News : Winnipeggers Waiting Longer for 311 to Pick Up
Winnipeg, MB, Canada, Feb 18, 2015 -- An internal audit into the city’s 311 call centre shows Winnipeggers are staying on hold longer than they were when the service began in 2009.
In 2013, 1.6 million calls went to 311, and callers were on hold for an average of 100 seconds, as opposed to 80 seconds in 2009, according to the audit.
The audit was presented as information to Mayor Brian Bowman’s executive policy committee.
Despite not sending any recommendations to council for approval, Bowman said after the meeting that the city will take every step necessary to move forward with the recommendations.
"Many, if not all, of those recommendations will be implemented by the public service ... we may take additional steps at the council level in due course," he said. "We all want to make sure the service is improved, it is something I heard a lot about in the election."
Auditors were tasked with evaluating whether the business case set out with the 2009 creation of the 311 Contact Centre had been achieved.
One of the key recommendations is moving to interactive voice response (IVR) for transit queries, which make up 44% of 311 calls.
An automated attendant would free up resources for non-transit questions and likely improve call wait times, states the report.
Bowman noted one of the key questions Winnipeggers need to ask themselves is if they want to use an interactive voice response service for transit calls.
"There are a lot of people who call in and appreciate an actual body to talk to, you counter that with 41% of calls" that could be handled by IVR, he said.
"If you move to IVR, the cost savings are significant, so that is something that we are going to have those discussions about."
The audit also recommends the city revisit the performance target set out in 2011 of 80% of calls being answered within 30 seconds to a more realistic goal.
"I don’t believe they have been able to meet that in the majority of the cases, so revisiting that, whether or not that is realistic and whether we want to spend additional monies to meet it, that may be something council needs to consider," Bowman said.
The report states that the target will be difficult to meet due to lack of staff.
But in general, Winnipeggers are satisfied with 311 — the audit points to a 2014 survey which stated 87% are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the current service.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, February 23, 2015