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CRA call centre business helpline gets a C-


January 24, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Jan. 24, 2013,
Toronto — For the second time in two years, the Canada Revenue Agency’s
(CRA) call centre business helpline received a lacklustre grade of “C-“
from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

While the accountability of CRA agents has improved, service
standards and agent professionalism have declined, according to the
CFIB.

“It’s not easy to comply with a complicated tax code,
especially when the CRA helpline provides you with wrong information, or
when you can’t get through to a CRA agent in the first place,” said
Corrine Pohlmann, CFIB vice-president for national affairs. “As job
creators and taxpayers, small business owners deserve accurate
information and better service from the CRA helpline.”

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In June
and July 2012, CFIB made 145 calls to the CRA call centre business
helpline to gauge the level of service and the accuracy of responses
provided by CRA agents. While nearly all of the CRA agents contacted
provided their names, locations and ID numbers without being prompted,
the call centre had problems with other service indicators. A quarter of
calls received busy signals, 19 per cent of inquiries received
incorrect or incomplete information, and only 61 per cent of callers
received accurate information when they tried to get it.

The good
news for small business is that the government is taking action to
improve CRA’s accountability to taxpayers. On Jan. 21, Minister of
National Revenue Gail Shea announced that a pilot project requiring CRA
agents to provide their ID numbers will be made permanent, and that
agents will receive additional training to better answer questions from
callers.

“While it’s encouraging to see greater accountability at
the CRA helpline, it clearly needs a lot of work to improve customer
service,” added Pohlmann. “In recent years, CFIB has had the opportunity
to work closely with CRA to improve their service to small business.
There has been a lot of progress, and CFIB sincerely hopes this
cooperation will continue.”

Based upon four standardized
questions that are commonly asked by entrepreneurs, CFIB’s CRA Call
Centre Report Card graded the CRA helpline on five service indicators,
including: connecting to an agent (D-), service standard (C+), accuracy
of information (D), accountability (A-), and agent professionalism (C).

The overall grade of C- remains unchanged since CFIB’s last test in November 2010.


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