In just 48 hours, collaboration between the City of Buffalo, the University of Buffalo, and Cisco enabled the city’s call center agents to work remotely, allowing citizen engagement and response to continue. Today, the city relies on new hybrid models to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
The 311 Call and Resolution Center, operated by Buffalo’s Division of Citizen services is a helpline that provides access to city services and information. Traditionally, a dozen call center agents would answer questions and ask for help about streetlights, fixing potholes and more.
“Our 311 Call and resolution center is a main part of our bigger picture - the very fabric of what we do - which is connect directly with the residents of Buffalo and make sure their voices are heard,” says Buffalo Mayor, Byron W. Brown. “Our data and insights, as well as another one of our main initiatives, Clean Sweep, where we go into communities and hear from residents door to door, has really solidified for residents that we are committed to seeing growth, and innovation happen in our city.
Who knew how long the stay-at-home order would last. It was to become the new normal, and the City didn’t take any chances. They immediately phoned in their friends – The University of Buffalo and Cisco.
No stranger to standing up critical infrastructure quickly, the university had the communications solutions needed for remote work and had already scaled their Cisco infrastructure to enable more than 4,000 employees to work remotely. Alliances were formed so the city could replicate these best practices.
On day-one of mandatory stay-at-home, agents were ready and vital city communications continued uninterrupted. Over the next several months, agents found they were answering as many as ten times as many calls as they were pre-pandemic. Concerns changed from basic city infrastructure to needing information about COVID testing and vaccines.
In addition, updated technology and data analytics from 311 now enable other initiatives.
The program connects callers with human services providers to remove trash and graffiti, prune trees, repair streetlights, reduce crime, provide social services, and better strengthen the relationship between the City and the people who call it home.
“Transforming our 311 Call Center program, and leading the Clean Sweep initiative, helped us transform Buffalo into a smart and connected city, building on our commitment to creating and sustaining a smart, effective government that promotes innovation as a way to help improve the quality of life for our residents, and in our neighborhoods,” says Buffalo Director of Citizen Services and Chief Service Officer Oswaldo Mestre explains. “We are humbled to see our work honored at the world stage as model for other Источник: