Tulsa’s ‘Customer Care’ Could See Relief With New App, Phone Service

Thursday, May 26th 2016, 8:11 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The City of Tulsa plans to revamp a Customer Care line, where now one out of four callers simply hangs up instead of waiting for someone to answer.

The city's call center is short staffed, but help is coming with an app.

Things like pothole reporting can soon be done with a smartphone that sends the information right to the people who need to know.

People call into the Customer Care at the City of Tulsa 600,000 times a year. The problems range from water leaks to trash bills and code violations - but the biggest problem can be just getting through.

While the department has 36 spots for call takers, 11 seats are empty - and with a hiring freeze, they can't hire more.

The city council is working on the budget, so they could be hiring soon.

Meanwhile, relief might come through a new 311 phone number and the launch of a mobile app for Customer Care.

"And they don't have to look up other numbers to know which department they need to go to. If they have a question about city services, they can simply call 311," said Michael Radoff with Customer Care.

The 311 service and the app will handle almost anything short of 911 when it comes to contacting the city.

Radoff said, “We'll be building more service orders and more ways to make it easier for citizens to process those. They'll be one option on the handheld device that just says "other" if you don't know what you're looking for, and we'll monitor the volume of the others that come in and come up with options to meet the needs of the other categories.”

The city has 211 for social services and 911 for emergencies, but the new 311 system will start sometime in July.