Why IRS Customer Service Is Dead: A Twitter Autopsy


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IRS Fails at Customer ServiceRecent budget cuts have left the IRS with 5,000 fewer employees than last year, forcing tax payers to endure excruciating long hold times when calling their toll-free number.

According to a recent report issued by the inspector general for tax administration, approximately two thirds of callers reached an IRS support representative this tax season. Believe it or not, this exceeds the stated goal of 61%, with IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman taking pride in this achievement. Wow. What a stretch goal.

This is a great lesson on the impact cost-cutting has on customer service in the call center, so let’s dig in a little deeper.


The Impact of Cutting Costs

With fewer staff manning the IRS telephone lines, tax payers are subjected to longer wait times and exhausted agents. With only 66% of callers getting through to an agent, we have to wonder what happened to the 34%. It wasn’t rock science to figure out they either hung up out of sheer frustration or received a busy signal.

Naturally, irate taxpayers rerouted themselves to Twitter to vent their anger. Over the past month, we captured some ‘not so happy’ IRS related tweets. Unfortunately, taxpayers have no ‘competitor’ to turn to, so they’re stuck in dealing with declining service standards. Solution? Unless the IRS makes a change, we suggest deep breathing to get through these tough times because there’s no light at the end of the IRS long-hold-time-tunnel.

This is what happens when organizations cut costs at the expense of service levels and reputation:

IRS Hold Time Complaints

The Aftershock

OnHoldWith.com measures the number of complaints related to long hold times. Below is a chart that shows the IRS hold time complaints. In fact, the IRS holds the #1 spot on companies with the most hold-time related complaints on Twitter. Way to go!

IRS Hold Time Complaints – Number of Tweets By Day

IRS Complaints By Day

US taxpayers flocked to Twitter to vent their frustration while #onholdwith the IRS. The steady spike occurred during 11am-8pm and most likely coincided with the highest hold times and call volume for the day. Let’s put that time slot into perspective. It’s an entire day of peak times!

IRS Hold Time Complaints – Number of Tweets By Hour
 IRS Complaints By Hour

About OnHoldWith.com

OnHoldWith.com is a website powered by Fonolo. It provides real-time Twitter-based statistics of consumers as they purge their anger regarding long hold times. Tweets are publicly available and offending companies are alerted when there are problems in their contact center.

Frustrated with long call center hold times?

Simply log into your Twitter account, let everyone know who you’re #onholdwith and your message will be shared in OnHoldWith’s complaint stream. The offending company will automatically see your tweet in their feed! There is power in numbers and, hopefully, the pressure will motivate companies to make changes so you and millions of other customers aren’t suffering through a horrible call center experience.

Would you like to learn more about customer service? Feel free to download the free whitepaper Top 10 Customer Service Trends of 2012.

Original Post by Omar Zaibak.


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