News : Lexington’s 3-1-1 Centralized Call Center Reaches Milestone
Lexington, KY, USA, July 14, 2015 -- Have you ever had a time when the phone seemed to ring all day long? The people at LexCall – Lexington’s centralized call center – know that feeling well as they answer ringing phones five days a week. So much so that sometime between 4 and 4:15 p.m. on June 30, LexCall answered and handled its 3,110,000th call.
"It’s a milestone and a reminder of our commitment to customer service," Mayor Jim Gray said. "LexCall customer service specialists streamline government for people. They answer citizens’ calls, get them to the right people to fix the problems, and follow up to make sure the problems are fixed. They perform efficiently and effectively. LexCall truly is one call for city hall."
Today’s LexCall is different than when it was started as pilot program in 1997 under then-Mayor Pam Miller. Before then, each division was responsible for handling and completing its own service requests. Wanting to improve how the city served citizens, LexCall was created to document and make sure all service requests were handled and completed. The program started off processing customer service requests for just Waste Management and Streets and Roads. Over time, other divisions, additional personnel, and duties, including taking over the city’s switchboard duties, were added.
"From the beginning to this very day, we are and have been a group of people dedicated to helping those who call," says Customer Service Specialist Julie Terrell.
LexCall handled 214,785 calls in 2014. Those calls generated 84,073 service requests. The remaining ones dealt with answering questions or connecting callers with the city’s various divisions.
The changing needs of Lexington residents, coupled with technological advances, have changed LexCall’s duties and responsibilities over the years.
"Originally, all we had were phone calls and paper forms, Terrell said. "Today, we enter the service requests directly into a computer, accept service requests online, and even have an app for cell phones."
"We also have a lot more to keep up with today," Customer Service Specialist Pat Prather says. "When LexCall started, we only had two or three divisions to keep up with and know a little about. Now we have to know a lot about the whole government."
LexCall is continuing to evolve. The latest role for its 11 customer service specialists and two supervisors is to handle calls and service requests during emergency events in Lexington.
Tatum says plans are in the works for LexCall to handle LEXserv’s customer service work sometime in the future. LEXserv is the city services billing program covering sanitary sewer, landfill, and Water Quality fees.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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