We received an unprecedented number of Self Assessment returns online this year - 89% or 9.24m customers. This is fantastic and I wanted to share with you some other numbers I’m excited by. They really do highlight how the right technology is helping us achieve the channel shift we can see taking place.
So how did the 2016 peak compare to 2015? Well, this year we received:
- 480k more returns online
- 300k less paper returns - down 21%
- 41k fewer calls - down 7% - and, in addition, a further 88k customers got the help they needed through webchat instead of having to phone us
And we halved phone waiting times, down to just over 5 minutes.
Two particular platforms are providing the foundations for our move to digital channels.
The first is our Multi-channel Digital Tax Platform or MDTP, which hosts the digital tax accounts at the heart of our digital future, plus all of our new online services.
So far the MDTP has enabled us to:
- launch 28 new digital services
- bring 3.5m business customers into the Business Tax Account
- enable more than 900k individuals to access their Personal Tax Account since it launched at the end of November 2015
- save more than £8m in operating costs
- replace 85 forms with submittable forms that can be tracked.
Taking all of this together, the MDTP has handled more than a staggering 55m visits to date, including 946k on SA deadline day this year alone.
The second is the Contact Platform we launched at the end of 2014, which we’ve rolled out to 22,000 staff so we are now running, we believe, the largest virtual contact centre on the planet.
Through the Contact Platform, we are able to support flexible working and new digital tools to help our customers interact with their digital accounts. Over the SA period this meant we were able to have:
- 600 extra HMRC staff trained to use webchat, extended office hours to 22:00 and a working from home trial providing a service to midnight for the last two weeks of the SA peak 2016
- over 114,000 webchats between customers and HMRC advisers
- an 11% reduction in call demand in Jan 2016 compared with the same period last year
More widely, over the course of this year we’ve seen:
- 1m customers use our virtual assistant to get answers to routine questions and extra support to navigate HMRC content on GOV.UK
- 250k people using our comments and questions channel
- 66k interactions on our Twitter account including general questions and replies to tweets (since Nov 2014)
- 1,600 questions posted on Facebook (since June 2015)
And finally, a quick scan of my Twitter feed and I found plenty to make our our Digital team and frontline staff feel proud - here are just a few snippets,
Of course, our SA achievements this year are not just down to technology but to the planning, and hard work of staff right across our organisation.
There’s so much more coming and my next post will be a look ahead to what you can expect to see in 2016/17.