The Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board this week became the newest public agency to join the government’s 3-1-1 central call center to provide orientation to Puerto Rico citizens on available services.
Through the agreement, the TRB will rely on 3-1-1 to handle calls to the agency seeking information on services such as Lifeline, which provides subsidies to qualifying Puerto Rico residents, TRB Chief Javier Rúa-Jovet said Wednesday.
“This is an achievement because for a minimum investment, you get access to a fairly large customer service staff that answer the calls, filter them and route them to the right person at the TRB,” said Rúa-Jovet, noting that the annual $90,000 contract with 3-1-1 gives the TRB access to about 40 reps.
“It also has the effect of expanding our hours of service,” he said, noting that 3-1-1 offers longer hours than the TRB.
TRB staff will turn around referrals from the 3-1-1 service in 48 business hours, Rúa-Jovet added.
The government official said that prior to making Wednesday’s announcement, TRB staff spent about three weeks training 3-1-1 personnel on the different issues that normally come up in customer service calls, to try to resolve as many calls as possible prior to channeling them to the agency.
“Prior to even having a formal relationship with 3-1-1, last year, some 450 people called there to request information about the TRB. Now, we expect for that number to multiply exponentially,” Rúa-Jovet said.
The 3-1-1 service is run by the government to provide people “an easy to remember telephone connection,” which offers quick access to the services provided by central government agencies.
“We’re very pleased that the Telecommunications Regulatory Board has joined 3-1-1. We already have more than 20 agencies that have been integrated, which allows us to empower the citizen with a communication tool that gives them direct access to government services, with the necessary support available to monitor their request,” said Roberto Maldonado-Fuentes, executive director of the 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 services.