9 November 2005
I refer to the article "Readers air grouses with banks" (ST, 8 November 2005). Several of your readers expressed their unhappiness with automated telephone answering services from banks.
I wish to share our experience in operating our call center for the past 20 years.
NTUC Income is a large insurance cooperative serving 1.8 million policyholders. We handle an average of 300,000 inbound and outbound calls each month. Our call center operate 24 hour a day, seven days a week.
Over the years, we took a conscious decision not to place an answering system between our policyholders and our call center officers. We allow the policyholders to reach our officers directly and be served immediately, with minimal hassle. Callers are greeted warmly with a human voice instead of a recorded message.
Our policyholders can make enquiries or handle transactions through our call center. We have recently introduced separate hotline numbers so that our policyholders can be answered immediately in the language of their choice, namely English, Mandarin and Malay.
We are able to provide to achieve a high level of productivity of our call center officers through a good employee training and retention program. We introduced an escalation system that allows difficult issues to be escalated to the supervisors and experts. This reduce the stress on our call center officers and create a more conducive working environment. Our turnover rate is about half of the average for the call center industry.
We are able to provide friendly service at an economical cost, despite the higher wage level in Singapore. Our call centre operation is entirely based in Singapore. We believe that our policyholders will be better served by call center officers with local knowledge.
We strive for excellence in customer service and delight our customers with fast, effective and reliable service. We will be happy to share the experience of our call center with other business organisations and help to build a high standard of service quality in Singapore.
Tan Kin Lian
Chief Executive Officer
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