The CalPERS customer contact center has steadily improved member call wait times over the past fiscal year. In July of last year, wait times for a call to CalPERS averaged 12 minutes compared to two minutes a year later, an 84 percent improvement.
The low call wait times included members who used the automatic call-back feature. Of customers who elected to remain on the line, 79 percent experienced call wait times that were less than six minutes.
Several factors can contribute to the hold time when calling CalPERS. Customer service agents are typically busier at the beginning of the month or after a holiday. There are also events, like the Health Plan Open Enrollment period, that can signal higher calls for a period of weeks, resulting in longer waits for a live agent.
CalPERS is also improving customer service by offering an array of Member Self Service features online. Since January 2013, more than 150,000 instant benefit estimates were calculated online, as well as 60,000 phone numbers, and 50,000 addresses. In addition, more than 6,000 active members, or about 20 percent of those who retire in a typical year, chose to apply for their retirement using my|CalPERS on the CalPERS website http://www.calpers.ca.gov/
Beyond the improvements in customer interaction, CalPERS made real gains in processing different types of applications:
Service credit purchase request inventory is down from 30,000 cases to below 5,000 cases, which is near normal inventory levels.
Death benefits processing eliminated a backlog of over 4,000 cases.
Retirement allowance adjustment processing successfully eliminated an inventory of over 14,000 cases.
CalPERS staff anticipates another year of improved services and stressed a desire to better serve members and employers while continuing to work toward optimal processing levels and customer satisfaction.