City Hall Blog (archived)

Finance, Police departments improve productivity and customer service


In November, two departments were named winners of the 2013 Productivity Improvement Award. Although this award typically goes to a single department or workgroup, equally significant enhancements by the Finance and Police departments were both deserving of recognition this year.
Pictured left to right: Police coworkers Beth Canipe, Barbara Wilke, and Wendell Rummage with Finance coworkers Tammy Linn and Ann Baldwin.
The Productivity Improvement Award is given annually to departments, divisions, or work teams who demonstrate significant improvements or efforts in performance or productivity over the given year. Winning efforts typically result in staff time or work saved, processes streamlined, and dollars saved.
The Finance Department's Customer Service team, led by Finance Director Pam Hinson and Customer Service Manager Tammy Linn, implemented several strategies to better serve customers calling into the Customer Care Center (704-920-5555). The team's focus has shifted to maximizing the customer experience and fully meeting their needs rather than minimizing the amount of time for each call.
Many improvements were technical, such as expanding phone system capacity, improving automated greetings, and adding music and queue status updates for customers on hold. Customers also now have an option to quickly opt out of speaking with a representative if they prefer to use the Customer Care Center's automated features, which reduces wait times. Flexibility and cross-training has improved the walk-in and phone-based representatives' ability to absorb high customer volumes. A major effort has included addressing as many customer needs as possible without transferring to other coworkers.
The Police Department's Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU), led by Chief Guy Smith and Major Wendell Rummage, was launched in December 2010 to assist customers when a response from an officer is not required. Two non-sworn positions take certain reports and help keep sworn officers' time directed towards hot spots and solving neighborhood problems that impact quality of life. The TRU took twelve percent of all calls for service in fiscal year 2012, and thirteen percent in fiscal year 2013.
These figures correspond closely to the twelve percent increase in problem solving projects opened by officers between fiscal years 2011 and 2013. The increase is one indicator of officers having more uncommitted time in the field—helping resources go further.
Congratulations to both of these teams who have made substantial gains in productivity and customer service.