Reducing 311 service request wait times for Sacramento residents

Virtual agents help residents access public services with Sacramento 311


The City of Sacramento wanted to reduce wait times for residents contacting its 311 service, so it selected Egen to implement virtual agents that improved the caller experience.

The Sacramento 311 service gives callers a way to report issues and submit government service requests for building permits, stray animals, utility services, and much more. The 311 service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, handling approximately 1,500 non-emergency service requests from Sacramento residents.

The high volume of calls continued growing over the years, and limited staffing meant that callers sometimes experienced long wait times, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction with the service.

The city wanted a complete renovation of 311, including an introduction of an artificial intelligence solution with virtual agents that could reduce the workload on human agents. Sacramento chose Egen to scale 311 and simplify the complex by setting up the new virtual agents.

As part of the Virtual Agent solution, Egen created seamless, end-to-end integration between Google Cloud Dialogflow, Cisco IVR, Salesforce, and GIS systems that provided instant engagement and context-aware support to 311 callers.

Our goal with this project was to try AI-based solutions to solve real world problems and provide better customer service to our citizens. We see this project as the beginning of using and integrating AI & ML technologies to transform the business process at the city.”
Mrudul Sadanandan, IT Manager – Enterprise Applications, City of Sacramento

With Google Cloud Dialogflow, Egen enabled virtual agent interaction with callers. Using GIS integration, the virtual agents can confirm callers’ intended service address and redirect calls not serviced by the city to other local agencies as needed.

Egen set up the virtual agents to keep human agents in the loop for ensuring high-quality service, too. The virtual agents can use Cisco IVR to transfer calls and conversation data to human agents when needed to help complete service requests.

To add more detail to caller case data, Egen integrated the virtual agents with Salesforce and GIS systems for contact creation and verification, address validation, and address suggestions to streamline how callers are directed through 311. By verifying each caller’s’ service address and intent, the virtual agents reduce the overall call time and connect callers to the most qualified human agent available at that moment.

The Egen team also captured performance metrics for the city on virtual agent call volume, handling time, and effectiveness in Google Cloud BigQuery, then visualized these key performance indicators in Data Studio. With this data, the city is equipped to continuously train and improve the virtual agents. 

Within the first month of going live, the virtual agents performed better than human agents by handling more calls per day. Now, the City of Sacramento is equipped with an intelligent, scalable solution so 311 callers can enjoy shorter wait times and faster service responses.

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