Just over a year ago, Orem brought together a number of its services to one central 311 help center. More than 70,000 phone calls later, leaders are calling it a success.

“The biggest accomplishment is the employee team that came from all areas (in city departments) and transferred their knowledge to others,” said Kathy Phipps, city treasurer and help center director.

Phipps said the 311 help center is designed to take care of any residents concerns. While it is a high stress and emotion-filled job, Phipps is proud to say there has be zero turnover.

“They are there for each other,” Phipps said.

Most residents may not be aware of all of the services offered in one location at the south end of the city building.

The help center provides passport applications, business licenses, finger printing for employment, utility bill payments, they handle the public works dispatch, dog licenses, general questions and more.

“The average problem is resolved in less than a day,” said Pete Wolfley, communications and innovations manager. “They have given 2,300 answers on the website without having to call.”

Liz Payne, a help center communication agent, left a law firm to come to the help center in its beginning and as it was transitioning into a one-stop shop location.

“It’s a very unified team,” Payne said. “It's a pleasure to know what’s going on with the city.”

Payne said, for instance, they process 24,000 utility bills each month.

“We are improving the quality of the service residents are getting,” Phipps said.

Of the 10 employees that work in the help center, a number of them are bilingual and help those speaking Spanish on a daily basis.

Wolfley said the city is continuing to improve the help center by adding new technology.

The city is working with the help center to in the near future take Alexa commands, and texts, according Wolfley.

They are also continuing to improve mobile phone services and are making online improvements.

Residents may also call after hours. “Someone still takes the call but the concern is handled the next day,” Wolfley said.

Residents who would like to know more or connect through chat online with the 311 help center should visit https://orem.org/help.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter


A 32-year veteran of covering news in Utah County, Genelle covers Provo, Orem, Faith/Religion, including the LDS Church and general assignments.

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