The City of Knoxville’s 311 Center for Service Innovation has won the 2018 Teamwork Award bestowed annually by the Government Contact Services Community of Practice, an organization that promotes networking and the exchange of effective practices among customer-service oriented governmental entities.
“This award is an acknowledgment of our strong relationships with all City departments, the community, and agencies like Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) Office on Aging, KAT, and Emergency Management Agency,” says 311 Director Russ Jensen, who was hired in 2004 to lead and develop the service center department. “We couldn’t support residents with our high level of customer service without supporting each other first.”
Jensen attributes the win to 311’s work assisting victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires that began Nov. 28, 2016. Requests for help and offers to volunteer and donate were quickly channeled through MountainTough.org and East Tennessee 211, a social service helpline funded through United Ways of East Tennessee and staffed by 311 operators. The department coordinated with local, state and federal levels of emergency management agencies to streamline services.
Customer-service agencies at all levels of government are invited to compete for the awards. Last year’s Teamwork winner was the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Logistics Center Customer Service Branch. Winners and other finalists of the Government Customer Support Excellence Awards are selected based upon independent scoring by a panel of judges from both public and private sectors.
Known as Knoxville’s phone number, 311 receives approximately 200,000 calls per year and is one of the most cost-efficient centers in the country. Most calls are regarding dirty and overgrown lots, missed trash pick-ups and abandoned vehicles.
For additional information about 311 and the many services it provides, visit http://KnoxvilleTN.gov/311.