Having spent a few years in a call centre in my early 20’s, I can relate to just how important Mississauga 311’s world is. During a recent visit, I gained a stronger understanding of just how talented, hardworking and passionate the team is in an intricate environment.
Wendy McClymont, Manager of Mississauga 3-1-1, warmly greeted me and immediately noticed a huge “Appreciation Tree” on a large wall inside the front doors, which is constantly growing with compliments from callers. That’s a direct correlation to having several long standing team members through the simple principle of “consistently treat your team well and appreciate them often.”
In a fast paced atmosphere, the low turnover rate is impressive, which speaks volumes to the workplace quality in their nearly 11 years of operation.
There’s an active social committee and a supportive, fun and welcoming work environment. There’s even a “Quiet Room” for staff to utilize when the need to decompress.
“We want this to be a fun work environment. Health and wellness is very important.” says Wendy.
There are nearly 30 full time call center staff, including 3 information specialists, 1 staff analyst, 1 admin person, 21 Customer Service Agents, including 2 team leaders and 3 mobile staff that are full time.
The team utilizes 12 different systems to answer questions from and constantly updating their knowledge database happens nearly daily, which ensures they’re consistently up to date to best serve our community.
Being equipped for an average of 1,000 calls a day requires thorough training, which is about one year. Once a trainee experiences all four seasons, they’re better equipped to provide answers.
Yes, it’s longer than most call centre training but it’s a thorough method to arm the team that’s a crucial city resource.
The team recently earned an overall 91.3% satisfaction rating, which is a massive accomplishment.
“It’s a really big deal for a city our size and we’re happy our citizens are happy. We strive for excellence and want to deliver the ultimate experience. The city trusts us to deliver their messages accurately and consistently so customers are clear with what’s happening in their city. We have a very proud team that strongly believes in customer service and providing information with the least amount of call transfers.” says Wendy.
One of the challenging aspects is that team members must be versed in all areas, knowing what’s in the knowledge base and where to find it through a network of different applications.
From taxes to trees, parking to parades and everything in between, the 311 team has answers.
As we’re quite multicultural, there’s a language interpretive service with over 40 languages. They also attend new comer and outreach events to help increase awareness.
Between the internet and the Pingstreet app (with usage up 50% from last year) folks are increasingly finding answers on their own but as the call volume indicates, sometimes residents simply want to speak with someone for an answer.
Wendy says ‘We’re happy to give residents the choice of how the want to connect with us, whether it’s online or through one of our talented team members on the phone.”
There’s also a TTY line available at 905-896-5151.
Wendy closes with “We care, we help, we do our best to find the answers and resolve the issues. We’re a one stop shop for city information that’s seamless.”
Here’s a fun fact, courtesy of the 3-1-1 team: the longest you’ll ever wait at a traffic light in Mississauga is 3 minutes. Who knew?