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Don’t handle your customer complaints like the ATO

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 | By Taskmaster

Etaskmasterarlier today, I read something that made my blood boil, prior to it turning to steam and, ultimately, superheating into molten plasma.

 

According to this article by Chris Seage, an Australian Taxation Office whistleblower alleges the organisation “adopted a formal goal of ensuring that taxpayer objections to audit decisions were upheld in less than 20% of cases, regardless of the merit of these objections”. The unstated implication, of course, is that 80% of cases should not be upheld.

 

The whistleblower is now suing the Commissioner of Taxation, Michael D’Ascenzo, claiming she was bullied when she formally lodged a complaint.

 

Obviously, D’Ascenzo remains innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

 

That being said, as long-time readers will know, at the best of times, the ATO sits somewhere between government regulators and Fair Work Australia on Old Taskmaster’s list of “favourite things”. Especially when it comes time to fill out a BAS form or do the payroll.

 

So it will come as little shock that when it comes to how the ATO allegedly handle their customer complaints, the advice from Taskmaster Towers is simple: Do the opposite.

 

When it comes to setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for handling customer complaints, the common sense things to cover are customer retention rates, successful complaint resolution and complaint handling time. While customer retention rates aren’t an issue for the ATO, for obvious reasons, they certainly should be for your business.

 

Also be sure to train your customer-facing staff to use the LEAP method if you haven’t already. You should also try to get them to log the issues customers complain about.

 

If you receive a large number of customers complaining about a particular issue, you must investigate the matter further. In contrast, blaming a customer service rep for going over their 20% complaint quota for the month is utterly absurd.

 

So make sure your KPIs encourage customer service rather than complaint quota targets.

 

Get it done – today!