Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

City of San Antonio Leverages Customer Mobile and Open311 Cloud Framework to Mobilize Citizen-Centric Government

November 20, 2014

Customer engagement covers a lot of ground since customers are not only those of enterprises but governments as well. This is under-scored with the recent announcement that KANA Software, a Verint company, has its Customer Mobile application and Open311 cloud infrastructure combination being used effectively by the City of  San Antonio, Texas to help residents access information and request city services from their mobile devices anytime, anywhere.

As KANA notes, San Antonio is the first U.S. government entity to leverage the Customer Mobile and Open311 cloud framework from KANA to support the integration of mobile as a 311 services channel.

For those who are not residents of the U.S., 311 has been set aside as the number for people to call their local municipalities for information and non-emergency services. 

As a result of the deployment of the KANA solutions, San Antonio citizens can now self-report various issues—such as potholes, graffiti, traffic signal/sign maintenance, animal-related matters and trash/code concerns—from a variety of smartphones and other devices. These reports are then logged into the city’s KANA-supported 311 system and automatically routed to relevant city departments. This means citizens who have the 311 app can connect with government resources in near-real time enabling faster times to resolution of problems. Plus, the user can attach photos, identify a location and check the status of a report, again speeding up resolution.

The free San Antonio 311 app, available for Apple and Android mobile devices can be downloaded at, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android devices.  Given, the large Hispanic population, San Antonio plans to offer a Spanish-language version of the app later this year.

This is not a small endeavor.  San Antonio has a population of more than 1.3 million citizens, and adding mobile the 311 system, which has been in place since April 2000, is a significant enhancement for a contact center that already handles nearly one million calls annually.

“The city’s new San Antonio 311 app is a valuable and convenient resource that residents can use to connect and request services and be actively involved in their community,” says Paula Stallcup, assistant director of the city’s Communications and Public Affairs Department. “This is a great addition to the various online resources currently available to residents. San Antonio continues to make improvements to increase access and transparency for city services and the new technological methods by which citizens are engaged with the community.”

“Enabling citizens to report issues in a manner that’s easy and hassle-free, using their preferred channel of communication—such as a smartphone—really brings customer service to the citizen,” adds Steve Carter, senior director of public service accounts for KANA. “Our Mobile application and Open311 framework allow government agencies to extend their customer service offerings for self-service to their citizens without having to increase 311 call center staff. We’re pleased to support the city of San Antonio in its efforts to achieve improved efficiency of service delivery and transparency, and help it continue to build on the high levels of customer satisfaction it has achieved with its 311 operations.”

Government tends to be considered a technologic backwater. However, not just for public safety reasons but also quality of life ones, governments are increasingly upgrading their technology so improving the customer experience, particularly via personal devices, has become a priority. In fact, mobile apps as seen as important “infostructure” as local governments seek new ways to deliver better service at a lower cost while providing truly actionable insights to help make communities safer and more desirable places to live.

Customer Mobile from KANA is a cloud-based solution. The service is hosted by KANA in the cloud via the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, eliminating the need for capital expenditure on hardware or software. As referenced above, the mobile reporting capability incorporates photos, GIS locations and specific attributes of the issue. Reports can be passed directly through to service delivery teams without employees needing to re-key them.

One of the big attractions here is not just the reporting of issues by residents, but the transparency. Interactions are two-way streets and providing citizens with the ability to track what is going on with their issue is huge in terms of creating not just better government service delivery but good will. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle