Over a third of HMRC callers on hold for over 10 min

HMRC’s latest survey of its contact centres – which covers the April 2013 to March 2014 period – reveals that 35% of customers waited more than 10 minutes for an HMRC adviser to attend to their query

According to HMRC’s results – which surveyed 4,225 individuals, 77 agents and 118 business callers – only 73% of business customers gave positive responses about their experiences, down from 87% over for the previous 2012-2013 period.

Callers who had to speak to HMRC advisers more than once were also asked for detailed reasons for this – 36% indicated this was because HMRC had made a mistake; 38% said this was due to HMRC not calling back or them not hearing back from HMRC; 51% reported the need for multiple calls due to the complicated nature of their issue while 71% said they had did not have all the information needed, to hand, when they had initially spoken to the adviser.

Most customers surveyed said they had to wait for an average of four minutes while 35% reported waiting less than three minutes.

The longest waiting times were for callers to the taxes and tax credits helplines – where 40% of customers waited for over 10 minutes compared to VAT, VAT Online and NI callers, where 49% said they waited for less than three minutes, 21% indicated waiting time of up to nine minutes and 19% indicated waiting for over 10 minutes.

The tax department also appears to attend to business customers first – those who telephoned the business tax helplines waited 3 minutes on average to be attended compared to other customers.

When it came to the resolution of problems, 69% reported that they had to speak to an adviser two or three times while 29% had to speak to an adviser four or more times.

The survey showed that levels of those who felt it was fairly easy to contact the tax department dropped to 64% compared with 68% in the previous year.

HMRC said that it needs to improve its performance in the area of getting things right the first time and the ease of getting in touch, making its key driver analysis the same as that of the previous year.

The results of HMRC’s survey are available here in full: http://bit.ly/1uGZK6E

Penny Sukhraj |Content editor, Accountancy - (up to 2016)

Penny Sukhraj, former content editor and writer for Accountancy and Accountancy Live, responsible for commissioning and editing news...

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