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Sunday, June 6, 2010

“Internal Revenue” I get, but “Service”?

I made a call to the IRS Friday, having received one of those, “we believe you made an mistake, here is an amount of money owe us, + interest” letters.

My service expectations were low – somewhere along the lines of the 7th level of IVR hell, followed by someone who either couldn’t or wouldn’t respond to my question.

I was pleasantly surprised when my call was answered, by a human, after about 45 seconds, which unscientifically put the IRS in the top 5% for shortest customer service call wait times on this past month.

The answering agent took a minimum of information & quickly found find my case. (Their customer indicator is this handy 7-digit “social security” number. Based on the ease of use, I’m thinking others may begin to adopt this as a standard record locator.)

We exchanged some information, and having identified the source of the confusion, the agent stated, “If that is the case, you don’t owe anything at all.” Some direction on next steps ensued – steps that exactly corresponded to the letter I was sent – and she pleasantly sent me on my way after a total of about 5 minutes on the phone, or, about a half hour less than I was expecting.

Views on fairness in what we pay in taxes & what they’re ultimately used for may vary greatly, but in my encounters, I’ve experienced great service levels from the IRS.

Believe me. I paid taxes for years in Canada. As a civil service organization, the Canada Revenue Agency is far less courteous about it they taking a higher percentage of personal income. While I’ve never compared the codes (too geeky, even for me) my perception through years of use are that Canadian forms are longer & less intuitive than the U.S. as well.

There is power in words used as brands or labels. Perhaps their treatment of customers stems from the differences in their names.

“Canada Revenue Agency” provides their exact purpose & intent. They’re an Agency. Whose purpose is getting Revenue. For Canada.

The IRS has no different an objective.

Yet by adding “Service”, they not-too-subtly remind themselves that the organization is far more likely to be successful by being competent, empathetic, and responsive to the people they take money from, and whom they ultimately serve.

3 comments:

致遠致遠 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」...........................................................................

huntb said...

盛年不再來,一日難再晨;及時當勉勵,歲月不待人..............................

rodriguezp said...

來給你加油打氣!!!保重!!! .........................................