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TIAA - Contact Center of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: TIAA, New York, NY
Company Description: With an award-winning track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA ( is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government field. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 9/30/2018) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Contact Center of the Year (Over 100 Seats) - Financial Services Industries

Nomination Title: Our Centennial Year: Continuous Improvement Culture

Tell the story about what this nominated contact center achieved since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Company Introduction

TIAA was founded a century ago as the vision of one of history’s great philanthropists, Andrew Carnegie, to make a difference in the lives of teachers. Since then, we have helped millions of people in the academic, medical, research and cultural organizations, whose work makes the world a better place, retire with financial security.

TIAA’s National Contact Center (NCC) is comprised of 650 consultants in three sites who engage with and execute the requests of retirement plan participants while providing financial education. In 2017, our consultants answered over 2.7 million calls and 110,000 emails. These consultants are the frontline in executing TIAA’s mission and are the forefront of our efforts to Putting the Customer First—the first of TIAA’s six main tenants.

Continuous Improvement & Innovative Culture

One of the best ways of putting the customer first is to embed continuous improvement (CI) throughout our culture and design the customer experience (CX) into each interaction. The NCC has been leading the CI/CX transformation across the contact center and enterprise with those objectives in mind. The NCC’s Culture Action Team is one of the driving forces with three main focuses: CI/CX education, ideation and utilization. Below is a synopsis.

White Belt training is available for all employees to develop the mindset, skills and tools to work out waste and improve processes. And, employees are routinely invited to participate in various project teams and some employees become Green Belt certified. In 2018 alone, over 150 contact center employees have completed White Belt training, and 10 have been certified as Green Belts after completing projects with total benefits exceeding $2.3M in staff capacity, efficiency, quality and customer experience. Design Thinking and Customer Experience training and Town Hall discussions are routinely used to expose leadership and front-line employees to these disciplines and our progress.

Ideas Lab is our new ideation platform that provides empowerment and transparency to contact center employees that have ideas for solving customer and employee challenges. This innovative platform has streamlined the process from ideation to implementation using crowdsourcing to share, clarify and prioritize ideas that are then distributed to areas that can assess feasibility and provide feedback. Ideas focus on simplifying experiences and reducing call volumes, and run the gamut from process improvements and web navigation to clarifying customer communications and forms.

Engaging and utilizing front-line employees in CI/CX has been critical to identifying and improving the customer and employee experiences. Our Team Huddles and “Flashlight” programs provide client facing employees with a platform to share their tips, tricks and best practices that they’ve developed to be accurate and efficient. We also provide opportunities for front-line employees to participate in CI/CX projects by including them in the development of customer journey maps, identifying pain points and helping design user experiences. Our project teams use Design Thinking and an agile framework to drive CI/CX. Highlights include:

-deploying virtual assistants, click to call and live chat
-notifying customers of their transaction status via SMS/Text messaging
-authentication using voice biometrics and other advanced tools and processes
-predictive behavioral routing
-co-browse assistance to navigate the digital experience
-decision support capabilities for customers weighing transaction options

These and other improvements to customer and employee capabilities have contributed to call volume and handle time reductions of 3.8% and 19 seconds, and an NCC Net Promoter Score of 74%.


Our commitment to CI/CX is a significant driver of our high employee engagement score of 87% and continuous improvement score of 80%, both of which lead the financial services industry and national benchmarks. Putting the Customer First starts with our employees and why the NCC is committed to not just be a contact center, but rather an Engagement Center that strives to build simple and effective experiences for customers and employees through a culture driven to constantly improve and innovate.