Handling Telephone Enquiries: Hm Revenue and Customs

Front Cover
The Stationery Office, 2010 - Law - 33 pages
In 2008-09 HM Revenue and Customs' Customer Contact Directorate, which answers 95 per cent of calls to the Department's contact centres, only answered 57 per cent of 103 million call attempts, compared with 71 per cent in the year before and an industry benchmark of over 90 per cent. The Directorate has introduced a change programme with the aim of answering 90 per cent of calls at around 30 per cent less cost by March 2012. There have been signs of significant improvement in 2009-2010, with the percentage of calls answered rising to 73 per cent in the first half of the year. Call volumes vary greatly throughout the year - from four million to 17 million a month - reflecting the flow of work on individual taxes and benefits and associated statutory deadlines. Performance mirrors this pattern, with 33 per cent of calls answered during the tax credit renewals peak (July) and 85 per cent of calls answered in December. Overall staffing levels do not fluctuate in line with call volumes and consequently, in 2008-09, the monthly average cost per call answered ranged from around 2.50 to over 5. The percentage of contact centre staff time actually spent on customer contact or follow-up work was 38 per cent. This is well below a best practice industry benchmark of 60 per cent. The NAO estimates that, by halving the 35 per cent of contact with customers that the Department considers to be avoidable and better use of its resources, the Department could answer 90 per cent of calls and achieve a substantial reduction in costs.

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Part Three

Common terms and phrases