HOUSTON (CBS Houston) On Tuesday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker joined the City of Houston’s 311 Help & Info and launched the all-new 311 Smartphone app for mobile devices. The Smartphone app which is the newest addition to 311′s entirely new design, is designed to “maximize citizen engagement”, according to the office of Mayor Parker.
Mayor Parker joyously introduced the app, with the belief that it will ensure timely, structured and pertinent information delivered to Houstonians within the convenience of their mobile device: “I am excited to join 311 today to announce the redesigned 311 Help & Info,” said Mayor Parker. “The old 311 was inefficient and failed to meet Houston’s needs. The new 311 is a completely transformed entity which places focus exactly where it should be; on the customer. Today, Houstonians can reach 311 through a variety of channels that are convenient and easy to use,” Mayor Parker said in a statement.
According to officials with the City of Houston, Houston launched the 311 Houston Service Helpline back in August 2001 as a telephone helpline. “Now, 311 Help & Info users are able to submit service requests via the new Smartphone app, the redesigned website, email or by calling the 24/7 call center. The new 311 system is more flexible, convenient, efficient, and customer-focused than ever in Houston’s history. Additionally, the new 311 empowers citizens to join the City’s effort to improve the community by making it easy for them to report issues that need to be resolved,” added officials from the office of Mayor Parker.
Frank Carmody, overseer of 311 Help & Info sees Tuesday’s launch as one that will propel Houston forward: “I am so proud of where 311 is today and look forward to where it’s going in the future,” We want to hear from Houston’s citizens and we are working to create as many avenues as possible to allow them to communicate with us on their terms: When they want, how they want, and with whom they want, stated Carmody.
In addition to expanded call-center hours and the new Smartphone app, 311′s redesigned website, www.Houston311.org, allows Houstonians the opportunity to easily submit requests for city services online.
“The work that went into building these new customer tools really epitomizes the City’s approach to customer service,” added Mayor Parker. “A cross-functional team comprised of executives from my office, the Public Works & Engineering, Information Technology Services, Planning, and ARA departments worked together with a vendor, SeeClickFix, for months to bring these new services to the public. The result captures how I expect us to serve our citizens: we use one simple, convenient doorway into the City, an effective communication and coordination system, and thousands of workers from many departments are called to action. We can now provide a way for Houstonians to see our follow through. We have created the ability for citizens that fund these services to track where and when the City responded to their request.”
It is the hope of Mayor Parker and city officials that the recent 311 upgrades will improve two-way communications between Houston city officials and Houstonians.
With Tuesday’s landmark advancement, Houston city officials will continue to improve upon the 311 communication systems which include provisions made to SMS texting service requests and website map tracking tools. “Today is really about re-introducing Houstonians to 311 Help & Info,” said Mayor Parker. “This new Smartphone app and newly redesigned website marks the beginning of many upgrades to come. The nature of technology in our society today is to iterate and improve, and the new 311 will not be an exception to that.”