A recent article in the Associate Press stated that the IRS is aiming to only serve 7 out of 10 of it’s customers by phone. So, for the unfortunate 30% of people calling in with questions, they will never receive the help they are looking for.
The IRS states that they have simplified the web site and that it should be easier to navigate and use for most people. In 2004, the agency had a 84% response goal. Because they have been overwhelmed by call volume, they increased the usability of the site, but are lowering their service standards in the call centers.
I think this poor planning in the part of the IRS. I commend them for improving their site, but by lowering their service standards for those calling in, they are perpetuating tax challenges for the public.
For those that are web savvy, they may very well find most of the answers to their questions and necessary instructions on the site. However, for those that don’t have access to computers and are not well versed in tax issues, a phone call will still be necessary. So, on that line of thought, those that truly need the help are calling in, but only 70% will get the help they need.
I don’t know about you, but if I can’t get through on the phone, I hang up, then call back. I would imagine that many others do the same thing. Now, we are creating a bigger problem – creating an inflated call volume based on the fact that people are repeatedly trying to get through.
I am also willing to bet that many people calling will have already tried getting their questions answered on the website and are turning to the phone call center to get customer service and assistance that is necessary.
The IRS needs to thoroughly examine it’s processes, be proactive wherever possible, and staff accordingly to get the tax payers the help they need and deserve. It may cost a bit more in the short run, but over the season, the calls will decrease and staffing levels can then decrease accordingly, thus saving they money they are hoping to save by not serving the 30% already discounted.
I find it amazing that we, as tax payers, are having to be told that 30% of us can expect not to receive the customer service we are already paying for.
If we ran our businesses this way, we would expect customer satisfaction rates to drop and our customer loyalty to fall off substantially.