A Day in the Life of a Philly311 Agent

Being an agent at Philly311 isn’t easy. These agents are the contact points for Philadelphia’s 1.5 million residents. The contact center receives over 1.2 million calls each year. While most Philadelphians have called Philly311 for one reason or another, chances are they’ve never wondered about the voice on the other end of the phone.  Who is it? What happens after a request is made? What does an average day consist of?

Philly311’s Angela Johnson gave us a look at the day in the life of a Philly311 agent.

7:50am-8:00am: Walk into the City Hall contact center, put away your things and walk to your desk. You need to prepare. This entails first logging-in to the computer and phone systems and then logging-in to both the Philly311 and Licenses and Inspections knowledge base systems. Next open up Google Chrome to be ready for the most frequent calls. Open a tab for the Office of Property Assessment’s website then go to the Department of Licenses and Inspections website. Open up a tab for City Maps and tab for FTS (the City’s Telemanagement system). Now wait. The first call’s coming.

8:01am-8:05am: It’s the first call. Because it’s summer, there is a good chance this call has to do with a maintenance issue. The caller’s neighbor haven’t properly disposed of their trash in weeks; it’s taking up their entire lawn. Open up the License and Inspections’ knowledge base system and check the specific address. Is there already a complaint filed for this address? Is this property occupied or is it vacant? All of these questions require different actions. If the address is occupied and there is no prior complaint, enter a service request for an inspector to visit the address. The inspector has 30 days to visit the address and determine an outcome.

8:05am-1:30pm: It’s fairly busy so the first half of the day consists of over 50 calls. These calls run the gamut between request for court information (requiring you to look up a court number or a courtroom); to requests for an elected official’s contact information (requiring you to use FTS or the directory on Phila.gov); to questions about the status of a license (you’ll use the License and Inspections knowledge base for this); to emergency situations such as a water main break (requiring you to call the Water Department’s emergency services).

1:30pm-2:00pm: Lunch. Grab something to eat anywhere in center city or eat your own food in Philly311’s kitchen and break area.

2:00-3:30: Cover shift breaks in the Philly311 Walk-in Center. Most of these requests mirror the phone requests. There may be some foot traffic for citizens looking for specific rooms in City Hall. Some citizens might want to look up specific police records. (You’ll point them across the hall to the Records Department) Others might want to use the three computers to look-up and apply for City jobs.

3:45pm: Break. (This is probably your second non-lunch break of the day)

4:00pm: Head home unless you’re working a longer shift. Pat yourself on the back for helping the citizens of Philadelphia and prepare for another day of public service.


Philly311’s Angela Johnson

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