New app designed to connect Aspen government with residents, visitors
City of Aspen launches new platform to lodge complaints, concerns, kudos
The city of Aspen has launched a new customer service platform via a mobile app where people can lodge complaints, get answers to questions, or in the rare instance, give a compliment to the municipal government.
Aspen 311 Connect replaces the city’s old system, QAspen, which was a web portal that was short-lived and not well known to the community.
“It did everything we needed but it never really took off and I think it was the timing. … COVID hit and there was a lot of refocusing and shuffling of resources and the city said ‘let’s look at cost versus the use, how much volume is going through,’” said Rebecca Louden, the city’s management analyst. “We are really hoping that this tool will experience greater volume and greater interest and we’ll be able to get people the answers they need faster, and it also will be a reporting tool for us to see what kinds of things people want to talk to us about or have concerns about.”
Once an individual enters their submission into the system, it will be automatically routed to the correct department to assist and resolve.
Residents can use the tool to learn about city services or submit requests on assorted topics, including potholes, street light repair, graffiti, illegal dumping, snow removal, air quality and noise complaints, to name a few.
Users can provide city staff with specific descriptions, pictures, videos, locations and other information needed for a staffer to respond to an issue efficiently, according to Denise White, the city’s director of communications.
Once received, the system identifies the departments and staff involved and sends notifications to them, eliminating the need for residents and visitors to search for the correct phone number or department to make the report, White added.
Individuals must register and create an account, but they have a choice to be either anonymous or use their identity when making a comment or request.
“The city really prefers that you don’t because if you are anonymous, we can’t get back to you,” Louden said.
City staff is working through the requirements to provide a 3-1-1 phone abbreviated dialing option later this year.
In the meantime, those preferring or requiring access by phone can still submit requests by calling 970-920-5197.
If an Aspen 311 Connect request is deemed an emergency, it will be routed directly to police and 911 dispatch.
The new reporting method is not the place to dispute a parking ticket, which can be done on the city’s website.
White said that many cities that use 311 Connect find a way to use the platform to receive compliments as well.
“Like, get a thank-you out there for fixing my pothole, so that somebody out there wants to share that they think the city did a good job on something,” she said. “We know these services are often for reporting complaints and concerns and I think that is the majority of what we will see. But we want to hear from our community and our visitors on many things so if they think we are doing something well, we want to hear that, too.”