Modern 311: An Interview with Callan Faulkner

With the everchanging challenges in local government, one question consistently stands at the center of these discussions: How can we better serve our citizens?

Check out this recorded webinar, as Callan Faulkner and Lauren Lahm of TechAir discuss how public service agencies can:

  • address long-standing internal operations that lead to service issues
  • become more efficient
  • eliminate time-consuming paper-based tasks?
  • effectively communicate not only with constituents, but also internally among teams and employees?


Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Your webinar is about supporting how local governments reach and serve their communities through 311. Paint a picture of what the future of 311 is: where is everything going? 

Callan Faulkner: For those that don’t know, 311 is the “non-emergency” phone number that citizens can call with a request or problem. For example, if someone locates a pothole, they would call in to let the city know.

Well, as we know, it’s 2018. The modern 311 is anytime, anywhere access to all government services while also providing a simple, transparent, high-quality customer experience. Modern day 311 is the ability for a citizen to go online, take a picture of the pothole, enter the request, that request gets auto-routed to the closest public works employee and an email is sent with a picture of the filled pothole. Then after they’d fill out a survey with their ratings of the experience.

With the rise of technology, citizens expect to engage with government on their phones, on social media, on their website and via email/text/chat. Gone are the days of waiting on hold and walking into city hall to make a request or pay a bill. Government employees can better handle these requests by eliminating paper processes, avoiding duplicate entry and reducing the time to get issues resolved.

And another added bonus: local government can use all of this collected data to their advantage. Cities and mayors everywhere are recognizing the powerful role data can play in bringing more transparency, accountability and efficiency to government.



The modern 311 is anytime, anywhere access

to all government services while also providing a simple,

transparent, high-quality customer experience.



JCH: Knowing that you’re not speaking to technologists, why is understanding the future of 311 important? How can it affect how different justice agencies serve their communities? 

Callan: Technology plays a huge role for Judicial Agencies. For both better citizen experience and optimized operations, agencies could incorporate case management into their system. This would allow for attorneys, judges, clerks, law enforcement personnel to log into a web portal to gain quick access to important case and docket information. Just as a citizen could log in and see past requests, partners of the judicial agency could log in to input witness information and access arrest affidavits.

Here’s an example: Let’s say one of the 311 requests required legal attention because the citizen’s car was damaged while driving over the pothole. Using modern 311, the representative gets a notification on his phone that says there’s a new case in his workload. He can easily see pictures, learn more about the citizen, see where it happened and the details of the case. There’s a task for him to make a phone call. After he makes the call, he can add notes to the case, verify the resolution details and close out the case. The citizen would get a text or an email with the details. If he needed more information, the citizen could go online to upload another picture, add a document or make a signature.



When employees have the tools they need,

everyone benefits.

Employees feel empowered to do their jobs

and citizens are given the highest level of service possible!



JCH: But this technology won’t just help the community… Your webinar includes that this type of technology helps to empower EMPLOYEES as well. Expand on that? 

Callan: Most government agencies are operating with so many inefficiencies. Think about the amount of paper, duplicate entry, and all of the internal applications that don’t talk to each other. Employees are bogged down with emails, excel documents, paper files and manual processes.

Modern 311 allows for…

  • Better collaboration between employees. The centralized database can be integrated with other departments such as public works, legal, police dept. etc. so everyone can work together to get these requests resolved (without having that long email chain!).
    • For example- instead of the phone call to the field employee to service a request, we can just send a notification to their phone or tablet with all the details of the request. While in the field, they can complete the request and auto-email the citizen with the closure details.
  • Less manual work because of the ability to auto-route requests, escalate to managers, send communications to citizens, track documents
  • Faster case resolution by using all of this data to establish a powerful knowledge base of information so agents can locate answers quickly and efficiently
  • Real-time insight into performance, request
  • One-click case creation. Forget the 20-minute phone call and 10 minutes of case creation by a 311 agent. By having multi-channel request intake (i.e. online, email, social media, chat), citizens can input their own requests. Agents cut down on phone time and manual entry.

When employees have the tools they need, everyone benefits. Employees feel empowered to do their jobs and citizens are given the highest level of service possible!


JCH: A large number of our readers and subscribers are in law enforcement, but we have representation from all parts of the justice arena. Can you share some specifics of what different types of justice professionals or first responders will gain by attending your webinar? What skills or new knowledge will they gain that they can immediately use the next day on the job?

Callan: One of the biggest challenges governments face is the cultural attitude that must shift in order to make room for modernization. In other words, by attending this webinar, you are putting yourself in a position to be a part of the “innovation team.” This team is critical to making transformation in government. This team needs to see what’s out there, understand and test new technologies to ultimately improve the services of their municipality. There has to be a culture change for technology to be embraced.

By attending this webinar, you will see why technology is going to play such a massive role in government and how it’s going to improve your day-to-day job and the citizen’s experience. The manual, paper-based processes will eventually go away. The Excel documents that are passed around each week, those will be automated. The requests to IT to pull a report, let’s do it ourselves!

We can use technology to make your job less time consuming which gives you the ability to make your service better by looking at trends and improving overall citizen sentiment. Modern 311 is here, come and see why it’s so important to embrace.


Click to Watch “Modern 311: Engage Citizens, Empower Employees.”



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