ICMA; cfleming@icma.org or 207-854-1083


New report highlights innovative local government uses of 311/CRM systems.

Philadelphia, PA – Attracting new business and residents while delivering outstanding customer service to constituents is the number-one priority for many communities, particularly in the age of digital communication.

An important new report, “Creating a Welcoming and Connected City: The Philadelphia Experience,” provides a case-study examination of leading practices in this area. Developed by the City of Philadelphia and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the joint report highlights Philadelphia’s 311 system and how the city expanded and adapted it to meet the growing needs of citizens, as well as plans for future development of the system to enhance the technology and citizen access.

In “Creating a Welcoming and Connected City,” Rosetta Carrington Lue, chief customer service officer for the city of Philadelphia and director of the Philly 311 Customer Contact Center, plus several directors of other city-based 311 systems, explain the evolution of this pioneering system and its impact on the financial and customer service opportunities involved in this resource. The report also features descriptions of innovations in 311 systems from communities such as Charlotte/Mecklenburg County (CharMeck), North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Montgomery County, Maryland; Spokane, Washington; and San Antonio, Texas.

"ICMA’s mission is to serve those who work to advance excellence in local governance and improve quality of life in our communities,” said Robert J. O’Neill, Jr., ICMA Executive Director. “Through our 311/CRM consulting services, we recognize how technology contributes to improved local government management and help jurisdictions determine whether a 311/CRM system makes sense for them. If it does, we advise them on how best to implement a system for maximum benefit to their citizens.”

Philly311, the city’s central customer service agency, is essential to Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s reform initiatives, which are designed to make city government more accessible, available, and accountable to citizens. By embracing innovative technologies such as Philly311 TV and the Philly311 mobile app, the system serves as the flagship project for a centralized customer service plan for the city, which has received an average 98 percent satisfaction rate since its inception and has thousands of social media followers.

The creation of a new constituent relationship management (CRM) application in 2014 unified several methods of communication to create one effective customer service portal that facilitates conversations among citizens, stakeholders, and government officials. Today, the Philly311 system has expanded to become a resource and example for regions outside Philadelphia while continuing to build toward a better, more reliable city government that embodies the attributes of a welcoming and connected city.

For more information on Philly311, visit: http://www.phila.gov/311/

About ICMA
ICMA advances professional local government worldwide. Its mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and advancing professional management of local government. ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, provides member support; publications, data, and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to more than 9,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA's members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.


About Philly311
Philly311 is the City of Philadelphia government’s centralized, non-emergency contact center, which is accessible to all residents, businesses, and visitors. Serving as the gateway to city government information on topics such as how to start a business, interacting with the local police district, trash and recycling collection day, obtaining a smoke alarm, and requests for services including the repair of broken traffic signals, potholes, and other street defects; graffiti removal; report of abandoned vehicles; unsafe/improper residential maintenance conditions; and other complaints.

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