How members interact with CalSTRS changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we continue to evolve as we seek to enhance members' experiences.
At the January Benefits and Services Committee meeting, new Director of Retirement Readiness Kate LeBlanc talked about our successes, including adding virtual operations to the suite of in-person and over-the-phone services. LeBlanc reported continued member satisfaction with CalSTRS service based on feedback from webinars, workshops and other interactions.
Adding virtual options for members allowed us to serve approximately 75,000 members last fiscal year, a record amount. Wait times to sign up for appointments were also reduced by about a month.
In addition to more virtual interactions, improvements included sending benefit planning preparation materials through secure online channels to members in advance of their meetings. LeBlanc said members were happy to receive them quickly through encrypted email.
Although in-person meetings are available, about 60% of our members still choose to meet virtually. For those who prefer to meet in person, our seven member service centers and local offices are open.
We continue to improve in-person experiences, too. For example, our research showed members were not satisfied with the location of our Santa Clara Member Service Center, so we are in the process of moving it to a more central location in the San Francisco Bay Area with easier access to mass transit options.
LeBlanc also shared there are many opportunities for members to learn about their benefits through videos and webinars and encourages all members to seek out opportunities that will help them plan for a secure retirement.