3-1-1 Call Takers Hear It All

February 2, 2018
By

If you’ve got comment, complaint or concern in Revere, there’s only one number that you need to call — 311. Waiting on the other end are two guys who are tapped into a network of information.

This system is not for 911 emergency calls, but for calls from the community for service.

Allan Fitzmaurice and Randall Monestin are the calm, cool and collected employees waiting to take any call and help solve just about anything from the 311 Constituent Service Center.

The 311 program was launched in mid-October under the direction of Mayor Brian Arrigo and Reuben Kantor, director of Innovation and management. The hub of the center is on the second floor of City Hall. Looming over the call-takers is a 55-inch screen that shows a map of the city and other data that they use to track calls.

Callers can tap in a couple of ways, by dialing 311, or going to the city website or even using an app (Revere311) on a smartphone.

On average the center gets about 65 call a day, mostly on trash and recycling days, but some for the Department of Public Works calls with requests to fill potholes. In addition, the 311 department has over 500 frequently asked questions available for internet users.

“These two city employees have so much customer service background that people actually call back and thank them,” Kantor said.

There are also numerous calls that are transferred to the city Health Department and Building Department, two of the busiest departments in the city.

“We’ve become pretty knowledgeable about the city,” said Fitzmaurice, who has a background in radio and television. “We also meet with department heads on a regular basis.”

The job of a call taker is in no way boring, rather they are kept on their toes, like during the storm we had back in January. The day of the storm call takers worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

One call that came in during the storm was from a woman looking for a fax machine to use. Fitzmaurice said she began the conversation complaining how Staples was no longer in Revere at Wonderland Plaza and she wanted to know where she could go in the city for a fax machine.

Another storm call came in from someone with a sick dog. The call takers directed the owner to Angel Memorial Hospital.

The storm also allowed to call takers to operate a pilot program where GPS is used to track the plows on Revere streets.

“We could check, contact the DPW and check in with the contracted plows,” explained Monestin, who has an aviation background and used to run Terminal E at Logan Airport.

During the storm they had 170 calls for plow requests, with streets that had not been plowed, the streets that we down to pavement and others complaining about getting plowed in.

Trash pick-up is a big question during storms, but Monestin said. Capital Waste does pick up during storms. So get you’re trash out. They didn’t forget you, like numerous callers often said.

Other interesting calls have been about finding the right Dominos location and why the water at a certain laundromat is not hot enough. “Department heads like this new service because it frees up staff time and it’s more efficient. It’s not about cost savings we want to be more efficient,” said Arrigo.

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