A Christmas gift led to a brainstorm for Matthew Maez, digital engagement manager for the City of Albuquerque.
When Maez received an Alexa smart speaker from his brother, he used it to order pizza. If it’s that easy to order pizza, he thought, the city should make it just as easy for residents to report problems or ask questions. Maez brought the device to the office and explained the vision to city leadership. They were on board. Soon after, Albuquerque residents were able to use Alexa to get access to city services by voice, via the city’s 311 community call center.
Residents of Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, use the 311 community call center to request information or report problems to city government, such as graffiti for cleanup, potholes to be filled, or a missed trash pickup. Far beyond voice access, Albuquerque officials had big plans to improve 311 service, such as 24/7 availability, connections to multiple departments in the city, and access to state and federal government information sources. Albuquerque also wanted to move beyond phone connectivity and let residents contact Albuquerque through whatever channels they prefer, including the web and mobile apps.
Albuquerque needed to replace a heavily customized, cumbersome 311 system, built using an on-premises system that just couldn’t deliver on Albuquerque’s future vision.
We strive to be good stewards of our community’s tax dollars. Oracle Service helps us deliver a top-notch customer experience that’s worthy of the top-notch effort residents put in to earn those dollars.
Why the City of Albuquerque Chose Oracle
Albuquerque chose Oracle Service as the new call center foundation for its 311 system. Oracle Service delivered on Albuquerque’s key requirement for omnichannel connectivity—over phone, web, mobile, and automated voice channels. The city also sees Oracle as a trusted partner, because prior to the 311 upgrade, the city already used Oracle extensively throughout its government. The city values Oracle’s ability to connect front- and back-office systems, integrating the entire government.
The more than 50 agents working at the City of Albuquerque’s contact center receive nearly 2 million phone calls, and the department website receives 14 million hits annually. Oracle Service helps those agents effectively answer those queries. By letting residents get basic queries answered via digital channels instead of phone lines, the system gives agents more time to help residents resolve complicated issues.
The city expanded its 311 community call center service availability beyond business hours, to offer 24/7 connectivity through automated response functions via the web, mobile apps, and voice assistants using Oracle Service, providing information from all city departments as well as state and federal governments.
Oracle Service now provides a hub for the different city departments that residents can interact with, connecting them to Albuquerque’s work order management system and line of business applications. The Oracle application allows the city to track issues and be more responsive to resident needs. Residents are able to access 311 services to report a problem—such as a pothole—as soon as they see it by making a request with online forms powered by Oracle Intelligent Advisor.
Also, Oracle Service automation eliminates a common call-center annoyance: being transferred between operators and repeatedly restating the problem. The Oracle application maintains a history of each interaction, and that context carries forward if the first agent can’t answer a question and has to hand the resident off to another person for specialized assistance.
Albuquerque’s voice capability was the first time a city had used Oracle Service for that purpose. Albuquerque and Oracle co-developed the solution. While other cities were using voice assistants to provide information such as department phone numbers or instructions on how to renew a hunting license, Albuquerque let residents use a voice assistant to request services such as a trash pickup. The voice channel is also convenient for residents with disabilities, such as the visually impaired.
Albuquerque’s 311 digital voice integration won the city a Smart Cities North America Award from research firm IDC in 2020, along with awards from the Center for Digital Government, which named Albuquerque more than once in its top 10 rankings for US digital cities, in the category of cities with populations 500,000 or greater.
The City of Albuquerque continues to innovate, recently investing in Oracle Knowledge Advanced to allow the 311 service to deliver both internal and external information across multiple channels, and Oracle Digital Assistant to provide a multilingual conversational interface with automated service delivered over chat.