Finweek English Edition - - Openers - HAY­LEY GOOD­WIN

I FIRST CALLED Rev­enue’s call cen­tre in early De­cem­ber 2006, as I wanted to know how long it would take to get a tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cate for a for­eign in­vest­ment. The call cen­tre agent was quick to an­swer, was cour­te­ous and help­ful and told me it would take 10 work­ing days to process once I’d sub­mit­ted the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments.

Twelve calls to the call cen­tre, four re­quests for es­ca­la­tion and/or to speak to a team leader or man­ager and 34 work­ing days later I still don’t have that elu­sive piece of pa­per.

The prob­lems? First, con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent call cen­tre per­son­nel. De­pend­ing on whom you speak to, the cer­tifi­cates should take ei­ther 10 or 21 days to is­sue. I’m still none the wiser as to which it is. More staff train­ing re­quired.

Sec­ond, there ap­pears to be a dis­con­nect be­tween Rev­enue’s call cen­tre and its re­gional of­fices. The call cen­tre per­son­nel don’t seem able to do much more than flag prob­lems on their sys­tem and re­quest a re­sponse from the re­gional of­fice. That’s prob­lem­atic when no re­sponse is forth­com­ing af­ter al­most two months.

Third, call cen­tre agents shouldn’t make prom­ises they (or their re­gional of­fice col­leagues) can’t keep. It just means more calls to the call cen­tre from an irate cus­tomer.

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