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Frequently Asked Questions

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Question:

How does the Vestavia Hills Action Center work?
Answer:

Welcome to the Vestavia Hills Action Center!

 We hope that you will be a frequent visitor and will make the Action Center your “go-to” place to make your requests and report issues.  You can also find the answers to many common questions there.  The Action Center was launched in April 2014 and continues to grow daily in the options available to citizens.  As of this writing, the Action Center has over 40 request types for public use, and new request types, online forms, and FAQs are being added weekly.  The Action Center is available both through the City website (www.vhal.org) and as a mobile app.  It offers you not only a convenient way to make your request or report, but also confirmation emails and a link so you can follow up on the progress of your request.  So how does it work?

 

Your First “Visit”

 

Your first “visit” to the Action Center may have occurred when you called and spoke with one of the City staff about an issue.  If the staff member entered your request to the Action Center, then you will have received a confirmation email (if you provided an email address) with a link to your request.  Otherwise, your first visit is when you make your first request through either the website or the mobile app.  Your contact information is collected in that first visit, and a free account is set up at that time.

 

Logging In

When you return to the Action Center to make another request or check the status of a request you have made, you will be asked to log in.  If your first “visit” was by a call placed to the City and you were prompted to log in when you followed the link, please select “forgot password” so that you will receive an email with a temporary password that you can reset to your preference.  (It is important that you do not re-enter your information, as this will create a duplicate account.)  The information you provide for the Action Center is for City staff use only.

 

Get the Action Center App

You can get the free Vestavia Hills Action Center app through itunes (https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id866192889?mt=8) or the Google Play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.webqa.vestavia). 

 

Responding to Messages

You must log into the Action Center and open your request in order to respond to messages generated by the system.  You cannot use your email to respond to messages from the Action Center, as they will land in an unmonitored account.  To respond or make an update, log into your request and send a New Message.  This will add your new information into the message log for the request.

 

“My Requests” – Following Up

When you select the “My Requests” button on the Action Center, you will get a list of all your requests along with status of each.  The links allow you to open the request to view the details you entered, add information, and read the message log.  The “Cancel” button does NOT cancel the request (it closes the request screen without making changes).  You will need to send a “New Message” to let us know if you need to cancel.

 

Cancelling a Request

You should only cancel a request if you feel like there was an error or is for some reason not needed.  If you put in the wrong request type (e.g. “Inlet and Storm Drain” instead of “Drainage”), our staff can change the request type for you and there is no need to cancel.  Also, staff will update the requests to “Complete” following the response. If you do change your mind about a request and wish to cancel it, do this by opening the request (through My Requests) and using the “New Message” button to send us a message telling us that you would like to cancel.

 

Following a Request

Following a request is a way to get email alerts when the status of your request has been changed.  You already will receive a confirmation email when you create a new request and when the request is completed by staff.  Following will allow you to get emails when the status is changed to other values such as in-progress, assigned, delay or other values relevant to the request type. 

 

Request Management

The advantage to you in using the Action Center is that it enables the City to manage your request much better than a call or email in isolation.  If the assigned staff member is out or progress isn’t made within a certain time, department heads and back-up staff are notified so they can take appropriate action.  Also, because your Action Center request has all the details, notes, and message log, other staff members can respond more efficiently and with better information when you call, because they do not have to track down the employee who has the latest information on the issue. You also receive confirmations that your request has been made and that the City has responded. 

 

Online Forms (Certain Request Types, e.g. Permits and Complaints)

Some request types serve as online forms for issues you would complete a form or application for if you were to visit City Hall.  Please be aware that completing these forms has the same effect as a form you would sign.  Also, if you are completing a request that is an application for a permit or other permission, you must wait for approval before proceeding with the planned activity. 

 

We Value Your Feedback!

If you would like to give feedback about the Vestavia Hills Action Center, we welcome you to complete the brief survey found at the following link: http://vhal.org/action-center/.

 

Technical Issues

The Vestavia Hills Action Center works best with Google Chrome but does work with other browsers.  If you are using Internet Explorer, you may need to add the site to your compatibility views.  You find this option when you select the gear icon in the upper right corner of your screen.

 

Replies to the messages generated by the action center are routed to an unmonitored account.  Users must log into the Action Center and make a “New Message” in the open request in order to reply.

 

If you are not getting the confirmation emails you expect, check your spam folder and filter.  Messages sent through the action center come from vestaviahillsal@mycusthelp.net

 

Attachments are limited to 25MB. The customer portal allows only one attachment in the initial request. To add additional attachments, re-enter the request and start a New Message.  You may add the attachments to the message.  

 

If you need assistance, contact Melissa Hipp at mhipp@vhal.org or 205.978.0152. 

 

Development

The Vestavia Hills Action Center was developed by GovQA.  It is a customer request management (CRM) system for local government.  CRMs are also often known as “311”, but the City wanted to differentiate its customized system from the telephone 311, which routes calls to various surrounding municipalities. 

 

City staff update content and messages of the Vestavia Hills Action Center.  To report issues or recommend changes, please contact Melissa Hipp, Assistant to the City Manager, at mhipp@vhal.org or 205.978.0152. 

 

 

 

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City of Vestavia Hills | 1032 Montgomery Hwy | Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 | (205) 978-0100