City reports on the success of 311 Toronto in the first month

In the first month of operation, 311 Toronto has proven to be a reliable resource for Torontonians seeking information about City services. 311 Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) answered 68,000 calls during the first month of operation. The majority of calls were for general information, while 20 per cent of calls resulted in the creation of a service request. The majority of service requests were for Solid Waste (57%), followed by Toronto Water (27%) and Transportation Services (16%).

On average, the daily wait time for calls to be answered was 60 seconds, with 83 per cent of all calls answered in less than two minutes and an average call length of 216 seconds. During the first month, 311 Toronto responded to 3,729 e-mails.

In the first month, 269 callers required the assistance of interpretation services. 311 Toronto can provide service in more than 180 languages through telephone interpretation. While the most requested languages were Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese, 311 Toronto also provided service to customers in less common languages like Tagalog and Singhalese.

The 311 contact centre saw an increase in calls immediately after residents started receiving copies of the City’s newsletter, Our Toronto. This newsletter is mailed to all households in Toronto and features valuable information about the City’s programs and services, and encourages readers to contact 311 Toronto for more information.

Perhaps it’s the time of year, but the unusual calls received by 311 Toronto in the first month seem to have a Halloween-like theme. For example, there were calls asking how to get rid of a large spider in the house, a flying bat and even what one caller thought was a scorpion between her bedroom windows. Although these are not the kinds of questions 311 Toronto was set up to respond to, the City’s customer service representatives handled them with their usual professionalism and resourcefulness.

One caller asked who cleans up after the Police horses. While an unusual question, 311 Toronto had the answer – if it doesn’t wash away naturally, the City’s Transportation Services staff clean up after them.

Residents, businesses and visitors can call 311 to access non-emergency City services and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Early in 2010, 311 will expand to include self-service on the City’s website (toronto.ca/311).