3-1-1 systems allow citizens to interact with their local governments, find information, and make requests. The term comes in the shadow of 9-1-1 Emergency Request systems, but focuses on non-emergency citizen services like parking, trees, traffic, sidewalks, potholes, and the like. Modern 3-1-1 can revolutionize the citizen to agency experience and offer benefits for all parties. Here's four key reasons your city or agency should consider deploying such a system this year.
1. Citizen Experience. Modern cities, municipalities, and agencies need to adopt a modern user experience to interact with their constituents. In an era where most people have smartphones and would prefer to live stream Council meetings vs finding parking downtown, a seamless digital experience is expected by taxpayers. If they can order any product imaginable from their Amazon app, why can't they report a pothole using a similar experience?
2. Accountability. Citizens hate when "the buck gets passed" and absolutely hate when officials provide them with contradictory information. The fulfillment centers of city halls need to let their rights hands know what their left hands are doing, and there's no better way to manage that than with a modern digital 3-1-1 platform.
By recording work and interactions, honestly and accountability prevail. Good 3-1-1 systems can provide bi-directional dialog and journal logs on all citizen requests. This ensures what was supposed to be communicated and what was supposed to get done, actually was.
Task management, metrics, KPIs, and reports are available in various forms to all stakeholders and finally everyone can have full insight into what's actually happening.
3. Transparency. The old adage comparing how governments function to "seeing how the sausage is made" is about as antiquated as having manually lit flame streetlights. We live in the age of Wikipedia (and Wikileaks) where information is available universally from our fingertips. When citizens don't know (or understand) what their governments are doing for them, they get nervous, upset, or dissatisfied with the process. When your average citizen has a real idea of the magnitude of citizen requests coming in daily, and how they are being resolved, they understand that work is really being completed and feel more a part of the process.
A good 3-1-1 system can expose citizen requests in a public list, allow others to follow requests initiated by others, and even see the work being completed on a live map.
4. Cost Savings and Efficiency. Agencies are trying to do more with less, and that's because more is being expected of them. Between the promises of elected officials and the reality of budgets, fulfillment groups are feeling the strain. Understanding what work costs is critical in truly understanding budgetary needs and forecasting. When you can easily report on all citizen requests you've received with accurate categorization, you have the first part of the equation of what they really cost to fulfill. Great 3-1-1 systems can incorporate time cards and skills management with rate cards as well, giving you the second part of that equation. Now imaging having those metrics over time and the accurate forecasting you'd be able to predict for your budget needs four years from now!
3-1-1 help you realize those costs and plans for growth with ease, helping not only your department, but the tax-paying citizens as well.
Have you recently deployed a modern 3-1-1 solution and experienced unexpected benefits? We'd like to hear your story in the comment below.