HMRC has hired 800 additional members of staff to work in its call centre, in an effort to reduce waiting times. This comes almost a year after the company hit headlines for making customers wait for up to an hour. The recruitment move brings the level of staff back to how it was in 2013-14. Calls in March 2017 were answered in just under four minutes.
Last year, the Government aimed to improve waiting times after it emerged that their decision to cut 5,000+ jobs resulted in callers waiting for up to an hour for an answer, which was an increase from ten minutes just two years earlier. The staff have been hired on flexible contracts, which means that the HMRC helpline is available to call 7 days a week, and the live chat function can be extended.
The National Audit Office said that taking on new staff had improved the service for callers ‘significantly’, with the staff handling eight million more calls around three times faster. However, auditors have warned HMRC not to overstate the number of calls that are handled, and they warned that further cuts in the coming years could pressure the service once again. They added that HMRC shouldn’t assume that queries are resolved once a caller hangs up, either. There are still opportunities for HMRC to improve, by looking at the quality of advice that they give.
Have you recently called HMRC? How long did you wait to speak to an advisor?