So the polling’s over and the results are in. Your feedback on HMRC’s response time to telephone enquiries suggest you’ve been on hold for longer than you’d like. What other firms keep you waiting?
It doesn’t look good, with 30% of you (1,166 people) reporting a wait of 46-60 minutes and 28% (1,087) left hanging on for over an hour! Only 1% said they got through in less than five minutes.
On hold to HMRC
DaveW was on hold for an hour and a half:
‘I’m still listening to the “thanks for waiting – one of our advisors will be with you as soon as possible” message 61 minutes after first hearing it! The tune is driving me mad! Do I hang up after wasting over an hour of my life? Or do I wait for them to cut me off? I’m paying for this call – should I cut my losses? They’re still thanking me for waiting though!
‘After 68 minutes 30 seconds – I hear a human voice! Nice man very pleasant (but he couldn’t help) so he passes me on to a Customer Service Advisor – NO – WAIT – too late – on hold again… After 1 hour 33minutes and 15 seconds I speak with ‘John’ – nothing to worry about – the fault is at their end! Oh happy days.’
Mikey, who was on hold for 58 minutes, was very pleased with the service he received when he did get through:
‘Was so worth it in the end. They were super-fast and knowledgeable. Must have been on the phone about two minutes and I was sorted. It’ll take some time to fully forgive them for the wait. But I’ll heal: we all will heal.’
HMRC assure us it is taking steps to improve:
‘We have just completed the recruitment and training of 3,000 staff who will answer calls and letters. We’re also trialling a web-chat service so that simple queries can be answered by contacting an adviser online.’
Who else keeps you on hold?
Let’s hope things get better soon, but are HMRC alone? Do other public organisations keep you waiting for ages, or are there refreshing examples which show it doesn’t have to take forever to get through? How do banks, retailers and broadband providers compare with government bodies? Who stands out for good service and who deserves a wooden spoon?
Is making a phone call the best way to get in touch anyway? Would you rather send an email or use web-chat? Malcolm R suggests a call back option would be more productive:
‘Some well organised outfits allow you to leave your number and then call you back when they have an “advisor” free, instead of leaving you hanging on. Why can’t HMRC organise something like this for their “customers”.’
Given that we seem fated to spend so long ‘on hold’, is there any way of making the experience less dismal? Do you like snatches of classical music or does Barry White make the minutes fly by? Is it less annoying to be told that ‘your call matters to us’ or that ‘you’re number six in the queue’? Of course, you can always entertain yourself by commenting here on Which? Convo.