HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced it is allocating £45 million to improve customer service, as it released statistics showing what it is calling “an inconsistent call handling performance” in 2014-15. Unfortunately, we at Answer-4u can’t throw that sort of money around – but nor do we need to!
The statistics show that while 73 per cent of calls were answered last year, service standards were inconsistent across the year, with some months falling well short of HMRC’s 80 per cent target. The figures also show that in some months as many as one in five customers heard a busy tone and could not join a phone queue.
Trying to defend themselves, HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: “Despite our best efforts, our call performance hasn’t been up to scratch and we apologise to all those customers who have struggled to get through to us.”
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the ICAEW of 300 of its members found half did not see any change in the quality of HMRC services and a third (34%) felt it had deteriorated. Only 16% felt it had improved. More members also reported an increase in costs in dealing with enquiries.
Mark Menhennet, Managing Director of Answer-4u said: “This simply isn’t good enough – HMRC has been failing those trying to call through to use its services for far too long now. If any private sector business was failing as badly as this over a sustained period of time, then it would have been out of business months ago – not given public money to try and solve what is obviously a deep-seated crisis. Simply throwing public money at it is a disgrace.
“At Answer-4u we answer 99 per cent of our calls within five seconds – that’s what our customers want and that they’ve come to expect. Our performance, when placed against the lumbering behemoth that is HMRC, shows how nimble a smaller, private sector firm can be when it comes to answering UK business calls, and how all businesses can benefit from our expertise. Maybe the bosses at HMRC would like to come and see how we do it!”