Majority unsatisfied with city customer service


Only 47 percent are satisfied with overall city customer service, but officials are working on it.

They hope to get that up to 52 percent by December 2015, they reported Tuesday to the mayor and city manager.

There are positive signs. Satisfaction with the 311 call center went from 49 percent in fiscal year 2010 to 61 percent so far this year.

Far fewer people are hanging up in frustration after long phone waits, but how many depends on the day.

The so-called abandonment rate is highest on Monday at 18 percent because so many people call about municipal court dates, officials said.

A pricy new court system allows people to check their cases by computer but they have to know the case number. Many people do not so they call to get it.

The city is working on the problem, officials said.

Another big source of overall discontent is crumbling sidewalks, said City Manager Troy Schulte.

But that problem is so big that it would bust the city budget.

“It’s going to be tough to move sidewalks higher because the expectation is the city is going to fix sidewalks and we have to tell them, by the way, you’re paying the bill,” he said.

Survey data for who is satisfied or not is also interesting.

Among those most likely to be satisfied are women age 65 or older who live in the east side’s third district. They have lived in the city 50 or more years, have an income less than $30,000, visit community centers and attend public meetings.

Among those most likely to be dissatisfied are men age 18 to 44 who have lived in the city from 20 to 29 years, been victims of crime, had contact with municipal court, or visited KCI airport.

In a throw to the controversy over possibly replacing KCI, Schulte noted that people might think all citizens love the old airport, but “this seems to suggest they don’t.”

He and officials noted staff training efforts and more to improve customer satisfaction and to improve internal culture.

For instance, the water department has made major strides and prompts far fewer complaints.

Two years ago, Schulte said, that department had 3,600 open cases pending on replacing pipes and  it now has 82.

While it once took the parks department more than a year for tree removal, he said, now it can happen in a day.

More people are also using 311 to report problems. In 2007, 25 percent of those surveyed said they had made a call within a year. So far this year, that number is 55 percent.

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