In 2018, San Antonio partnered with startup CityFlag to launch a new app that citizens can use to submit service requests. On average, the city receives 70,000 calls per month, so encouraging residents to shift to digital channels is an excellent way for the city to boost engagement and service levels while minimizing costs. San Antonio already had a 311 app in place, but community engagement was low and a better solution was needed.
The new app, 311SA, enables citizens to report service requests in less than 60 seconds – but ease-of-use is not its only advantage. What really sets 311SA apart is its unique focus on social media and game-like features. Citizens can share their service requests via social media – such as Facebook and Twitter – and the app encourages residents to up-vote issues that have already been flagged. Regular users are rewarded with points that can earn them medals and titles.
Together, these features have led to a significant boost in community engagement, with many more citizens than before actively reporting issues. At time of writing, 311SA has 6,127 unique users, who have reported a combined 4,326 issues. Of those service requests, 4,038 have been resolved – a 93% success rate.
On the back end, the app is integrated with the city’s CRM system, ensuring that flagged issues are routed directly to the appropriate department. The app also enables citizens to attach photos and other supporting information to their service requests, which can help city staff to more easily assess and resolve the issue.
Following the success of CityFlag’s technology in San Antonio, similar apps are also being developed for Mission, TX and Mexico City.