The 411 on (368) 3111: Topeka's Call Center

#topekatweetalong Tuesday shadowed one of our call center reps. We learned how to deal with irate callers and the City can't help with caterpillar poop.

  1. Quick did you know for background: Our call center, 368-3111, takes e311 requests, like potholes and tree limbs, but mostly handles water service issues. Starting new service, taking payments and, unfortunately, shut offs for overdue bills.
  2. As you would expect, answering calls from Topekans who have had their water turned off can come with some terrible interactions.
  3. But it also leads to some pretty great stories, so I thought we'd start with those.
  4. These questions come courtesy of @CoryZipperle -- so I can't take any credit.

  5. 1. Most ridiculous call: Caterpillar Poop.

  6. 2. Conspiracy theories:
  7. Here's another one fielded by supervisor Scott Ives: "Made up fines"
  8. The $32 charge delinquency charge is assessed only when the water will be shut off, and we have to send a truck out there to do it. There's also a $24 restart fee to send the truck out again.

  9. 3. Most common call: Paying water bills.
  10. Outside of that? Potholes.

  11. Now, to abusive callers.
  12. Ashleigh Meredith, who has been with the call center for four years, had a lot to share about abusive callers.
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