Most cities run a routine status check to monitor progress on each request or complaint. A community service office or the central office that received the request usually is responsible for following up. When a department takes action or completes the work, this information must be entered into the computer so it won't continue to register the request as open.
Although several authorized staff members have the freedom to check the computer daily for the status of requests, most cities use ARS that generates hard copies of status reports, which can be issued weekly or monthly to keep current information in the hands of the city manager and council.
The leading automated request systems produce a variety of useful reports, including:
- The number of requests within a specific time period;
- Action taken and whether the problem is resolved;
- Who handled each complaint;
- How long it took to complete the work;
- The number of calls per department;
- The number of particular types of calls within a department; and
- The number of evaluation cards returned, and number of calls per city ward or district.
The number of calls per city ward can be useful in pinpointing geographic problems. The ARS can match the locations of requests and complaints automatically against a citywide database, then coordinate and merge multiple citizen requests from the same area into one entry. Analyzing data by geographical area, along with the type of service request and responsible department, is helpful in identifying trends and managerial problems. This information also comes in handy when predicting where similar problems may occur in the future.
Ward information is a useful tool in election years. It allows the city manager's office to provide elected officials with a list of all requests and complaints from their constituency, the names of the citizens, and the actions taken.