February 12, 1998
IRS Looking for Customer Feedback
to Improve Services
WASHINGTON - How would you rate the treatment you received
during an IRS audit? How prompt was the service you received at an
IRS walk-in office? The Internal Revenue Service wants to know. Your
experience with the services that the IRS provides could be the
basis for real improvements to the IRS's customer service.
In a new series of upcoming surveys, taxpayers who have dealt
with the IRS will be asked to complete questionnaires to rate the
service they received. The results of those surveys will be used to
improve customer service at the IRS. While customer satisfaction
surveys are not new to the IRS, past surveys that asked taxpayers to
rate the IRS's services did not require respondents to have had any
actual experiences on which to base their opinions.
"For the first time, we're looking at specific services through
our customers' eyes," said IRS Commissioner Charles 0. Rossotti.
"It's time for the IRS to start looking at everything we do from the
taxpayers' perspective, rather from our own viewpoint, so that we
can provide first-rate service to our customers,"
Last month, Rossotti unveiled a new concept of modernized
operations for the IRS to deliver significantly improved service.
The concept requires significant changes in five areas, including
balanced measures of performance. "Our current measures are more
oriented toward IRS internal operations, and fail to account for
taxpayer satisfaction. These surveys will help to provide the
balance we need to measure the agency's performance," Rossotti said.
In the initial phase of the surveys, customers will be asked to
rate services ranging from toll-free telephone and walk-in taxpayer
service, to audits of employee plans and exempt organizations.
Customers will also rate telephone and field collection services,
audits of their individual tax returns, and the appeals process. In
later phases, the surveys will be expanded to include other
The surveys were designed and are being conducted by a private
contractor with extensive experience in survey design and
implementation. These ongoing surveys will provide the IRS with
customer service feedback at the district, regional and national
level, and are expected to begin later this month.
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