Listening to the Indonesian community What do 15 indonesian taxpayers think about the Directorate General of Taxes (DGT) call centre scripts?

The Directorate General of Taxes (DGT) worked with partners to design and facilitate a workshop of 15 Indonesian taxpayers. The purpose was to test some draft scripting that we had created for a pilot we were conducting to encourage people to pay their tax debt on time.

Three members of our call centre were observers in the workshop, so they could experience not just what taxpayers were saying, but why they were saying it. The workshop was facilitated by someone outside of DGT to encourage participants to speak freely about their thoughts.

Participants shared their experience of paying debts from other organisations (such as credit card debts), right through to sharing their views on the draft scripts we had prepared for this pilot.

DGT is keen to engage or 'co-design' with the public to gain their views on products and experiences. In this case, the aim was to make the call centre pilot more successful by ensuring the public found it easy and reasonable to engage with.

Here is what happened

“You need to tell me right from the beginning of the call why you’re ringing before asking me many personal questions. Otherwise I would feel worried and concerned.”

The current script asks for a lot of information before it is clear what the phone call is about. So, we changed it to tell people right from the beginning what the purpose of the call was.

Some people queried why DGT was ringing given that the issue didn't feel urgent to them. So, we changed the script to explain that DGT is trying to help people avoid a penalty, and that was very well received.

“You’re asking me for far too much information. Much of it you should already know, and in any case, I’m not going to have it handy and would have to ring you back.”

People felt the proof of identity (POI) we were asking for was onerous and possibly unnecessary? For example, people pointed out that they don’t carry their Tax Identification Number with them, and others said they don’t know the exact name of the office they’re registered with.

So, we committed to seeing whether we could redesign the script to make it less likely that we would need people to provide proof of identity. Perhaps we only needed proof of identity if the taxpayer wanted to have a detailed conversation about their personal circumstance? Also, we reviewed the information we asked for outside of proof of identity. The key example was when people claim they've already paid their debt, and we seek proof of payment: people are asked when they paid, how, the amount, and the receipt number. Their belief was that we should already have the record of payment...

“There’s far too much information provided. Give me the option to hear all the detail, or offer me another channel such as sending me an email or referring me to your web site.”

Options to pay: people felt they didn’t need to be taken through all of these in the phone call. So, we're looking at gaining people’s email address in the phone call (which will be useful for further engagement if needed). We could send people a follow up email with links to the web site for payment options.

“Some of the language you’re using is jargon or is too formal. It’s not engaging and I’m less likely to pay attention. Use simple language with no acronyms.”

One or two points in our draft scripts caused a real reaction for being too formal. So. we fixed them to make them less formal.

“The timing of the call is a big deal for me. I am comfortable speaking during business hours, preferably after lunch.”

Several people raised that they would not appreciate being rung during a meal time, or early in the morning. So, we're going to be conscious of the timing of calls.

So what?

This process has given DGT an opportunity to make our scripts far more effective by simplifying them. For example, the amount of content we were seeking from taxpayers would have meant that it would take mulitple calls for people to comply, which is a bad outcome for the taxpayer and us. The process encouraged us to take a close look at why we were asking for certain information, and as a result, we were able to reduce some of the information.

15 people, 2 hours, some practical issues we easily fixed. 1 good outcome.

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