A new audit says in San Diego’s Get it Done! An app often provides incorrect, incomplete or confusing information

A new audit says San Diego needs to improve the accuracy and clarity of its Get it Done! tipster app to reverse a recent decline in customer satisfaction with the app, which allows people to conveniently report lakes, graffiti and other problems.

The six-year-old app often gives customers inaccurate, incomplete or confusing information about when the problem they’ve reported will be fixed and when progress has been made toward that goal, the 48-page audit says .

The audit also recommends San Diego catch up with most major US cities and other major cities in California by establishing a centralized 3-1-1 phone intake option for complaints and service requests.

A 3-1-1 system, which would complement Do It!, would promote equity by making it easier for non-English speaking and technologically challenged people to report problems, the auditors said.

The audit says a 3-1-1 system could increase the city’s emergency response times by transferring calls from the Police Department’s non-emergency line.

Phone calls are still the best option for reporting problems to the city. The city receives nearly 1 million phone applications per year compared to about 300,000 annual Do it! application.

In response to the findings, city officials agreed to make all of the recommended changes to the Do It! These changes include giving customers estimated completion dates for reporting problems and interim progress reports.

The city will also create new training programs so employees provide more accurate information, and create procedures for supervisors to review communications between city workers and submitters Do it! application.

But most of the changes will not be made until next summer or the end of 2023, the audit says.

City officials rejected the audit’s recommendation to establish a 3-1-1 system, arguing that a central phone line for complaints would affect customer satisfaction by making it easier to submit complaints that the city cannot resolve. fast.

Officials said they want to improve city services and the ability to respond to complaints before dealing with what they expect will be a sharp increase in the number of incoming complaints.

“Done out of order, the city would be providing better access to a broken system, where customers are able to report issues in more ways, but no resources are allocated to improve how quickly or how the more effectively those issues are resolved,” wrote Kirby Brady, the city’s chief innovation officer.

City Auditor Andy Hanau said it’s legitimate to worry about San Diego being inundated with too many complaints to handle.

“But the solution is not to perpetuate a situation that makes it more difficult for people with limited English proficiency or limited technological expertise and resources to access city services,” Hanau said.

City officials could work on a plan to create a 3-1-1 system while increasing the city’s ability to handle complaints more effectively, he said.

Of the nation’s 10 most populous cities, only San Diego and Phoenix have 3-1-1 systems. Of the 10 most populous cities in California, only San Diego, Long Beach and Bakersfield have 3-1-1 systems.

Like a 9-1-1 system, a 3-1-1 system would allow callers direct access to a city hotline for complaints. Many cities launched such systems in the 1990s, Hanau said.

The audit comes as the number of annual reports for the Done! The app has almost doubled since 2018, mainly because the different types of problems that can be reported have increased to more than 60 by city officials.

The number of reports increased from 148,946 in 2018 to 296,209 in 2021. Meanwhile, overall customer satisfaction dropped from 3.4 to 3.1 on a scale of 1 to 5.

Customer satisfaction varies widely according to the type of problem reported. Between 2018 and 2021, applications related to camps, lost litter collection and parking fell the most.

The audit says a key factor in low satisfaction ratings is the app often telling customers their case is “closed” when the problem isn’t actually resolved.

Typically, city officials have marked the case closed because there is nothing the city can do immediately.

The audit says the problem is often on private property or land located in another city, or a settlement is planned as part of a larger, upcoming project. A sampling of auditors estimated that 19 percent of applications receive a false “closed” message.

In response to the audit, city officials agreed to provide customer details rather than just say the case is closed.