Service Public Fédéral (SPF) Finances collects and processes tax for the government of Belgium. Every day, the organisation’s contact centre receives a large number of queries from taxpayers. Many require consultation from an expert who may not be available. By implementing a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, SPF Finances has improved the efficiency of front-line staff, resulting in better customer service.
As the Federal Public Finance Department of Belgium, SPF Finances is responsible for collecting tax for the government. The department processes all income tax returns and ensures payment of road, land registry, inheritance, and value-added tax.
Taxpayers who need advice on filling out their annual tax returns, or those who disagree with their tax bill, can go to one of 6,000 offices, or call the contact centre, which is staffed by hundreds of employees. Taxpayers can also email their queries or fill out electronic forms on the organisation’s website.
Although contact centre staff can address most issues, some queries are too complex for customer service staff, in which case they’re forwarded to staff members with
expertise in the appropriate topics. Louis Collet, ICT Manager of SPF Finances, says: “This was where we ran into trouble. People sometimes got lost in the corridors of the tax department when trying to find the right office. And it was difficult to transfer a caller to the right person because the telephone systems of different departments couldn’t communicate with one another.”
In addition, the organisation didn’t keep accurate statistics of taxpayers’ queries. Collet says: “Email and web forms were stored into a computerised system, but phone calls—representing 90 per cent of queries—were not registered.” The only exception was when the question needed to be answered by employees in the back office. But then there was no tracking system to show what happened once a taxpayer was referred to the back office.
Managers at SPF Finances needed a way to coordinate and manage queries, tracking the life cycle of queries while providing the information customer service staff needed to do their jobs.Solution
SPF Finances put out a tender to find a solution provider. Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Delaware Consulting won the bid and developed InfoFin—combining Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Microsoft SharePoint Services—specifically for SPF Finances. Microsoft Dynamics CRM serves as the infrastructure for managing queries while staff can answer more complex queries by logging on to the organisation’s SharePoint portal for additional information.
The installation included integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the organisation’s disparate telephone systems. Not only did the new software have to be compatible with the existing IT infrastructure, the different telephone systems had to communicate easily with one another. Jurgen Gerregat, Senior Functional Consultant at Delaware Consulting, says: “We saved a lot of time by using a software development methodology based on Rapid Application Development. At the end of each month, we demonstrated what had been carried out. If users were happy with the work completed, we moved on to the next stage. If they weren’t happy, it meant a maximum of only one month’s work had to be redone.”
“This method made users feel more involved in the project,” adds Collet. “It explains why the new system was so well accepted once it was fully implemented—and why it’s so well used today.”
SPF Finances employees can now find callers’ files in the InfoFin system, showing whether the person has called before and rating satisfaction with previous queries. Contact centre staff use a script to ask the questions needed to categorise queries into three possible scenarios:
Queries that can be immediately answered by contact centre employees, with the help of information contained in the InfoFin portal
Problems relating to new regulations following changes in tax code—for example, the recent introduction of green energy. These queries enter the escalation process
Complex queries about the specific situation of an individual taxpayer. These are referred directly to an expert who understands the nuances of tax regulations and has access to individuals’ recordsBenefits
With its successful deployment of InfoFin, SPF Finances has improved efficiency and increased insight into global trends that affect the organisation. This leads to better customer service, supporting the federal government’s aim to make public services more customer-focused.
Efficient query management. Taxpayers are helped more quickly and to a higher standard. Their queries are better managed and dealt with in a more consistent manner.
Shorter waiting times. With InfoFin, contact centre employees can help more callers at the same time, cutting back the amount of time callers wait for their query to be dealt with. “This is especially important at peak times—for example, just before the deadline for filing the annual tax return,” says Collet.
Better utilised experts. Now, experts are only called on for less than 10 per cent of cases, which means they can focus on strategic matters. “Our experts can spend more time on global solutions, adding greater value to our organisation,” says Collet.
More secure systems. Although staff have quick access to all the data they need to provide excellent customer service, taxpayers’ personal data is better protected. Thierry Verheggen, Head of the Architecture and Infrastructure Division, Service Public Fédéral (SPF) Finances, says: “By asking a few security questions, we can easily establish if a caller is trying to obtain someone else’s information. What’s more, operations are kept up-to-date more efficiently than in the past, further avoiding possible abuse.”
Transparent views of enquiries. Staff now have the tools they need to quickly pinpoint whether a problem has arisen within the organisation’s infrastructure. “Previously, if 10 people called with the same query, we treated it as 10 separate matters, because no one had an overall view of the situation,” says Collet. “Today, employees can see if a query is occurring regularly, so it can be addressed at a higher level.”This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.