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HMRC claims early success for app and SMS



Department reports rising numbers of users for mobile services, along with benefits from robotics

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said that two smartphone services have pulled in a significant number of users to match the annual surge in demand around the peak period for claiming tax credits.

Angela MacDonald, director general of customer services for the department, has laid out in the numbers for the SMS reassurance service and the HMRC app in a blogpost that says overall more than 1 million people used its digital services for tax credit renewals.

It is a significant annual peak in activity for HMRC, with tax credit claimants having to let it know if they want to renew their applications. The department has been pushing the use of digital channels to reduce the pressure on its contact staff, one element of which has been the development of the SMS reassurance service.

This sends confirmations and updates to applicants, and encourages them to check on the status through their online personal tax account, with the aim of reducing the number of chase-up calls.

Channel shift

MacDonald reported that over an eight-week trial beginning mid-June approximately 99,000 people used the service, with 47% shifting from a reliance on telephone to digital, and a satisfaction score of 83%.

She also claimed good results for the HMRC app, which was developed last year and has had more services added. Over the past six months 38,000 people have used it to complete their tax credits renewal, with the current version recording 92% customer satisfaction.

In addition, the use of robotics in HMRC’s contact centres has helped to reduce call times by up to two minutes.

Technology consultancy Capgemini, which is working with HMRC on robotics, has previously reported that robotics dashboards are now being used by 7,500 contact centre advisers. The technology has enabled them to sharply reduce the number of mouse clicks needed to obtain relevant information.

MacDonald said there will be efforts to develop further services before next year’s tax credit peak.

Image from Victorgrigas, Creative Commons 3.0 through Wikimedia

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