Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone recently announced that the Suffolk 311 Call Center has handled nearly 70,000 constituent calls during its first year of operation. Additionally, since March 9, Suffolk311 has received more than 47,000 calls from residents, with an average of 20,000 calls per month. On May 12 alone, call center operators answered 1,504 calls, the highest volume in a single day.
“This crisis has changed our daily lives in ways we could have never imagined, leaving our residents with a number of questions and concerns as we work to navigate this pandemic,” said Bellone. “Suffolk 311 has been and will continue to be a vital resource for our residents, serving as a one-stop-shop to get their questions answered and needs met in a timely and convenient fashion.”
From the onset of the outbreak, Suffolk County increased staffing for the 311 call center and expanded its hours of operations so residents can be connect to a live operator 24/7. Call center operators have fielded a variety of questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including requests for face coverings, requests for letters to be released from isolation or quarantine, questions regarding symptoms, and guidance for small businesses.
In addition to COVID-19-related inquires, the 311 system is currently configured to directly accept, route and report on service requests for Constituent Affairs, Public Works, Parks Department, Health Services and Social Services.
By dialing 311 or 631-853-6311 from within the Town of Babylon or outside Suffolk County, residents are able to speak with a trained call operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Suffolk311, which was launched last spring, is designed to improve residents’ interactions and overall experience with county government. In addition to connecting residents to the government that serves them, the system is a premier management tool, which will help officials to better allocate resources and taxpayer dollars. The system captures critical details on each call, question, or request, allowing the county to gather valuable insight into the issues communities across the county are facing in real-time.
The system also improves public safety by reducing the burden on 911 county emergency call centers that receive tens of thousands of non-emergency calls each year. The 311-call center allows emergency call centers to be better positioned to respond to true emergencies.