Nobody likes to pay taxes. And when people have a question about their taxes, but they can’t get the answers they need, it’s a real double whammy.
The Canada Revenue Agency understands that. So it’s been working to ensure Canadian citizens get the help they need when they reach out to one of the CRA’s call centres. And quality monitoring is an important part of that effort.
“Each year, the vast majority of Canadians must interact with the Agency in one way or another,” says Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier. “Although most interactions are now online, our call centres remain a crucial way for our clients to reach us. Our government has chosen to invest in the Agency's services and our investments are starting to pay off. My priority remains that the Agency treat Canadians as important clients and not just taxpayers."
In an effort to do that, Lebouthillier earlier this month accepted all recommendations in a report on the CRA’s call centres. That includes a three-point plan that includes improving agent training, modernizing technology, and updating service standards.
Some efforts on this front have already taken effect. This year’s budget added $78.3 million over 5 years starting in 2018-2019 and $17.4 million per year to meet goals. That enabled the CRA to add a new IVR feature through which callers can confirm their account balances and last payment details without human intervention.
The new funding also enabled CRA to use more agents. Last year the CRA had an average of 2,673 employees in its call centres. That’s up from fewer than 2,300 in 2014-2015.
The CRA last year redesigned its training program to improve agent onboarding and better assess their readiness to respond to calls. CRA has since trained more than 700 call centre agents using this approach.
The agency also created a new quality assurance team to review and assess the quality and accuracy of the information provided to callers. This effort also serves to identify news opportunities for continuous improvement.