City of GR Considers 3-1-1 Number for Non-Emergencies E-mail
The City of Grand Rapids is toying with the idea of consolidating the 200+ different City department phone numbers into one: a 3-1-1 Customer Service Center number that would allow citizens to report a service need, pay a bill or ask for information in one place. Full press release:

The City of Grand Rapids is considering a new way for citizens to get in touch with the City. With nearly 200 phone numbers published for citizens to reach the City, it can seem nearly impossible to reach the right department to get things done. A consolidated one-stop 3-1-1 Customer Service Center for all non-emergency needs is being considered.

The City would have two (2) primary phone numbers, 9-1-1 for emergencies and 3-1-1 for non- emergencies. By dialing 3-1-1 from anywhere in the City service area, a citizen will be able to report a service need, pay a bill, or ask for information, do everything you can do today - except easier. With every phone call managed - monitored, tracked, and reported to ensure a high level of customer service.

The City is evaluating the possibility of a 3-1-1 approach but first wants to fully understand the expenses associated in creating and operating, but also evaluating if centralization of customer service would provide savings to the City with improved service.

Comparable cities by population (Little Rock-Arkansas, Fort Wayne-Indiana, Akron-Ohio, and larger cities like Chicago and Philadelphia) to Grand Rapids have seen successfully implemented 3-1-1 response lines. 3-1-1 improves accessibility to non-emergency city services and information and increases the city's effectiveness in responding to public inquiries. It is anticipated that 3-1-1 will continue the City's efforts to empowers citizens and allow City operations to be more efficient.

In announcing the 3-1-1 customer service initiative, Mayor George K. Heartwell said, "establishing a 3-1-1 system is one of the most transformational changes that our organization will undertake. I'm elated about the possibility of the City having two primary phone numbers, 9-1-1 for emergencies and a new 3-1-1 for non-emergencies."

Published January 25, 2012
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