HomeBusinessThe contractor responsible for the TSP's transition promises regarding tracking issues to...

The contractor responsible for the TSP’s transition promises regarding tracking issues to improve

Federal contractor officials responsible for the headache-inducing transition from the Thrift Savings Plan to a new administration department apologized Wednesday for the many difficulties participants experienced in recent months and pledged to continue improving the new system.

At the monthly meeting of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which operates the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program, representatives from Accenture Federal Services acknowledged a number of flaws in the way the public portion of the June transition to a new administration system worked.

“We want to start with an apology: In the early days of the program’s go-live, the call center experience was not up to the standards of the FRTIB, it was not up to our standards, and it certainly was not the experience that the participants and beneficiaries of the Thrift Savings Plan,” said Elaine Beeman, the company’s civilian portfolio leader. “We have been working day and night to solve it, and we have very good news in terms of statistics. . . We have achieved almost all of our goals, and we are very happy with that, and we were able to get the ‘high call volume’ message from the website last week, and we hope that we are now in a position to provide the world-class experience that participants and beneficiaries earn.”

Since the TSP moved to Accenture’s filing system on June 1, participants have complained about several issues with the new service. In the beginning, many struggled to set up new credentials to access their accounts online and update beneficiary designations. Attendees also faced hours of wait times for service through the ThriftLine call center. But as those problems started to subside over the past month, head of government has received complaints about more individualized difficulties in accessing loans, making transactions, and the new process for retrieving historical documents that were once readily available on the TSP’s website.

Owen Davies, Accenture’s account manager, admitted on Wednesday that the company seriously underestimated call center demand and made setting up TSP.gov accounts too difficult.

“When we went live, all our work was planning a certain number of call volumes, and we took the TSP’s biggest single-volume day in the past and doubled it, assuming that was a reasonable expectation,” he said. he. “But instead of twice we got six times the ringer volume, and we weren’t prepared or staffed for that, leading to a really horrible experience for participants. The second thing we did made it worse: to protect against fraud, we required everyone to set up new online credentials. . . We made that process very cumbersome, and it was very difficult for a large number of users, and that combined made for a very bad situation. Everyone felt it and you felt it and your brand felt it.”

Davies praised recent data indicating that these two problems have largely disappeared thanks to the relaxation of account setup rules and increased staffing and training of call center agents. “Reskilling” ThriftLine representatives should make the process of getting help easier for people struggling with issues such as loans and withdrawals, he said.

“So far about 2 and a quarter million participants have claimed and successfully set up their account, and our call volume is dropping,” he said. “We are at around 21,000 per day, which is still higher than the historical average, but we expect that downward trend to continue. Another thing we are working on is that we try to achieve a result within the first conversation.”

Going forward, Davies said Accenture plans to make improvements to the new website to make it easier for participants to use and make changes.

“This is what we’re focusing on now: the online experience for installment payments, withdrawals and loans,” he said. “Some of those things have been implemented and some are yet to come. We’re also looking at increasing access to historical records and trying to figure out if there’s a way to make some of that more available to participants if needed.”

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