Despite attempted improvements, apparently the HMRC still haven’t got it right when it comes to customer service and more specifically – call times.

Waiting on hold for your call to be answered is frustrating at the best of times, but chuck in a confusing tax system and demanding tax deadlines and callers can get more frustrated, more quickly.

According to the recent report, callers now have to wait THREE TIMES longer than usual to have their call answered. This can be highly irritating for the busy business person who wants to get their tax forms right, but cannot waste any more time on hold.

Gordon Young, the general manager of Katalyst at Datapoint for the survey, said, “What’s worrying here is that in the face of call-waiting times of up to four minutes, many callers have simply given up. If anything, through the mismanagement of its call centres, HMRC is actually demotivating people from paying their taxes properly. By any standards, these waiting times are unacceptable. A concerted effort will be needed to improve its call centres to ensure that information is as accessible as possible. Continually striving to do more with less – creating greater efficiency – is a basic practice in the private sector and one that public bodies are now having to learn during these more austere times…”

He went on to say, “It’s important that resources and staff are deployed efficiently and intelligently. Contact centres, which are often a customer’s first point of contact, play an integral role in this, but the fact is that most contact centres, and the staff that operate them, aren’t being managed as well as they should be. By deploying contact centre optimisation tools, managers are better able to control call and team distribution, monitor call traffic and ensure that operators are where they are most needed.”

Many companies with similar difficulties keeping customers satisfied on a call decide to outsource to well managed, professional telephone answering services in a call centre, like CALLCARE, who provide professional call handling services for one man businesses up to large national companies. With a well managed call centre, HMRC’s callers would not have to “find tax taxing!”

Ross Barnes-Moore