The City of Buffalo, the second largest city in New York state and home to more than 250,000 people, established its 311 Call & Resolution Center in July 2000 to deliver a highly responsive way for citizens to get information, request services, and report problems. Whether residents want information about programs and events, need to access non-emergency police services, or request that a tree be removed—and so much more—when they call 311, they expect answers. That’s why, when New York’s governor issued statewide stay-at-home orders on a Friday due to COVID-19, the City needed to quickly transition its agents from a call center to a fully functioning work-from-home operation over a weekend.

Cisco IP Phones
Cisco IP Phones and Cisco Webex Contact Center solutions keep a city connected through a crisis.

“311 is the lifeblood of the City,” Oswaldo Mestre, Chief Service Officer with the City’s Division of Citizen Services, explained. “It shows citizens that there is always a way to reach out to City Hall.”

The call center typically handles up to 600 calls a day, but when compounded by the state’s shutdown and around-the-clock news about the coronavirus, the helpline was perhaps more needed than ever. Buffalo’s Mayor, Byron Brown, added: “It was essential to keep channels of communication open.”

Learn how Cisco helped the City of Buffalo in a 48-hour race, from a Friday statewide shutdown to a seamless work-from-home operation where agents picked right back up on Monday morning, providing residents with vital communication continuity.


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