City of Arlington Expands Action Center Hours

Articles Action Center 01-07-16

The City of Arlington is making it easier for residents to take action and improve their neighborhoods and community by expanding the hours of operation to Saturdays at its Action Center, a one-stop shop for all city-related, non-emergency service and information requests.

Action Center staff will take calls from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays for Animal Services and Code Compliance starting January 9, 2016.

The city employs 17 full-time operators, four who are bilingual, to take calls and route issues to the correct departments from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday. Staff also takes calls for Animal Services only through 6 p.m. each weekday.

Gil Mesa, center manager, said the majority of citizens’ calls are regarding Municipal Court, Code Compliance, Animal Services or Water Customer Service issues. But staff also assists with concerns such as missed trash pick-up, potholes and broken street and traffic lights, ordinance violations, graffiti removal and permits.

Nearly 2,000 citizens dial the Action Center on an average weekday, and the majority of calls are handled in three minutes or less. But some of these calls are abandoned — the term used when a resident hangs up before staff has an opportunity to answer. He said it’s important to find a balance between outstanding customer service and streamlining operations.

“Residents traditionally give us a minute to a minute and 20 seconds until they hang up,” Mesa said. “We are continually working to narrow our response time on the telephone; however, we want to provide quality customer service. Each call traditionally lasts around two or three minutes, but some issues may take longer.”

The City’s “Take Action” campaign focuses on educating Arlington residents about how they can make a difference in the community by contacting the Action Center.

“We want residents to know that it is important to call us first,” Mesa said. “We want to be the central point of contact for key service-oriented operations. Our customer service agents undergo extensive training to ensure each caller receives a courteous, quick and accurate response.”

Residents can call 817-459-6777. When staff is unavailable to answer a call, residents can leave a message through the center’s interactive voice recording which has been streamlined. For example, one call queue has been reduced from well over five minutes to 30 seconds. If the call is received after hours or on weekends, the request will be handled the next working day.

Residents can also submit a request through Twitter via the Action Center’s account @ArlActionCenter or with an online service request through the city’s website. All who submit issues also receive a reference number that allows them to check the status of their existing request.

The City plans to launch a mobile app later this year.