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Contact Center modernization builds on success in member interaction

Headset on a laptop with digital icons for VoIP and customer support elements.

As CalSTRS continues to grow, innovate and evolve in service to members, it is critical to embrace and manage ongoing change and transition.

One example is the project to modernize the CalSTRS Contact Center, the primary channel for members to receive support. Chief Executive Officer Cassandra Lichnock highlighted the project as part of her bimonthly report to the Teachers' Retirement Board. The project enhances the ability of CalSTRS customer service representatives to interact with members.

In the first phase of the modernization plan, CalSTRS introduced a new telephone system that is suitable for present needs and adaptable to future requirements that will allow staff to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

CalSTRS receives an average of 22,000 calls per month, and customer service staff members have attained a member satisfaction rate of 95% and averaged answering incoming calls within 16 seconds. Staff also manages a secure online messaging portal, processing more than 3,000 messages from members per month with an average turnaround time of less than 24 hours.

The new system went live in December 2023 without a glitch.

All five divisions within the CalSTRS Benefits and Services Branch moved to the new cloud-based telephone platform for inbound and outbound calls.

Among the benefits of the new solution:

  • Improved interactive voice response experience and self-service options for members.
  • Better workflow within the branch, leading to more efficient responses to members, beneficiaries and employers.
  • More accurate routing of member and employer calls.

CalSTRS has started planning activities to further improve services by taking advantage of the new product features.

Enhancements will include:

  • Implementation of post-call surveys for the Employer Services and Retirement Readiness divisions.
  • Offering speech recognition to the call menu and member surveys.
  • Integration with the new pension administration system, BenefitConnect.