I’m sure everyone has spoken to a Customer Service Officer (CSO) at least once in their life. Be it to complain or to ask questions, CSOs are the people that we turn to when we need help. On the 16th of January 2020, together with 14 students from Holy Innocent High School, I arrived at the NTUC Income Contact Centre at Tampines Point to learn more about CSOs and their work!

A photo of the NTUC Income logo, found at their main office at Level 4 of Tampines Point.

We were first brought to the NTUC Income office at level 4, where our learning journey was kicked off by a sharing on NTUC Income’s history and significance in the local insurance scene.

A photo of one of the staff members at NTUC Income sharing about the NTUC family with our students.

NTUC Income is the first co-operative established by the Labour Movement to provide essential insurance for workers in Singapore. While NTUC Income has evolved into a professional and competitive financial institution, the co-op remains true and committed to their founding purpose: Serving the people of Singapore through insurance that is affordable, accessible and sustainable. They seek to maximise value for their policyholders, and this social purpose continues to be a guiding principle in their decision-making. 

Did you know? NTUC Income forms Singapore’s largest composite insurer, offering the widest range of life, health and general insurance products. In fact, they provide insurance access to 2 million customers across all social segments in Singapore! 

After the sharing, it’s time for the highlight of the trip: An office tour! All of us students were really intrigued, as most of us have never stepped foot into a real office before. 

Something that was fun seeing was definitely all the staff welfare facilities available in the office! From a room equipped with massage chairs, to the vending machine with free drinks for staff consumption, to the foosball table located in the pantry, it’s clear that NTUC Income takes good care of their staff! 

Photo of a group of students playing foosball at the NTUC Income office pantry.

In the main office area, we got to see the CSOs in action: Many were busy accommodating customers over the phone, speaking calmly and politely at their desks, each cubicle separated by a glass panel to keep the volume down. Our jaws dropped when we were told that NTUC Income handles around 2000 calls per day! 

With so many calls coming in, it’s no wonder that the staff need a little encouragement at times. To motivate the staff, compliments from callers are hung on boards around the office, serving as recognition for all the hard work CSOs put in day to day.

Picture of the NTUC Income staff showing students the WOW board. The WOW board is filled with images of customer service officers next to the compliments that have been left behind for them.  

The students and I then visited the control centre, which looked straight out of a James Bond movie! Massive TV screens hung from the walls, with staff tapping away furiously on their keyboards, headphones in, focused as ever. It was so cool! Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures here to protect the privacy of NTUC Income clients. Other security measures include surveillance cameras that operate in every corner of the office, ensuring zero threats to client privacy. For VIP clients, staff members would have to go through layers of security in order to access information relevant to them. This is all so customers can rest assured that their data is safe in the hands of NTUC Income. 

On one of the TV screens, we saw that the average time a CSO takes to handle each customer is recorded and analysed to serve future callers more effectively. Locations in Singapore with a high concentration of callers coming in are tracked in order to provide back-up for the CSOs working there, so clients don’t have to deal with long wait times. NTUC Income really puts their callers first! 

The trip to NTUC Income really opened our eyes to the people behind the voice on the phone. Students were even staying back to ask more questions! 

A photo of an interested student asking one of the NTUC Income staff some questions regarding his line of work.

A big shout out to the staff at NTUC Income for being such generous hosts. Although the trip has come to an end, it’s safe to say that we all left the centre with a newfound admiration for CSOs, an envious look to the foosball table and massage chairs (petition for all schools to have this!), and deeper insight into this often underrated field of work!

A photo of the writer, Caitlin Hayley Susanto

This article was brought to you by Caitlin Hayley Susanto who was an intern at SNCF during the month of January 2020. A gigantic bookworm and history enthusiast, she is currently studying in Dunman High.