CRA Call Centre gets another C-

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As you are no doubt aware, navigating Canada’s tax code is one of the most complex and time consuming aspects of running a business. This puts the CRA call centre in the position of being an indispensable resource for each and every small and medium-sized business in Canada.

Looking for answers

We know you rely on CRA call centre agents to help solve your most important tax issues and that any delays or errors in your tax records could result in serious consequences. So we investigated through the use of secret callers to ensure that our members not only get to speak to a CRA agent in a timely manner, but also that we can rely on that information being correct.

Gauging the level of service on your behalf

CFIB’s CRA call centre report card provides a glimpse into the level of service many business owners experience when calling the CRA call centre. The purpose is to gauge this service and recommend measures to the government on how to improve it.

Here is the breakdown of that overall C- grade:

  • Accountability (A+): One good piece of news is that we saw a laudable increase in agents providing their name and agent identification number.
  • Accuracy of Information (D-): The accuracy of information provided by the CRA call centre has unfortunately diminished. In total, only 69 per cent of inquiries resulted in complete and accurate answers. This is a decrease from the 2012 survey, where 76 per cent all responses were complete, a third of all callers are still receiving incorrect or insufficient information.
  • Connecting to an Agent (F): The lackluster evaluation was for the most part due to the high number of calls that did not reach a CRA agent – nearly 30 per cent. On many occasions, our secret callers simply couldn’t get past the busy signals. The number of calls that were unsuccessful at reaching an agent is up a discouraging 50 per cent since 2012.
  • Wait Time (B+): Once in the queue, callers waited only two minutes on average, which is the goal set out by the CRA service standard.
  • Agent Professionalism (D): While the vast majority of agents tried their best to answer our questions, some put little effort into answering our questions clearly and correctly. Some agents simply read the answer off of the website, while others directed the caller to the webpage without providing a verbal answer. Agents should give clear and concise responses to questions and provide examples to ensure that callers have a good understanding of the answer.

Putting on the pressure

Making sure you get accurate and timely answers is key to fulfilling your legal and fiscal requirements efficiently. CFIB is committed to keeping pressure on the CRA to continually find ways to offer better service to small business owners.

While we applaud the government’s investments in the call centre from Budget 2016, we encourage them to continue making good customer service a priority.

 

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