HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hanging on The Telephone - I Don't like Mondays



Tax professionals and "customers" have been kicking up a fuss for some time over the amount of wrong answers being given by undertrained staff in HMRC call centres.

I am advised that HMRC, rather than address the training needs, have hit upon a "brilliant" idea to improve customer service.

Errmmm...sorry... I meant to say improve HMRC statistics re customer service.

HMRC have programmed the telephone system so that a tax agent calling on the ADL line will not be directed to an adviser with less than 1 year in the department.

Good idea?

Not really, those with only a little more than 1 year of experience are not necessarily going to provide much more help; as there is no encouragement to look up the facts and give the correct answer.

For why?

As noted yesterday, HMRC's target is to reduce the amount of time spent on each call. Therefore the more helpful an HMRC member of staff, the longer will be spent on the call; therefore it is in the interests of HMRC to offer as little help as possible.

Additionally, calls selected for monitoring and quality purposes are always selected on the first Monday of every 4 week period.

Even more helpfully, HMRC managers usually make staff aware of when this day is.

Therefore, in terms of quality, you are always better of calling on these Mondays so long as you know the monthly cycle!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

7 comments:

  1. "rather than address the training needs..."

    What do you think a call centre advisor does in their first year on the job? The two things aren't mutually exclusive, Ken. (If you can come up with evidence of staff training being inadequate, however, that would of course be a different matter!)

    "...those with only a little more than one year of experience are not necessarily going to provide much more help..."

    As you feel that "just over a year" is "not necessarily" long enough, would you like to enlighten the world and HMRC as to how long would be enough? Perhaps then you could explain where the money is going to come from to retain (and presumably intensively train) these people for however many years or decades you come up with before they're allowed to take calls.

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  2. Anom

    re "As you feel that "just over a year" is "not necessarily" long enough, would you like to enlighten the world and HMRC as to how long would be enough? "

    read what I said:

    "...as there is no encouragement to look up the facts and give the correct answer.

    For why?

    As noted yesterday, HMRC's target is to reduce the amount of time spent on each call. Therefore the more helpful an HMRC member of staff, the longer will be spent on the call; therefore it is in the interests of HMRc to offer as little help as possible...."

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  3. Oh, I'm not saying EVERYTHING you write is nonsense! :)

    A pinch of salt here and there never goes amiss, however.

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  4. HMRC is all about improving statistics. After all, it is so much easier than actually getting it right.

    However, I'm thrilled to note that they are going to open a new workhouse (sorry, contact centre) in the midst of deepest, darkest Cumbria.

    This is, of course, intended to address the staff shortages which currently bedevil the Department (or at least the CC "Business Stream" - the rest of HMRC is apparently some 25,000 staff in surplus).

    It will of course attract those poor surplus souls whose offices are being closed down nearby and who are too far flung to commute to the next nearest half-decent job in a distant regional centre; in other words, it will be full of reluctant draftees who have no option - skill, knowledge or talent notwithstanding - but to work there for the rest of their miserable careers.

    That should lead to a real improvement in standards of customer care!

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  5. Ken

    A few posts ago (4th Sept), you observed that "HMRC and the government wish for the dice to be loaded against the taxpayer"

    To be fair, they are also loaded against their own staff. Why else would they be proposing to reward my 30+ years experience and service with a pay-rise of exactly 2% this year and then 1% for each of the next two years?

    Darling Alistair tells the TUC that my wages need to be pegged to stop galloping inflation.

    Me, I wonder why, with just a C Grade Economics A level gained more than 30 years ago, I can run rings round our chancellor and his poxy logic without even breaking sweat.

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  6. Anom

    re loaded dice..HMRC staff are taxpayers too.

    Ken

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  7. Ken

    Re: loaded dice

    Double whammy them :<(

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