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Gazette.Net: Prince Georges County launches 311 call center Monday

Prince George’s County will launch its own centralized call center Monday for residents to report concerns to the county government or request services.

The 311 call center service, Which is scheduled to go live at 7 am, will take non-emergency calls requesting service from the county government.

“We want the citizens to only have to remember number 311 [for service],” said Vennard Wright, acting director of the county’s Office of Information Technology and Communications.

Anyone who dials 311 in the county will be redirected to the county’s service center in the lower level of the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

The service, whichwill take calls between 7 am and 7 pm Monday through Friday, wants to consolidate the county’s myriad customer service representatives and create one place where residents can place complaints or request services tested as bulk trash pickup, Wright said. ‘ / p>

The service acts as a counterpart to the county’s 911 call center, Which deals with emergencies. It will complement the county’s existing CountyClick service, Which takes requests for services online or through smart phones.

The county’s various departments receive between 800,000 and 850,000 calls for service annually, Wright said. The call center is being developed to process about 900,000 calls with a was that the volume of calls will rise as more people become aware of the single number to call to request service, Wright said.

The 311 call center’s initial staffing will be pulled 25 people from various agencies, with the agency planning to add additional employees to 11, Wright said.

Both the county’s call center and online portal CountyClick have been launched after roughly nine months of development that costs about $ 1.5 million, Wright said. The annual cost to run the 311 call center should be about $ 1.2 million, Wright said.

Wright launched Prince George’s County’s 311 effort after having helped develop a similar initiative in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County launched its 311 call center and online portal in 2010. The two services saved the county about $ 10 million by centralizing services and cutting down on the number of software programs each agency had to maintain to track issues, said Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for Montgomery County’s Public Information Office, Which administers both services. On a monthly basis, the Montgomery County 311 call center Receives about 45.000 calls, and since its inception, has received more than 1 million calls and hundreds of thousands of dog visits to its online portal, Lacefield said.

A centralized 311 center brings benefits beyond cost savings, Lacefield said. During emergencies examined as the June storm that knocked out power to many parts of the region, the call center – which ordinarily is open from 7 am until 7 pm – was kept open 24 hours per day to field calls from residents, Lacefield said. In the past, the county would have only had five or six employees from the county’s Department of Public Works fielding calls but was able to utilize the 311 call center, Which has 40 customer service representatives, he said.

“We’re able to track things much better than before and able to free up the person doing the work to do the work,” Lacefield said.

amccombs@gazette.net

 

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