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News : New 311 Phone Line Connects Residents with Kalamazoo City Services


Kalamazoo, MI, USA, March 11, 2020 -- A new phone line gives Kalamazoo residents one-stop access to non-emergency city services.

Beginning March 11, residents can dial 311 to be connected to a city operator who can connect callers to various city services, rather than calling individuals or departments. The new program was announced in a Wednesday, March 11, news release from the city of Kalamazoo.

"We wanted to streamline and simplify customer service for our community," City Manager Jim Ritsema said in the release. "By creating a dedicated team to assist community members, we can provide better, faster and more effective service."

For any and all emergencies, residents should still call 911, city officials stressed.

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The 311 phone line works anywhere within city limits, the release said, but the same services can also be reached by calling 269-337-800 when outside city limits. The system also offers callers language options before connecting them with an operator.

The city’s new contact center was created in 2018 and is a division of the city manager’s office, the release said. Since that time, staff were trained and more than 1,200 scripts have been created to handle various different types of calls and to connect callers with the appropriate city services.

By the end of 2019, all non-emergency calls were transferred to the new 311 contact center staff. Their goal: to resolve all issues with one call.

Grand Rapids has a similar resident contact center called GR311. Representatives from the team who created that program helped Kalamazoo officials as well, the release said.

"Their advice on everything from software to scriptwriting to processes has been a huge help with implementation in Kalamazoo," Ritsema said of the assistance from GR311. "We’re really grateful for their support."


Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

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