The IRS Can’t Come to the Phone Right Now…

By March 28, 2018 March 12th, 2019 Customer Experience, Technology

Dear David Kautter, Acting IRS Commissioner:

Like many other taxpaying Americans, I have a bone to pick with the IRS. I’m hearing that they’re reportedly leaving 60 percent of taxpayers hanging on the line due to their inability to answer all calls.

It’s true—according to PBSNews Hour, the IRS is projecting that they will only be able to answer six out of 10 calls during the busy filing season from taxpayers needing to get their tax questions answered. For all of 2018, the IRS only expects to  answer four out of 10 calls. That means that more than 60M of the 100M calls they receive per year from taxpayers every year will go unanswered.

Even worse, consider these facts:

  • On the IRS.gov website there are 140,000 pages of content to mine through.
  • To get professional help would be costly for a consumer (accountants, especially those that are up to speed on the thousands of pages of tax law changes are expensive).
  • During the last major reform in 1986, calls to the IRS increased 14 percent in that filing year. In response, they hired 1,300 new employees.
  • Another expense that taxpayers will end up footing the bill for.
  • When HealthCare.gov launched in 2013, only one percent of interested people were able to enroll to the site in the first week of its operations.

Let me break this down in terms everyone will understand.

Sixty million unanswered calls per year? These centuries-old government institutions are running so inefficiently and insecurely in a time where AI and technology can be made available to improve conditions that in essence affect millions of Americans.

We’re in a time when people want to be able to quickly and efficiently message businesses and get a resolution immediately, without having to deal with long hold times and all of the traditional pitfalls of customer service. So why are we being left on the hook?

And this issue is not limited to government agencies. In fact, I work with companies across more than a dozen industries, including insurance, healthcare, financial services and consumer products. Since implementing Pypestream one prominent customer noted that it nearly eliminated customer wait time for the more than 120,000 inquiries it received each month, resulting in a 40 percent savings in operating costs on those calls.

Welcome to the on-demand economy where the phrase “good enough” is no longer welcome.

So here I am—one of 122M taxpayers in the U.S.—begging for a solution. If we can fix this, the promise of digital transformation will be moving in the right direction and we will have developed the tools that consumers not only expect, but demand today, tomorrow and for years to come.

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