In early April, the Texas Real Estate Commission publicly apologized to Texans for the unacceptable quality of our customer service efforts and we promised to take a number of steps to do better. This is a progress report on what we have done so far and what additional steps remain to be implemented to restore and improve our service.
- Hire More Staff – We hired four more team members to answer phones and respond to customer service requests. We now have 20 members on the team tasked with this challenging duty. We also filled one open spot on that team and two more on another team which processes all classes of license and education applications, bringing that area’s strength to 20 as well.
- Added Both Email and Voicemail “callback” Tools – In April we added an email box dedicated to “callback” requests and followed in May with a separate phone number where a caller can leave a message and receive a “callback”. Both tools are well used.
- Adding a Call Routing Tool – Effective June 15th, callers are able to route their call to the appropriate knowledgeable responder by selecting the relevant subject matter. This should help shorten the response time and limit the number of transferred calls.
- Peak Business Hour Adjustments – Through the end of June, we have extended our call center hours every business day from 6:30 am to 7 pm. Because the number of calls received during these extended hours is highly focused in the last week of the month, beginning in July we will return to our 7 am to 6 pm schedule except during the last 5 business days when we will we extend for an additional hour. Other internal staffing adjustments will help keep more staff available to answer calls at all peak times.
- More Email Response Flexibility – To meet our response commitments, new tools allow us to assign additional resources to your emails when the volume reaches certain levels.
- More Helpful Information Where You Need It – We added helpful suggestions to our hold messages and emails, directing you to important and time-saving information.
- Processing Dates – We published the dates of applications that our staff are currently working on, so it is clear when you should be expecting to hear from us. Staff working overtime even on weekends and new changes in our internal processes have resulted in promising advances toward routinely meeting our 7-10 business day commitment.
- Improving Website Content – Last year we launched our completely redesigned website. We recognize that such changes require time for adjustment, and we have implemented clearer language and key stats throughout the website to help.
- Customer Service Training for All Staff – To improve our interactions with you, we retrained all of our staff in advanced customer service skills. And we commit to provide ongoing training for our staff in order to provide you with excellent customer service.
- Customer Service Survey – We have added a new, brief customer service survey for you to provide feedback easily and timely. A link to it is included on all standard emails. I assure you, our team will review your responses and take action when it is needed.
In the next few months, the agency will be working to finalize some key projects that we believe will have a dramatic effect on our communications and customer service goals. I am happy to announce we will be implementing an improved call management system to dramatically improve our ability to handle callers. Waiting on hold for 30 minutes will be a thing of the past. This project has been over 8 months in the planning and evaluation stages, and I am pleased with the recent progress we have made. Our target date should be announced by early July.
We are also making headway on a streamlined login process for accessing our online services. We are in the final stages of implementing a new smart identification process to connect license holders with their open application or existing license in a more efficient manner.
There is nothing more important to us at this time than to honor our commitment to the public and to our license holders to ensure our renewed focus on excellent customer service and to improve the quality of our license holders experience with us. I urge all of you to take time to fill out our new customer service survey, sign up for our newsletter, and if you need help please reach out to me directly. We will make sure you get what you need to get back to work quickly.