DALLAS, Texas -- In June, the city completed installation of the first phase of a new $5 million Customer Service Request (CSR) system, from Motorola, designed to automate and enhance the city's 311 non-emergency call center operations. Dallas personnel can receive citizen requests wirelessly, even while traveling outside the office in a city vehicle. Dispatchers can send information wirelessly to city code inspectors.

"There is a constant need to become more efficient in serving residents," said Ramon Miguez, assistant city manager. "Now, when a citizen submits a request by calling the city's 311 center or over the Internet, the new system will transmit those requests instantly to our inspectors out in the field and other work crews."

The system also reduces the need for work crews to make return trips to pick up new assignments. Calls are automatically routed to the appropriate department where the activity is tracked, escalated for more immediate attention, if necessary, and entered into a central database. The request is then wirelessly transmitted ot the field by dispatchers using Motorola's mobile workstations. Customers get a service request number and an anticipated response time.

"This system also serves as an extra check for everyone involved in serving the citizens of Dallas," Miguez said. "When deadlines for certain tasks aren't met, the CSR system automatically reminds personnel assigned to those tasks that action is needed."

The city can also track data that includes the nature of the problem, location, caller, time of day, which department responded and length of response time.

The system's first phase is focused on the city's Code Compliance, Dallas Water Utilities, Public Works and Transportation, Sanitation Services and Street Serivces departments, because they receive nearly 75 percent of citizens' requests for assistance. More than 700 city employees in 33 departments are on the system.

"CSR is unique in that it enables each department to configure its own service request rules and processes," said Bruse Meeks, assistant director of Communication and Information Services.

In the next phase of the project, the city plans to add two-way pagers for field personnel and to expand the system with modules to enhance capabilities in case management, permits and inspections and licensing.