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311 Customer Service Systems: Resources That Explain the What, Why, and How


A 311 program can be a useful, centralized customer service tool for your community.   A 311 system takes calls from citizens dialing 3-1-1 who want access to non-emergency municipal services If you are interested in taking advantage of a 311 program, ICMA has the resources to help you.

  • Before you develop a 311 system, make sure you can answer these questions in this conference document from the 2014 ICMA Annual Conference.
  • After reviewing the questions, contact ICMA’s 311 program director, Cory Fleming, at cfleming@icma.org or 207-854-1083 to schedule a free webinar briefing for your team to orient yourself on the steps involved in implementing a centralized customer service system.
  • Get the straight talk on 311 in this conference document.
  • This InFocus Report describes the fundamental as well as innovative uses of 311 systems.
  • For other information and recent developments in 311 programs, check out the 311/CRM Systems blog.
  • Once you have established your 311 center you will need to record and report the data from the center. This document offers the best practices in completing this task.

Now that you have a general understanding of 311 programs, you might be interested in these events discussing 311 programs:

  • The Association of Government Contact Center Professionals (AGCCP) is having its annual conference May 13th-15th in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • The CS Week 311 Synergy Group is having its spring meeting April 26-28 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Results of the annual 311 Comparative Survey will be presented at the conference.
  • In case you missed the announcement last winter, the Public Technology Institute (PTI) selected 18 local governments for designation as 2014–2016 Citizen Engaged Communities.  The designation recognizes excellence in multi-channel contact centers and best practices for the use of Citizen Relationship/Records Management (CRM) systems, 311 services, web portal technology, telephony systems, and mobile communications infrastructure.

How can 311 centers impact your community?  Consider these examples:

  • The city of Mankato, Minnesota, utilizes a team approach in operating their 311 program.  
  • This article looks at Knoxville, Tennessee, one of the innovators in 311 programs.
  • Read about the city of Asheboro, North Carolina’s innovative mobile 311 program.

Has your community implemented a 311 program?  Post your story below.

Douglas Shontz

Knowledge Network Intern