Be Connected: Stories from our employees at the 311 hotline
This week’s story is from the team staffing the City of Boston's 311 Call Center.
The staff behind 311, the Mayor's 24-Hour Hotline, truly embody what it means to be “team players”. They are at the frontline in dealing with resident concerns and constituent services inquiries, and with every call and online exchange being unique, they must serve and satisfy each individual and their needs closely. That’s not an easy job on a typical day, let alone during a pandemic.
As you might guess, their call volume jumped significantly following the onset of COVID-19, as constituents relied on the City of Boston for information on the virus and its symptoms, support for businesses affected by the shutdown, the stay-at-home order, access to essential goods and services, and more. 311 agents stayed informed on a variety of issues, even as the situation changed from moment to moment. They worked extra hours and days to keep up with the volume, and supported the City’s crisis response effort by sharing the concerns and frequently asked questions of residents with all of our departments.
In this especially challenging environment, our 311 agents still treated every caller with compassion, tolerance, and respect. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in people, which in turn makes for particularly difficult calls. 311 managers prioritized the mental health of staff by fostering a safe space for them to share the difficulties they’ve experienced, and tapped the City’s EAP program to lead a workshop on dealing with stress and difficult customers.
“I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of Bostonians that care about the City and its constituents,” said Boston 311 Director, Rocco Corigliano. “Our agents are serving on the frontline every day, working to ensure the people of Boston know the facts, understand the risks, and have access to essential services."