Improve User ExperienceIn an earlier post titled Obama endorses improved Government Customer Service, the expectation was set that each government agency had to produce customer service plans. To quote a US Government website, ” The American people deserve a Government that is responsive to their needs”.


Recently the  US IRS (Internal Revenue Service)  was highlighted as having poor responsiveness during US tax season. See Irate Customers Complain on Twitter about Long Hold Times.

The IRS is part of the US Treasury and they have released their customer service plan for 2011. It is interesting to see what plans they have identified as their top issues and the action plans to be implemented in 2012 as a result. The ‘long wait times on hold’  issue does not seem to be addressed in the Department of Treasury plans.

Here are the overviews of the four action plans in the Treasury Customer Service Plan. The plans labeled ‘Signature Initiative’ relate to those that use technology to improve the customer’s experience. More details can be found in their service plan document.

These are  selected quotes:

1. “SIGNATURE INITIATIVE: ELECTRONIC TRANSCRIPT DELIVERY APPLICATION ON IRS.GOV Internal Revenue Service (IRS)”

“Overview: The IRS will develop an application on IRS.gov that will enable a taxpayer to securely send a transcript of his or her tax records to an authorized third party.”

2.” SERVICE 1: ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS TO BENEFICIARIES Financial Management Service(FMS)”

“Overview: FMS supports the Department of the Treasury’s strategic goal of fostering a prudent use of taxpayer resources by providing timely, accurate, and efficient disbursements of federal payments. To more efficiently and effectively achieve this goal, FMS is working to pay federal beneficiaries electronically, rather than via paper checks.”

3. “SERVICE 2: PERMITS ONLINE  Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)”

“Overview: Permits Online provides an electronic method for drafting, submitting, and tracking original and amended applications for federal permits and registrations, which are required to manufacture and trade in the alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition industries. The Permits Online system includes business rules and customer support features to help prospective industry members submit complete and accurate information on their permit application the first time. By receiving complete applications, TTB can reduce the time spent in returning applications to customers for correction and re-reviewing corrected submissions, thus improving the time from application to permit issuance.”

4. “SERVICE 3: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AS A SERVICE DELIVERY ALTERNATIVE  Internal Revenue Service (IRS)”

“Overview: To test the use of video communications technology to provide a service delivery alternative outside of IRS facilities, increase access to face-to-face service where currently unavailable and improve the timely delivery of services and case resolution.”

Commentary:

The good news is that the US Government is concerned about how it services its taxpayers and is promoting improvements in customer services offered.

I am somewhat surprised that the US Government is implementing electronic payments so late. The Canadian government has been doing it for years, along with the provincial government of Ontario, where I live.

The real question is for the US taxpayers. In your opinion, are these the top initiatives from the Department of Treasury to work on? Is the ‘on hold’ issue for the IRS telephone system a higher priority than these? Is there a way for US citizens to provide feedback to these initiatives?

What is your opinion? Leave your comments below.

If you want to see the other customer service improvement plans for US Government agencies, check out their Performance.gov site.

 

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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