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HMRC's latest email has just been received (extract below)

Didn't find your answer?

‌‌‌‌‌‌Dear customer,

Thank you for your co-operation over the past few weeks as we amended our services for agents to focus on the Self Assessment (SA) peak.

One of the changes we made was introducing webchat for agents. Feedback has told us that this has been a useful addition to our service, so we have decided to continue offering webchat services for our Agent Dedicated Line (ADL) beyond 31‌‌‌ ‌‌January 2024 on both SA and Pay as You Earn (PAYE). This will change how we handle some agent queries going forward.

We are also making some changes to how we support agents who are progress chasing SA, PAYE and Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) tax relief repayments on the ADL – which will begin immediately.

Continuing our webchat service
Offering a webchat service on the ADL not only aligns with our ambitions of serving more customers through digital channels to reduce the number of calls to our helplines, but it’s also been well used by our customers. Around 15,000 agents each month have been using our webchat services.

Our SA ADL webchat will focus on all SA topics in line with how we’ve already been working. Agents will be able to access the service via our digital assistant which is currently dealing with around 40% of all SA queries without the need to transfer to a colleague. Of course, we understand that some agents will have complex or urgent SA queries and will need to speak to one of our advisers – they can still call our ADL, selecting option 1 from the menu if needed.

Our PAYE webchat service will focus on repayment queries and can be accessed through PAYE digital assistant. Agents with PAYE coding queries or complex PAYE queries can once again call the ADL, selecting option 2 from the menu.
 
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There is more of this ... but then most of you can presumably check your Spam folder!

Replies (12)

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By Tom+Cross
30th Jan 2024 14:50

"Around 15,000 agents each month have been using our webchat services".

I wonder how many enjoyed the experience? I certainly didn't. Spent an awful amount of 'downtime' waiting for the representative to type her reply. It reminded me, of the 'old days', when I watched Grandstand, on a Saturday afternoon and the teleprinter brought the football results, live in the studio.

The digital age may well be upon us. It's a tragedy that HMRC won't/can't accept that their quality of basic service, falls well short of acceptable.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Tom+Cross:
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By richard thomas
30th Jan 2024 16:18

Did the HMRC officer use the correct Grandstand convention then, eg "You may get a reply within 30 (Thirty) weeks"?

Thanks (3)
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By mbee1
30th Jan 2024 15:27

The first time I used it, it worked well. It was 8am in a morning and I didn't have to wait very long. Second time I hit a stumbling block as I needed a breakdown of a K code that was not online. OI go the PA and the state pension but there was still an adjustment of about £4k but he couldn't give me that as he was not authorised to do so! What was the point?

Some of our staff have started of at over 200 in the queue and, fortunately, can get on with other stuff whilst waiting.

It may well be a useful addition but it should be treated as that - an addition - and not replace traditional methods of communication such as the telephone.

Thanks (1)
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By jjswjjsw
30th Jan 2024 15:34

I was repeatedly told no agents were available to help when the bot couldn't answer the question. By the end I was asking when agents would be available and it couldn't answer that either.

Thanks (3)
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By Paul Morton
30th Jan 2024 15:40

I used the "Where's my reply" tool earlier in the week as I was chasing a clients repayment. It said that I could expect a response by 5 February, but to allow a further 12 weeks after this date before contacting HMRC! I've also used the "Digital Assistant" but have stopped as I fear something is going to get thrown through the desktop monitor if I keep using it.

Thanks (2)
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By arthvirg230
30th Jan 2024 16:03

i've been told that if you type

Human

followed by

Human

then you bypass the bot and get in the queue to webchat a real person (just sayin!)

Thanks (0)
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By arthvirg230
30th Jan 2024 16:07

i've been told that if you type

Human

followed by

Human

then you bypass the bot and get in the queue to webchat a real person (just sayin!)

Thanks (1)
Replying to arthvirg230:
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By FactChecker
30th Jan 2024 16:37

Shame you don't get two humans when you type
"Human
followed by
Human"
(one of them *might* know the answer).

But at least Aweb gives you an extra, free go!

Thanks (2)
Johny Fartpants Picture
By johnny fartpants
30th Jan 2024 16:11

This is so typical of HMRC these days. The last time I used the chat facility (1.30 pm on Jan 17th):

Me (after receiving a gibberish answer to my question)
"That does not answer my query. May I speak with an agent please?"

HMRC said "Our advisers are not available to discuss your query at the moment.

You can ask another question or end this chat"

So I can open a new tab to be told a second time that no-one is available to discuss my query.

I am quite angry that this total lack of support will undoubtedly have been recorded as an accountant successfully using the new online support because HMRC have already decided that this is the outcome they want. HMRC have always been frustrating but this is a new low point in my opinion.

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VAT
By Jason Croke
30th Jan 2024 16:11

This really is death by a thousand cuts isn't it?

The pace at which HMRC keep withdrawing communication links to taxpayer is alarming, can't email, can't call, can't use chatbot, post gets lost.

Once could think the ultimate aim is to remove all taxpayer interactions and condense HMRC down to what it now appears to be its sole purpose - "give me all your money and ask no questions as to why", which sort of mirrors the strategy of your typical loan shark or street gangster with a length of piping.

How quickly the mighty HMRC has fallen from the dizzy heights of the customer charter to demanding money with menace.

Thanks (5)
Replying to Jason Croke:
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By Tom+Cross
30th Jan 2024 17:14

Mind you Jason, we have to accept that, although we're in an election year, the present administration aren't making any tangible improvements to HMRC and other Government agencies. It's as though everything in the UK is 'tickety-boo', when nothing could be further from the truth. Think Post Office.

Thanks (1)
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By Open all hours
31st Jan 2024 08:27

Clear leader in the race to the bottom.
Shame they have to inflict themselves on us.

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