Reducing hold times

OPERS debuts ‘Fast Facts’ to help members spend less time on the phone

By Donna Castiglione, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

May 8, 2017 — I’m sure most of you have called companies and felt like you had to navigate a very complicated maze before you were able to speak to a representative. It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? We get that, so at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System we have always tried to keep the amount of time you have to spend listening to messages to a minimum. Compared to most companies our menu of options is very minimal, and we like it that way. If you want to talk to us, we want to talk to you.

That being said, we do know that there are times when our wait time can be extremely long, and most often when this happens there is a simple answer to the questions but a large amount of callers trying to get through to ask the same question. At these times we place a special message for you to hear when you call to see if that will answer your question and you don’t have to waste time holding for us. For example, in December we played the following special message:

“January benefit payments will be released on January 3. If you notice a change in your net benefit amount for January, it is most likely due to changes in your health care premiums and the discontinuation of Medicare B reimbursement. If you are calling to request a Health Care Premium Receipt to provide for HRA reimbursement, it will not be available until January 3. On January 3 you can print this through your online account at If this is all the information you needed please feel free to hang up, or hold for more options.”

Unfortunately every caller has to listen to the message even if it doesn’t apply to them or they have already heard it. Also, we have a large amount of callers who decide to hold anyway to make sure the message is accurate. Trust me, if we put a message out there, you are going to get the same answer if you hold to hear it from a representative. Rather than continue to try the same thing and hope for different results, we are going to try something new.

Now when you call in, you will hear our opening greeting; “Thank you for calling the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. To provide you with quality service your call may be monitored or recorded.  If you are calling regarding a Health Care-related issue please press 1; press 2 for ‘Today’s Fast Facts,’ or continue to hold for the next representative.”

If you press 2 for “Today’s Fast Facts” you will hear the answers to the most-common questions we are getting at that time. If a Fast Fact provides you with the information you need, please feel free to hang up. If you need further assistance, just stay on the line to speak to a representative. This small menu change offers some convenience and control over the information you receive. This will also allow us to respond more quickly to the callers who have a question that is not addressed in “Today’s Fast Facts.”

We hope this solution is one that everyone will enjoy and will allow us to provide better service to all.

Thank you in advance for your participation.


Donna Castiglione

Donna Castiglione is the assistant director of Member Services and has been with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for more than 13 years. She has extensive experience in customer service management in a variety of industries.

Donna Castiglione

Assistant Director of Member Services

4 thoughts on “Reducing hold times

  • May 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Sounds like a workable plan. Thank you.

  • May 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    TOO bad you cannot offer the same service when we try to speak to a human being at One Exchange.


  • October 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I’m still on hold and it’s been almost an hour……

    • October 20, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Please be patient. Between the COLA proposal and health care Open Enrollment, the phones are very busy. You might consider calling back first thing in the morning when the Call Center opens at 8 a.m.


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