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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: compulsory verification checks: verification checks based on type of contact: outbound calls

Note: If you work in the Non-Resident Unit, you should follow guidance at DMBM512906.

When making outbound calls it is important to establish that you are speaking to the correct person whilst maintaining professional questioning techniques and bearing in mind that you have called them.

The outbound call verification questions have been designed in such a way that they

  • form the basis of the conversation with the customer
  • allow you to identify who you are taking to and
  • verify that it is acceptable to disclose information to that person.

The customer is required to pass 5 verification checks during outbound calls. Agents are required to pass 4 as we already hold written authority for us to discuss the case with them

Points to note

  • At the start of each call you should ask for the customer by their full name including any middle name(s) or initial(s) as appropriate, where these details are held on record.
  • If the customer asks where you are calling from you should tell them that you are calling from HMRC. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) questions should be attempted (as appropriate) at the start of each call. If the customer passes all five (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) questions you can continue with the call. Agents have to pass four.
  • If the information is not readily available, or the customer fails one of the (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) questions, the (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) question must be replaced with an (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) question.
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  • If the (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) question is failed, advise the customer that they have failed the required verification checks and you are unable to discuss the nature your call with them. If necessary you can advise that you will write to them instead.
  • If you are returning a call to a customer you have already done verification checks on earlier on in the day, it is not necessary to undertake all verification checks again provided that you have firstly asked for the customer by name. You should ask one of the (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) verification checks instead, aside from their name.
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Customer objects to discussing over the phone

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DMTC offices with call recording

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.

Customer (including agents) wants proof you are calling from HMRC

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In DMTC

You should ask the customer (or agent) to call back(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) If the customer or agent fail to do this, normal recovery procedures should continue.

In all other DM offices

If you are dealing with an SA customer ask the customer to call back using the call centre number.

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If you are dealing with a TC customer ask the customer to call back the Tax credit helpline - 0345 300 3900.

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If you are dealing with a VAT customer ask the customer to call back using the National Advice Service helpline - 0300 200 3700.

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If you are unable to use any of the above solutions you should use your general office number if possible, or if you do not have an office number use your direct dial.

The customer refuses to return the call or does not call back

If the customer (or agent) does not call back as requested then normal recovery action should continue.

If the customer (or agent) is unhappy with this or refuses to call back then advise them you will write to them with your next course of action. Normal recovery action should then continue.

Questioning techniques

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Firstly, you should always ask for the customer by title and surname, and then say

‘‘I’m calling from HM Revenue and Customs, for security reasons I need to verify that I am speaking to the correct person……’’

Because the customer has already confirmed their title and surname, it is therefore not necessary to ask for this information again (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , instead ask the customer to confirm their first name only:

‘‘Could you please confirm your first name…’’

Continue to complete the appropriate verification checks.

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If the customer satisfies the verification checks you should say

 

“Thank you [use customer’s name], I’m calling about your outstanding debt/missing return…’’

If the customer refuses to answer the questions

  • advise the customer that you will write to them instead advising on the next course of action.

If the customer wants confirmation that you are calling from HMRC, see above.

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