Business Enquiries: Agent Greeting Policy
-- I'll begin with the Canada Revenue Agency's call centre services.-- The Canada Revenue Agency delivers its telephone enquiries service to businesses out of three national call centres. Incoming calls are distributed to each of the call centres based on time of day and agent availability. This provides businesses with faster and reliable access to service, no matter where they are located in Canada.-- At any given time during operating hours, more than 350 call centre agents are available to answer business enquiries by phone. During peak periods of the year, the number of scheduled agents increases to 500.-- Last year, business enquiries agents answered close to three and a half million calls. Eighty-one per cent of those calls were account-specific.-- In many cases, business owners or representatives had researched their questions in advance, using information available on the CRA's Web site. They already had general information at their fingertips and wanted to understand how it applied to their specific situation.-- As taxpayers, you have a right to expect clear, accurate, and consistent information from the people who administer your tax account. You also have a right to be served with professionalism, fairness, and courtesy- all of those rights are clearly spelled out in the CRA's Taxpayer Bill of Rights that was introduced by our Government in 2007.-- Part of good telephone service is letting the caller know who you are. This helps to establish a friendly relationship as well as a sense of accountability.-- In 2011, the CRA began a pilot project whereby business enquiries agents provided their first name, agent identification, and a regional suffix (such as A-T-L for Atlantic Region) at the beginning of each call.-- After evaluating the results of the pilot, including positive feedback from business owners, tax practitioners, and important stakeholder groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, I am pleased to announce that the CRA will make the agent ID a permanent feature of its greeting policy for the business enquiries lines.-- Today, business callers are well aware of the agent ID and the fact that they can take note of it for future reference.-- While callers may not connect with the same person if they telephone again at a later date, all call centre agents are equipped with online reference tools and have direct access to taxpayer accounts on the CRA's systems. This allows them to view the latest account transactions, as well as the most up-to-date notations by previous agents, in real time.-- In addition to being more in line with current industry standards and practices, the new policy ensures a consistent and user-friendly experience for all callers.-- The identifier number also allows business owners and representatives to provide feedback on the service and information they receive from the CRA. Our Government wants to ensure that the voices of business owners who are actually using CRA's services are heard by the agency and serve as a key guide in our efforts to improve services.-- This change will build on the progress we are already making through the establishment of a dedicated small business team at CRA, to ensure that the needs of these key job creators are incorporated into the development of CRA services. The new Agent ID greeting has been long asked for by the business community and important stakeholders like CFIB, and will provide businesses with yet another way to provide useful input regarding the level of CRA's service.