The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a fully funded social security savings scheme that helps Singaporeans save for their retirement. Working Singaporeans, together with their employers, contribute a percentage of their monthly income to their CPF accounts. When they retire, they would receive a monthly retirement income paid out from their accumulated CPF savings. Self-employed persons are required to contribute part of their income to their CPF accounts as savings for their healthcare needs. As at June 2011, CPF Board had more than 3 million account holders with a total account balance of US$152 billion .
Transformation over the years
Before 1990, customers were served from counters segregated by schemes located at different storeys of the CPF Building. To better respond to customers’ requirements, we aggregated all counters into a one-stop Service Centre and also created a one-stop Call Centre in 1994 and 1996 respectively.
From observation, we realised that even basic face-to-face counter service was not easily accessible to some of our customers. For instance, in the early days of the National Projects, we had some very old and disabled citizens who could hardly walk, struggle to come to our Service Centres, to opt in for the top-ups to their CPF Accounts. This sad sight for an otherwise happy occasion made us determined to provide an alternative solution. We needed to minimise their travel and instead go to them if need be, for them to enjoy what other citizens have taken for granted.
Therefore we came up with the m-Ambassador service. It uses wireless technology to enable our CSOs to serve customers using Ultra Mobile PCS (UMPC). By combining excellent frontline customer service and the creative use of IT, we can go out to the community and help our elderly and disabled customers benefit from our e-services.
Large customer base and aging population
CPF Board’s target market is our CPF members. Essentially, everyone who maintains an account with us is our customer. Hence our customer base is as large as 3.4 million.
Given that Singapore has one of the fastest aging populations in Asia, life expectancy has risen from 75.3 years in 1990 to 81.8 years in 2010. Today about 9% of our population is over 65 years old . This will rise to 19% by 2030, which means that 1 in every 5 Singaporeans will be above 65 years old . As the sole administrator of Singaporean’s savings, this indicates an increasing need for us to ensure that our members are financially secure in their old age.
Our challenge is therefore to deliver services to an aging but increasingly sophisticated population. Technologically, Singapore has a high internet penetration rate of 82 % and citizens increasingly want more services delivered online. However, from our listening posts (surveys, focus groups, etc.), we also know that there is a need to address the needs of citizens who are struggling to keep up. The need to address these different, overlapping needs led to the launch of my cpf.