The City of Claremore will be moving this week to an automated phone system.
Citizens will not longer be greeted by a receptionist, but will have a number of options to choose from when calling city departments.
“We hope that you will find our new automated system gets you to the person you want to talk with faster and with fewer transfers. As with any new technology, we anticipate that there may be kinks in the system in the beginning. Thank you for your patience as we work to improve this service,” Claremore Executive Officer Cassie Woods said.
In order to provide more efficient customer service to our citizens, the city will transition to a new phone system, according to Woods.
The new phones will operate under a Shoretel System which is an automated system where the caller will have the opportunity to listen to several options and choose the one which best suits them.
City officials plan to roll over to the system early this week. The transition is the first stage in the citywide roll out.
Stage one will be City Hall, Public Works, Expo and Claremore Recreation centers.
The second stage is expected to occur before July 1 and will include police and fire departments, community center, library, street and horticulture buildings and animal control.
“One of the changes that I think our customers will appreciate is that when you call the very first option will be to report an electrical outage. People know to call 911 in an emergency, but for some, a power outage can seem emergent. This gives them the opportunity to quickly get their outage reported without having to worry about whether they called the right department,“ Woods said.
Calls will ring directly to Claremore Electric from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and then switch over to the Utility Billing Office that has easy access to the on-call person from 3:30 to 5 p.m. while that staff is still available.
Only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. will it ring to police dispatch. Many people call the Police Department first.
This change will enable the customer to get the quickest response by dialing the main City line without tying up emergency lines, according to Woods.
The system will also allow for direct-dial numbers or direct extensions for staff, unlike the current system that uses a receptionist.
The system should eliminate lost messages, delays on hold while transferring calls and being sent to the wrong person, according to Woods.
“For those people who are not comfortable with an automated system, they will still have the option of pressing zero at any time to speak with a receptionist, but we think those who are familiar with automated systems will find this one very user-friendly and efficient,” Woods said.
The system will help free up staff time to work on other projects and the city will no longer need someone sitting in front of the phone all day, she said.