In May I had the wonderful opportunity to present Open311 at the annual conference for the Association of Government Contact Center Professionals. This group can be thought of almost like a government equivalent of an industry association for contact centers. While the majority of those who attended were involved with 311 call centers, the AGCCP as a whole includes those involved with 911 emergency services as well as 211 human services hotlines, but it’s not even limited to call centers. There’s clearly an increasing focus on newer and more diverse channels to connect people with government. The membership makeup is primarily focused on the city level, but the association is also open to those involved with state and federal contact centers. I think this kind of broad inclusion represents a great opportunity to facilitate cross-pollination and collaboration between contact centers and different solutions much like we’ve started to see with the emerging ecosystem around Open311.
This event was also a very useful opportunity for me to start shaping a presentation of Open311 to an audience that already has an intimate familiarity with 311-like services, but has less familiarity with technology. In all honesty, this is exactly the audience that Open311 needs to engage with, but is largely the opposite of the audiences I’ve presented to in the past where there tends to be a common understanding of technology, but less of an understanding of the dynamics and challenges of facilitating interactions with government. Over the years my Open311 presentations have gradually evolved as the the effort and the community has progressed and while this presentation builds on an existing slide deck, I made significant efforts to break down concepts and take a less technical approach. In general, the presentation was well received by the folks at the AGCCP and throughout the conference I was surprised to learn how many cities were actively aware of Open311 and were making significant strides to work with it. That said, I know a lot more is needed to help convey the concepts and the value proposition behind Open311 in a way that doesn’t assume an understanding of technology or even an understanding of government contact centers.
I would love to ultimately develop a compelling story to tell mayors in the towns and cities around the world that have never had a government contact center. We need a presentation of the concepts, potential, and real world examples of Open311 that can give civic leaders a rich understanding of what this means both in terms of service delivery and civic engagement. We need a message that will inspire them to leverage this community and its emerging technologies and even leapfrog many of the costs and challenges associated with traditional contact center operations.
There was a video recording of my presentation at the AGCCP which should be made available within the next few weeks and I will update this post when that is ready. In the meantime, I leave you with the slide deck that was used and welcome any thoughts and feedback on how to convey the value and potential of Open311 to civic leaders of all backgrounds.