Best Practices Version 20.0

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Chapter 3

3.23 811 Center Quality Standards

Practice Statement:

The 811 center establishes and monitors performance standards for the operation of the center.

Practice Description:

A. Customer Quality of Service Performance Measurements

811 centers monitor the quality of service provided to a customer who phones in a locate request. Key performance indicators include, but need not be limited to, average speed of answer, call abandonment rate, busy signal rate, and customer satisfaction. The recommended benchmarks to fulfill a high quality of customer service while promoting accuracy, cost effectiveness, and efficiency are identified below. Meeting or exceeding a benchmark qualifies as a “best” practice.

      1.  Average Speed of Answer

Average speed of answer (ASA) usually comprises the number of seconds between the time a caller is transferred from the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and the time a voice welcomes the caller and begins the processing of a locate request averaged over a specified time interval and accumulated daily. Service level objectives in the 811 center industry are generally monitored daily, monthly, and year to date. An ASA objective of 30 seconds or less is recommended.

      2.  Abandoned Call Rate

The incidence of abandoned incoming calls is a function of the number of 811 center customer service representatives actively processing locate requests and the volume of incoming calls. Callers have an expectation that all calls will be answered within a reasonable time. A caller that has waited more than 60 seconds before hanging up is considered an abandoned call. A monthly average abandonment rate that is less than 5% is recommended.

      3.  Busy Signal Rate

The incidence of callers experiencing busy signals is a function of the number of incoming telephone lines to the 811 center and the incoming call volume. Callers have an expectation that there will be very few busy signals.

Typically, 811 centers can extract information on busy signals from their telephone systems or obtain the information from their communications service providers. The information usually comprises the number of callers experiencing a busy signal as a percentage of the total number of attempts to contact the 811 center during normal business hours.

Service level objectives are reported daily, monthly, and year to date. A monthly average busy signal rate that does not exceed 1% is recommended.

      4.  Customer Satisfaction

A fundamental principal in measuring quality is that “the customer defines quality.” Periodic customer satisfaction surveys are conducted. The 811 center makes all information/data collected on the quality of its performance available for review by the appropriate oversight authority and the public upon request.

B. Locate Request Quality

The 811 center has in place quality control and quality assurance programs to measure and monitor the accuracy and completeness of the information received by the 811 center compared to the information transmitted by the 811 center.

C. Notification Delivery

The 811 center establishes and monitors criteria for the transmission of notifications and notification audit reports. Typically, the 811 center can transmit notifications in an electronic format that allows receiving stations to parse/extract data. Notification audit reports are sent to receiving stations at a mutually acceptable frequency. It is a best practice to send an audit report at least once every business day. Typically, notification transmission is immediate.


  • One Call Systems International Voluntary Recognition Program

  • “Model One Call for the 20th and 21st Century,” AT&T (was available when the practice was created but is no longer available)

  • Existing operating practices from various states 811 centers

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