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News & Policy

PBGC Customer Service Wows

July 28, 2011

The results of PBGC's yearly customer satisfaction surveys are back, and they were record-breaking.

Each spring, PBGC surveys its customers. We ask a sample of retirees what they think about PBGC's service. We also ask people who call our Customer Contact Center - whether they have retired already or not - how well we resolved their concerns.

"What we do for a living is help people," Director Josh Gotbaum said. "These surveys tell us that PBGC is doing that very well, from the point of view of the people whom we help."

In 2011, the results were outstanding. Overall, people who called us with questions and concerns rated us seven points higher than in 2010, marking PBGC at 86 on a scale that goes to 100. (PBGC's surveys use the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology.)

This is more than 20 points higher than the average score for a government agency of 65.4. It is also both our highest score ever for callers, and our largest one-year improvement since PBGC started surveying callers in 2001. Over the past five years, PBGC's overall scores among callers have averaged 81.2. Scores of 80 or higher are generally considered excellent, whether in government or the private sector.

The retirees whom we contacted gave us a score of 90 overall, three points higher than last year, the highest score on any customer survey measure in PBGC history, and one of the highest scores in government. For the past five years, the retirees we have reached out to have scored us at an average of 88.4.

Among the people who called in to PBGC's contact center, those who were already retired reported improvements in customer care, all aspects of concern resolution, and written communication.

Those who were not yet getting benefits from PBGC reported improvements in the automated phone system, and in the timeliness of, and follow-up to, concern resolution.

Their impressions of two other concern-resolution categories, our responsiveness and accuracy in resolving their concerns, remained high, neither increasing nor falling much compared with the previous year. People who were transferred to field benefit administration offices also reported significantly higher satisfaction this year.

"PBGC has listened to the customers and made changes to our communications based on their input," said Melanie Carter, manager of the agency's Retiree Services Division. "We are evaluating our customer service representatives more frequently and consistently giving them immediate feedback and coaching."

A sampling of retirees contacted in a separate survey expressed appreciation of better access to the right person and more timely correspondence. Customer care and written communication also showed significant improvements. Nearly three-quarters said PBGC should do "nothing differently," a significant improvement from 2010 when only 63% answered that way.

The agency will analyze this year's results more thoroughly in the weeks to come, with a special focus on recent improvements in call handling, which may be integral to the improved survey results.

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