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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Customer contact and data security: telephone contact: telephone technique: opening and closing the call

 

Inbound calls - call opening

The call should be opened with

‘’Good morning/afternoon/evening, Revenue and Customs’’

Once you have established that the call is from a customer (or authorised third party) and not an internal call, you should then ask for their reference number and complete the correct verification checks.

See the inbound caller verification checks at DMBM512920.

Inbound calls - call closing

It is good practice to summarise a call prior to closing to ensure both you and the customer understand any arrangements, agreement or discussions that you have had.

You should then thank the customer/third party and close the call in the normal way.

Outbound calls - call opening

The call should be opened with

‘’Good morning/afternoon/evening, please can I speak to (customer’s name / the director / the company secretary)?’’

Customer answers the phone/takes the call

Once you are speaking to the customer you should say

‘’ (customer’s name) I am calling from Revenue and Customs. For security purposes could you just confirm…’’

You should then take the customer through the correct verification checks.

See the outbound call verification checks at DMBM512930.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Customer objects to discussing over the phone

A customer may have many reasons why they do not wish to continue a conversation with you. They may, for example, object to the call being recorded or may be speaking from the workplace and find it difficult to discuss their affairs. Customers and their agents are also as concerned as we are about bogus callers so you may encounter requests for you to confirm your identity during an outbound call. This type of request may be more common if your call is unexpected or unsolicited.

You should do your utmost to satisfy their concerns and you will normally be able to do this by reference to earlier correspondence, telephone calls or other interactions with the department (for example, issue dates of forms or other outputs such as an SA Statement of Account, and so on). You can provide your name and a return telephone number if you fail to satisfy the customer or their agent during the initial call but you need to make them aware that any return call will probably not be answered by you personally.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) DMBM510920(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

DMTC offices with call recording - outbound calls

Once you have completed the appropriate security verification checks and are satisfied you are speaking to the right party, you should say

“Before I continue I must advise you that this call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.”

If a customer wishes to know what you mean when you say “quality and training purposes” you can say the aim is to:

  • provide a service that is consistent to all our customers
  • ensure that all customers receive a quality service with accurate information given and the correct internal action taken
  • identify any areas where the service provided does not reach agreed standards
  • take steps to eradicate errors and improve the service given.

If a customer objects to the call being recorded, you should ask the reason for their objection. If the customer is adamant they do not wish to continue with the conversation on the grounds the call is being recorded you should explain to the customer you will refer their case on and someone else will be in contact however you must make them aware of our processes (in other words, mention the consideration of legal proceedings if their case is not dealt with).

Once the call has ended you must put a clear note on the record explaining the customer objected to being contacted by DMTC because our calls are recorded. Follow the guidance for “Other Scenarios” in the appropriate Campaign Scenarios to update IDMS accordingly. The campaign DTO will review your notes and take the appropriate follow-up action.

Third party answers the phone and customer is not there

Customer’s main reference number is NINO

If the customers record is accessed using a National Insurance Number, you should leave a message with the third party saying

‘’Could you please ask (customer’s name) to return this call on (give return number) quoting their National Insurance Number. Our opening hours are (give hours)’’

It is very important that you do not give out the customers National Insurance Number to a third party.

If you are giving a direct dial number and you are the caseworker dealing with the customer directly, you can request that the customer asks for you by name when they return the call.

Customer’s main reference number is any other Head of Duty

If the customer’s record is accessed by any other reference number other than a NINO then you should leave a message with the third party saying

‘’Could you please ask (customer’s name) to return this call on (give return number) quoting reference number (their ref - UTR, PAYE, VAT ref, CT etc). Our opening hours are (give hours)’’

If you are giving a direct dial number and you are the caseworker dealing with the customer directly, you can request that the customer asks for you by name when they return the call.

Outbound calls - call closing

It is good practice to summarise a call prior to closing to ensure both you and the customer understand any arrangements, agreement or discussions that you have had.

You should then thank the customer/third party and close the call in the normal way.

Outdoor calls - opening

When undertaking outdoor work you should remain polite and professional at all times. You should greet the customer and open the call in the normal way, for example

‘’Good morning / afternoon / evening please can I speak to (customer’s name / the director / the company secretary)?

Once you believe you are speaking to the correct individual you should complete the correct verification check.

See the outdoor call verification checks at DMBM512940.

If you are speaking to a third party you should follow the guidance at DMBM512900.

Once you have established that you are definitely speaking to the customer or authorised third party, normal recovery procedures should follow.

Outdoor calls - closing

You should summarise your actions and what you are expecting from the customer before leaving.

Answering machines

If the customer is not in when you call and you connect to an answering machine, you should follow the guidance at DMBM511200.