Five questions with Tracy Abel

October 23, 2012

Pension News Online sat down with Tracy Abel, Teachers' new Vice-President, Client Services, to talk about enhancing our approach to Client Services.

Tracy is charged with uniting the frontline service teams with those that work behind the scenes to deliver a more personalized, simplified experience for you, the member.

As a 25-year veteran of the plan, Tracy first started with Teachers' in its then-dubbed Computer Information Services Department. "We were a computer department without any computers," she laughs. When she's not working at Teachers', Tracy enjoys the new-found freedom that comes with an empty nest—both her daughter and son are away at university now. She's not shy, either. In fact, she enjoys public speaking, and goes so far as to call it fun.

Q: You're now responsible for the overall experience of members. What does this mean?
A: Our pension plan is very complex, so we're aware of how important it is to simplify and personalize members' experience. We want to ensure our members have choices in how they communicate with us, that they receive consistent information across all of the different channels, and with the least amount of red tape as possible. We appreciate the large stake members have in the pension plan. They deserve the best service possible.

What will be the biggest benefit of personalization and simplification for members?
A: Members can expect consistent information, no matter how they choose to interact with us. The complexity of the plan is ours to be concerned with; it should be invisible to members. We'll ensure that they're getting the information that's relevant to their unique situations.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge of personalization and simplification?
A: The speed of change, both from a technological and a regulatory perspective. Striking a balance between simplifying members' experiences and meeting our heightened compliance requirements is a huge challenge. Our contact centre and paper mail are not going to go away. But, social media platforms and mobile devices, for example, are emerging service delivery channels that we are exploring.

Q: What's the most valuable character trait you bring to the job?
A: I am very enthusiastic about my work. I challenge the status quo and explore new ideas.

Q: What needs to have happened for you to think that a day at the office was a success?
A: If I solve a problem, or if I had a positive impact on someone else's day, either on a member or a colleague's, then I know I've accomplished something.