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FBR’s new contact centre to help taxpayers get info in real time

FBR’s new contact centre to help taxpayers get info in real time

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has set up a modernised contact centre at its headquarters that will help promptly respond to taxpayers’ queries and provide them with relevant information in real time.

The facility is based on the customer relationship management (CRM) software being used by top companies in the world to improve customer contact experience, Fazal Muhammad Abrejo, member of FBR’s facilitation and taxpayer education (FATE) wing, said at the launch on Wednesday.

In January 2017, the FBR implemented the latest CRM that tracks, monitors and archives issues reported by taxpayers. Customer can now lodge complaints by sending emails to [email protected], calling the helpline UAN, and also by visiting the FBR’s website, according to an official statement issued on Wednesday.

CRM also helps in analysing the kind of issues that are frequently reported and time taken to resolve an issue.

Through the development of Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) utility software, frequently reported issues can now be resolved over the phone when a taxpayers calls on helpline.

The IRIS utility is linked with National Database and Registration Authority and automatically fetches all data to be updated in the IRIS system. Relevant information that can be updated in the system using this facility includes date of birth, special person credit, senior citizen credit, name correction, computerised payment receipt issues and income tax return information.

The FATE wing of the FBR conducted a number of trainings of contact centre employees for capacity building and three different manuals were written on professionalism and courtesy, income tax return filing and related issues as well as on returns of sales tax and federal excise duty (FED) and related issues.

The first training was imparted in “professionalism and courtesy” to acquaint the agents in basic etiquette while talking to clients so that all agents use standard greetings, place clients on hold properly and use a standard closing. Based upon this training, one call of each agent is monitored by the respective supervisor and a score is given.

The second training introduced basic tax laws related to return filing and wealth statement. Agents were given a walk-through in IRIS and explained different provisions of law. The third training introduced basic sales tax and FED return filing and related issues. Agents were given a walk-through in sales tax portal and information that needed to entered in different annexes.

Mr Abrejo said the number of dropped calls had gone down from 50pc in October 2016 to less than 2pc in April this year. The average hold time — the time a person remains on the line before an agent answers the call — had also gone down from 30 minutes to less than 30 seconds during the same period.

Previously, there was no CRM software in place at the FBR to help taxpayers lodge a complaint either by calling or visiting the website. Consequently, it was also not possible to monitor the kind of issues that are frequently reported and time taken to resolve an issue.

During the four months through April, 8,854 cases were resolved. An email backlog of 1,500 cases that was pending for months was also taken care of.

On average, 180 to 200 emails are received each day on [email protected] Out of these, 75pc of issues are resolved within 24 hours while the remaining cases, which require escalation to technical teams, are resolved within three working days.

Taxpayers can now also submit and track the status of their applications by visiting FBR’s website, Before submitting online complaints, they are also guided regarding the issue they select from the dropdown menu.

The contact centre was inaugurated by FBR chairman Dr. Mohammad Irshad at the bureau’s headquarters.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2017

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