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    Saturday, August 5, 2023

    PenCom Creates New Department to Tackle Complaints by Retirees

    L-R: Mr. Sola Adeseun, Head, South-West Zonal Office, PenCom, Mr. Oguche Agudah, CEO PenOp, Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru, Head, Corporate Communications Department, PenCom, Mr. Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, Head Consumer Protection Department, PenCom, Olajumoke Akinwa, PenOp

    In its resolute commitment to usher in a new era of enhanced customer service and safeguard consumer rights, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has embarked on a transformative journey through its newly established Consumer Protection Department (CPD). This strategic move is a cornerstone of PenCom’s Corporate Strategy Initiative for the years 2023 to 2027, aiming to reshape the pension industry landscape by harnessing the power of digitization and big data.

    Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, Head, Consumer Protection Department in the PenCom in his paper titled “Enhancing Customer Service in the Pension Industry: PenCom’s New Strategic Plan” during 2023 Journalist Conference held in Lagos said the CPD, a successor to the erstwhile Corporate Responsibility and ServiCom Department, stands as a beacon of progress. It is poised to redefine how the pension industry caters to the needs of its most valuable stakeholders: Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders and retirees.

    The 2023 Journalist Conference with theme: “Transforming Service Delivery in the Pension Industry: Strategies for Improving Efficiency and Consumer Satisfaction”

    Chidi-Ebere further noted that at the heart of this transformation lies the recognition that exceptional customer service hinges on a deep understanding of consumer preferences and needs. By embracing a customer-centric ethos, PenCom is cultivating an environment where every facet of pension service is tailored to exceed expectations, he added.

    “One of the most remarkable aspects of the CPD’s role is its proactive approach to consumer protection. Through a multifaceted Consumer Protection Framework (CPF), PenCom is fostering a sense of confidence within the industry. By developing and implementing industry standards (ISs), PenCom ensures the delivery of high-quality products, services, and processes.

    The head, Consumer Protection Department disclosed that a significant focus of the CPD’s efforts is the promotion of pension literacy across the country. He continues, this mission entails enhancing pension awareness, fostering trust, and improving customer satisfaction. The CPD also acts as a vital bridge between stakeholders, diligently handling complaints from both internal and external sources, he stressed.

    “The creation of a dedicated Service Charter for the Pension Industry reflects PenCom’s commitment to operational transparency and accountability. This charter serves as a roadmap, outlining the expectations and obligations of both providers and consumers within the pension ecosystem.

    According to him, central to this revolution in customer service is the utilization of advanced communication channels. PenCom has strategically deployed a range of platforms, including telephone lines, email addresses, and social media profiles, to facilitate swift and efficient complaint lodgment. These channels empower consumers to voice concerns, seek information, and engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Commission.

    Chidi-Ebere made cleared that the nature of complaints from consumers is diverse and underscores the importance of PenCom’s proactive approach. From inquiries about pension clearance certificates and employer codes to issues related to remittances, payment delays, and transfer requests, the CPD remains steadfast in its resolve to address each concern with diligence and care, he stated.

    “Handling complaints entails a structured and efficient process. Dedicated staff are poised to respond to inquiries received through the established platforms. This involves recording details, categorizing complaints, and forwarding them to the appropriate channels for resolution. The CPD’s collaboration with relevant departments within the Commission and external stakeholders ensures that no issue goes unresolved.

    In his words: As a testament to its commitment, PenCom sets stringent timelines for processing consumer requests, holding Pension Fund Operators (PFOs) accountable to these standards. By closely monitoring Monthly Service Delivery Reports from PFOs, PenCom guarantees efficient service provision.

    In its pursuit of excellence, Chidi-Ebere also noted that PenCom has established a robust Consumer Protection Framework adding that this framework is anchored in principles that prioritize fair treatment, transparency, accountability, and the prevention of fraudulent practices. “Through these principles, the CPD safeguards the rights and well-being of consumers, instilling a sense of trust and confidence in the pension industry.

    In essence, PenCom’s Consumer Protection Department stands as a testament to the Commission’s dedication to elevating customer service standards and fostering a secure, transparent, and consumer-centric pension ecosystem, he said. This innovative approach heralds a new dawn in the industry, setting a precedent for excellence and accountability that resonates far beyond the realms of pensions, he concluded.

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