Social Security Administration
Customer service training also provides necessary skills on the various types of necessary contacts that are more beneficial in building customer satisfaction. This can be in different types. The personal and human interaction is vastly superior. The way greetings are conducted by receptionists, letters are delivered and how clerks handle their clients matters a lot. Positive approach and attribute from these people may help in promoting a long lasting partnership and relationships with customers.
Tentatively a negative approach will send customers away this might bring a big blow to the company. The success of any organization will depend on the quality of customer service skills employees working in the customer service department possess. Good approach will make customers have positive attitude to wards the company. They will therefore appreciate the way business is done in such an organization and finally this will attract many of them. Customer relation will therefore determine whether the business will succeed or fail. (Renee, 2005).
Having seen the need for training of customer service employees and managers, it is therefore important to look at how training of customer service will be useful to the SSA. The social security administration is faced with numerous challenges as it tries to
2) Is customer service training useful in improving customer service in order for social security administration (SSA) to meet its requirements in future years? 3) Have there been any good results from organizations that apply the tool of customer service training? 4) Is there any difference in quality of service offered to customers between employees who have undergone customer service training and those who have not? 5) Is it important to provide customer service training whenever new changes and systems are introduced in an organization for example the SSA?
6) What are the problems likely to be faced when new systems are created without proper customer services training? Social security administration is burdened by various challenges as it tries to satisfy the needs of all its customers. This is because of the challenges brought by the introduction of the new system of serving its customers. What is needed therefore that might help in a kind of best practices of customer service in a government agency that covers reforms and interventions.
These are to help in improving the customer service and can only be helped through evaluating the various customer service-training tools. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is one of the largest government agencies, and is notable for the fact that most of its business deals directly with members of the general public (Auster, 2006; Barnhart, 2007; Bovbjerg, 2003; FOIA, 2006; Liebman, 2005). The SSA “pays retirement, disability and survivors benefits to workers and their families” (Claritas, 2006, p. 1).
As a result, the SSA “promotes the economic security of the nation” through this disbursal of funds (Barnhart, 2007, p. 363). Payments to retired persons are managed through the Old-Aged, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, “universally known as Social Security” (Barnhart, p. 363), while the Supplemental Security Income program provides temporary funds “for low-income aged and disabled individuals” (Barnhart, p. 363). As a result of these services, the SSA pays out around $40 billion in benefits to more than 50 million people every month” (Barnhart, p. 363).
In the process of doing so, the agency processes “more than five million new claims for benefits each year, handling approximately 61 million phone calls to its 800-number, and issuing 136 million Social Security statements” (Barnhart, p. 363). In addition to these primary activities, the agency also undertakes other supporting tasks, “including issuing Social Security numbers, maintaining earnings records for wage earners and self-employed individuals, updating beneficiary eligibility information, educating the public about programs, combating fraud and conducting research, policy analysis, and program evaluation” (Barnhart, p.363).
Because of the enormous responsibilities that rest with the management of the Social Security Administration, in recent years administrators have become concerned that “Social Security itself is showing signs of insecurity” (Barnhart, 2007, p. 366). Because of the fact that the Baby Boomers (persons born between 1945 and 1963) are now reaching retirement age, combined with the fact that life expectancy has improved to nearly 80 years old, it is expected that the current system is well on the “path to insolvency” (Barnhart, p. 366).
It is projected that “Social Security costs [will] exceed annual cash revenues starting in 2016, and the gap between costs and revenues will continue to grow thereafter” (Barnhart, p. 366). Until 2038, tax revenues will be tapped in order to make up the shortfall, but after that such revenue will also “only cover 73 percent of currently scheduled benefits” (Barnhart, p. 366). Others argue however that at late as 2050 SSA will still be able to cover 73 percent of benefits, and thus “the perception that Social Security will not be there at all for today’s younger workers is a myth” (Liebman, 2005, p. 30).
One of the reasons why the SSA is facing some future difficulties is that it continues to operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, “meaning it doesn’t set aside money in advance to pay retirees’ benefits” but rather “uses Social Security taxes withheld from today’s workers to pay benefits for today’s retirees” (Auster, 2006, p. 1). This system “works well as long as enough workers are contributing taxes to cover the cost of benefits” (Auster, p. 1). However, as mentioned, given the size of the Baby Boomer generation, compared to those of younger ages continuing to work, this system will skew out of balance in the coming years (Auster, 2006).
While the problem could resolve itself if more immigrants come to the US, if the birth rate rises again, or if many Baby Boomers put off retirement, it is still expected that the pay-as-you-go system will experience some imbalance (Auster, 2006). Added to the overall problem of the future effectiveness of the SSA is the fact that Americans are saving less. SSA benefits were never meant to cover the entire income needs of elderly Americans, only to supplement income and thus “provide a solid foundation for financial well-being” (Liebman, 2005, p.
2). Unfortunately, at present, “one third (of all recipients) receive 90 percent or more of their income from Social Security and almost two-thirds receive more than half their income from the program” (Liebman, p. 2). In order to restore some balance to this picture the SSA has had to begin to promote the idea of savings, and encourage recipients as well to establish personal retirement accounts so that they can live comfortably during retirement (Liebman, 2005).