Alexandria launched a new customer service initiative called “Call.Click.Connect.” on Monday designed to help the city respond more efficiently to requests for information and services from residents and the public.
At the base of the initiative is a new online system that can be used to enter, track and resolve service requests for reporting things like potholes and filing complaints about trash service.
Residents can search for their service request by keyword, category or department on the city’s website. They will be asked to enter the location of a pothole or incident, verify its location, describe the request and enter contact information.
Users will then receive verification that their request was recorded with an estimated response time. They will also be able to check on the status of their requests with a ticket number.
To access the new system, citizens can click on the new “Call.Click.Connect.” link near the top-right corner of the city’s website.
Residents can also now call the city’s staffed contact center at 703-746-HELP for all customer requests and inquiries. In the past, residents may have been shuffled to multiple departments before getting to the person or information that they needed.
Mayor Bill Euille said oftentimes he and other council members would receive requests from citizens and then ask the appropriate member of city staff to address the issue.
“Officials used to have to follow up,” Euille said. “We don’t have to do that anymore.”
Euille said he looked at several customer service initiatives in other municipalities in recent years, including the 311 system that was introduced in Baltimore when Gov. Martin O’Malley was mayor of the city.
“Not only as mayor but as a longtime citizen, I have been an advocate for many years that we have the latest technologies available [to respond to citizens],” Euille said.
City Manager Rashad Young said the system is similar to a one-number hotline that became available in Greensboro, N.C., when he worked as that city’s manager. He told Patch “Call.Click.Connect.” is “just the tip of the iceberg.”
“We’re going to start with this and then simplify,” Young said. “We’re going to hopefully build up a robust database.”
The city will be able to track and document information on service requests to improve delivery and make better-informed policy decisions, Young said.