The Biden Administration’s Executive Order (EO) to Transform Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government prompted agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to look for innovative solutions to improve service delivery, including streamlined communications.
In 2021, the IRS received approximately 282 million calls from citizens. Much of this call surge was due to COVID stimulus checks, but customer service representatives could only answer 11 percent of the calls. In the wake of a tripling of call volume numbers, and a 40 percent reduction in IRS staff since 2010, the IRS is seeking new ways to increase efficiency and decrease wait times.
One solution that serves constituents and provides a better digital customer experience is Conversational Voice Response (CVR). The IRS has been able to invest in CVR capabilities through the GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract. These capabilities are revolutionizing how the IRS serves citizens.
These were the key themes of the latest Government Technology Insider podcast. Stephen Sopko, Managing Client Partner at Verizon, discussed how the IRS is providing a better digital customer experience through the use of CVR technology.
“When you look at the number of technologies available, voice channels still take the majority of calls, and natural language IVR gives you the ability to feel like you are chatting with an agent,” said Sopko. “It all started with helping Americans get those payments when they needed it. We went into tech demo with the IRS, and over 70 percent of the calls were contained in the IVR. This led into expanding Conversational IVR at the IRS.”