MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Stray dog? Complaints about trash pick-up or water service? Who do you call? In Memphis the answer is 311. The new number is supposed to simplify City services.
Previously there were 21 different call centers in the City of Memphis, none connected to each other, or necessarily familiar with the purpose of the others. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced Wednesday, "With 311 citizens are provided quick and easy access to government services information and we have reduced the number of points of contact they have to go through."
Wharton unveiled the new call center with a dozen operators cross-trained in every area of the City. "It comes out to a much more efficient way and responsive way to handle these calls," Wharton says, "It is also a cost saving mechanism."
The state of Tennessee launched the 211 system a few years ago. That number assists residents in finding health and human services information. 211 is used mainly for community information and referral services. A spokesperson says 311 is different; it provides Memphis citizens with access to submit requests and complaints, as well as to receive information for city services. That can now also be done on the city's brand new, user-friendly website.
The Mayor will also have up to the minute updates on how every complaint is getting handled. "Where are we getting the most complaints? And I can have that with a click of a mouse," Wharton explains, "At my desk I will be able to see who's up, who's down, who's on time, which streets are having the most potholes."
311 is looking for a bilingual operator. The call center is manned Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.