The City of Evanston has been recognized as a Citizen-Engaged Community award winner for 2012-2014 by the Public Technology Institute (PTI). Evanston was the only city in the “under 75,000 population” category to win the award. In addition, Evanston joins San Francisco, California and Montgomery County, Maryland, as the nation’s only winners of both the Citizen-Engaged Community award and PTI’s Web 2.0 award, which was announced in July.
“The City of Evanston is very proud to receive this prestigious award,” said Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. “It is a special honor to be recognized twice in one year as a leader in innovative digital communication. PTI’s Web 2.0 award focused on Evanston’s application of Web 2.0 technologies and civic/social media tools, while PTI’s Citizen-Engaged Community award focused on the outstanding work of the City of Evanston’s 3-1-1 team.”
PTI created the annual Citizen-Engaged Community award to recognize excellence in multi-channel contact centers and best practices for the use of Citizen Relationship/Records Management (CRM) systems, 3-1-1 services, web portal technology, telephony systems and mobile communications infrastructure.
In 2010, Bobkiewicz proposed a centralized contact center that would effectively utilize new technology for fast, friendly and responsive service to citizens. The 3-1-1 Citizen Support Center was launched on March 1, 2011 (3-1-11).
“Feedback from residents who have used the 3-1-1 Citizen Support Center has been overwhelmingly positive,” Bobkiewicz said. “Residents appreciate the short wait time and accurate answers to their questions. The center empowers residents by providing direct interaction and also records more than 150 types of service requests, which are tracked and followed until completion.”
Local governments applying for the award had an average customer call wait time of 50 seconds, while Evanston’s hold time is just 11 seconds. The average cost per call for other communities was $3.52, while Evanston’s average call cost was only $3.44.
Residents can access the 3-1-1 Citizen Support Center by calling 3-1-1 (847/448-4311) or by visiting www.cityofevanston.org/311.
“We continually expand the way we interact with residents in order to provide them with the information they need,” Bobkiewicz said. “Recently, the City of Evanston launched Click to Call, which allows residents to access 3-1-1 via the web by typing in their phone number, as well as Web Chat, which is comparable to instant messaging between the resident and the 3-1-1 center.”
Created by and for cities and counties, the not-for-profit Public Technology Institute (PTI) promotes innovation and collaboration for thought-leaders in government, and advances the use of technology to improve the management and delivery of services to the citizen.
PTI judged governments with multi-channel contact centers using metrics and standards in three key areas: Citizen Participation Processes, Integrated Communication Channels and Technology and Performance Reporting. PTI website: www.pti.org.