Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/31/12
City of Atlanta Launches New Customer Service Model and Begins 311 Implementation
New customer service delivery program features city’s first-ever Customer Service Bill of Rights, new performance management system and training for all city employees
Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that the City of Atlanta has launched new efforts to improve the customer service experience for residents and visitors interacting with the city. Among the features of the City’s new customer service program is the first-ever Customer Service Bill of Rights; customer C.A.R.E. (Courtesy and Respect Everyday) training for all employees; a roll-out in July of a new performance management system and the implementation of a new 311 customer service number over the next 18 months. Development of these new strategies has been fueled by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which is funded by a $3.3 million grant awarded to the City of Atlanta by Bloomberg Philanthropies last summer.
“All Atlanta residents and visitors should expect and receive best-in-class customer service every time they interact with the city,” said Mayor Reed. “My administration’s new customer service initiatives challenge and encourage City of Atlanta employees to be more efficient, courteous and professional. The city’s workforce of more than 7,500 employees are Atlanta’s ambassadors. When they take pride in their work, we all benefit.”
The Bill of Rights articulates the City of Atlanta’s commitment to customer service excellence. Six new customer service goals make up the City of Atlanta’s new Customer Service Bill of Rights. These include: the Right to Courteous Treatment; the Right to Know Who You Are Dealing With; the Right to Have Your Question/Complaint Heard; the Right to Easy Access; the Right to Responsive Service; and the Right to Fair Service Delivery.
To see the City of Atlanta’s Customer Service Bill of Rights, please visit: http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=829
Approximately 70 percent of the City’s 7,500 employees have already been through the new customer service training, which began in early May. By the end of June, it is expected that every City of Atlanta employee will have completed the course. Front-line employees from operating departments such as the Department of Watershed Management and the Department of Public Works will undergo additional and more extensive training beginning this summer. Customer service will also have a greater focus in the City’s new Performance Review System and will roll out in July.
Additionally, the City of Atlanta is beginning implementation of a 311 Call Center to improve customer service. The new 311 system will fundamentally change the way city residents interact with government, enabling them to access all city services with just two simple numbers – 911 for emergencies and 311 for everything else. The first phase of the new 311 system is expected to go live by the end of 2013.
“At the moment, there is no single point of entry to access government services,” Chief Operating Officer Duriya Farooqui said. “Instead of citizens trying to figure out who to call, they will be able to call a single number to get quick answers and an efficient response. A 311 approach combined with a strong focus on improving response times will be transformative for how we respond to citizens and deliver city services.”
The Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team has worked closely with agency directors and staff to develop the new customer service strategies. Over the past several months, the team conducted citizen surveys, hosted over 35 working sessions with employees to understand current performance and identify opportunities for improvement, and analyzed best practices employed by other cities and companies known for strong customer service.
“We’ve taken a deliberate step-by-step approach to improve customer service in the city through research, extensive employee training and a six-article Customer Service Bill of Rights,” said Kristin Wilson, Director of the Innovation Delivery Team. “These efforts create a strong foundation as we begin implementation of 311.”
Atlanta is one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Innovation Delivery Teams help mayors develop and deliver powerful solutions to major urban challenges. Part of Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Project, Innovation Delivery Team grants were also awarded to Chicago, Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans. The Mayors Project spreads effective programs and strategies between cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service and Financial Empowerment Centers.
# # #
For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @City_of_Atlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed.