3 MIN READ | Financial Services

Your essential Contact Center tax season prep guide

Dave Kostos
Apr. 3 2024
Closeup of documents and receipts in preparation for tax season

For the IRS and tax services, the lead up to Tax Day on April 15 is the busiest time of the year. In the 2023 tax season alone, IRS employees answered 2 million more calls than it did in 2022. To respond to this wave of communications, tax service contact centers rely on a complex network of solutions connecting to one another. When these CX solutions aren’t properly maintained, staffed, and implemented properly operations are delayed, calls are dropped, and customers grow frustrated and look elsewhere for their needs.

As an example, the IRS’ internal watchdog, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) reported that last year outdated CX technology prevented IRS employees from easily switching back and forth between answering calls and processing returns, leading to “more than 650 unproductive staff years.” Unreliability and inefficiencies like these are responsible for significant expenses for tax services and the contact center teams that support them. That’s why it’s so important for tax service CX leaders to prepare their teams for the influx of requests that come each year from January to April 15.

Looking for a quick guide on what that tax season prep should look like for your contact center agents and end-to-end CX technology stack? Here are the most essential steps to ensure your tax service is ready to deliver optimal performance this tax season.

Understand what “busy” means for your tax service’s contact center

To prepare for your organization’s contact centers for their busiest tax season, you first need to understand what “busy” really means. As a baseline, refer to the traffic your team saw in previous high-volume periods. Important analytics to understand include number of calls received, average time spent on a call, time spent in email, SMS, and chat conversations, and more. For the most holistic view of your organization’s tax season demands, be sure to include time and resources allocated toward outbound communications as well. All too often, these outbound contact center workflows are overlooked in terms of testing and analytics, resulting in issues that are unknown and unresolved until they impact customers. These are the figures that should be used for all forward-looking tax season preparations in terms of staffing, scheduling, and system demands.

Perform comprehensive contact center load tests

Load testing a contact center ensures that the technology that carries internal and external communications from one resource to another can handle the volume of traffic your organization will see at the height of tax season. By using an automated contact center load testing solution and the traffic details you identified previously, you can simulate your contact center’s busiest days well ahead of actually experiencing them. Contact center load testing provides CX leaders with insights into the potential performance drops and delays that may occur during tax season, offering you the opportunity to resolve issues before they become issues.

Monitor agent and customer experiences in real-time

Once you know that you have the staffing and technology needed to handle the tax season rush, you’ll need to ensure that the CX performance being delivered is high quality across all resources and throughout the entire season. To do that, organizations should implement contact center performance monitoring solutions that identify and assess performance issues from the customer’s perspective and from the agent’s perspective. Hammer provides two solutions for these purposes: VoiceWatch, which pinpoints performance issues from the PSTN to the IVR and Hammer Edge, which provides visibility to the edge of the CX environment – including remote workers around the world.

Make sure your tax service contact centers are ready

With millions of calls, emails, and chats coming into tax services ahead of Tax Day, now’s the time to make sure your tax service contact centers are prepared for a flood of communications. Get the help you need to reliably serve all of your tax prep customers with Hammer’s team of CX experts. Contact the team today to learn how Hammer’s automated CX testing and quality assurance solutions can ensure you meet and exceed customer expectations when it really counts.

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