HMRC’s new telephone service – intelligent or not?

HMRC has recently introduced a new way of handling calls on some of its helplines.  

The new system is called Intelligent Telephony Automation or ITA. HMRC say that this new technology will help improve the handling of calls. Instead of being offered different push button options, the system will apparently recognise and react to what the caller says.  

HMRC is also automating elements of the security process, and based on the information that the caller provides the system, the HMRC adviser will know why they are calling and whether or not they have passed security. HMRC is hoping that this will speed up the time that advisers spend with callers; by allowing them to focus on the issue, the call should be completed more quickly. 

This new ITA system will prompt callers to say a few words to describe the reason for their call. It is designed to recognise key words or phrases such as Maternity/RTI/P45 and can forward the call onto the correct adviser or ask further questions if required. HMRC says the system has been widely tested with all accents from all over the UK.  

Have you experienced HMRC’s Intelligent Telephony Automation system? How effectively was your call handled? Do you believe ITA is a quicker way of resolving a query with HMRC by telephone? 

Post a comment below to share your experiences, good or bad. 

Other useful ICAEW links:

TAXtools 1 – Useful HMRC Contact Information

HMRC Service Issues Initiative – update October 2013 

HMRC links:

Research Report – Intelligent Telephony Automation (ITA) Customer Testing

  • I did chuckle when one of the suggestion for what to say was "I've just had a baby". I wonder whose first thought on coming home from the maternity ward is to telephone HMRC.
  • I telephoned with a question regarding Intrastat.
    After several attempts - which bore no resemblance to this word - I gave up and reverted to "VAT" !!!
    Absolutely useless.
  • I have tried to deal with Intrastat for credit card companies and utility companies and every time it's been useless as the system doesn't recognise the words I am using.  Frustration, time wasted and you end up with a push button menu after all of that.  I know many people who refuse to respond in any way to these systems keeping quiet and just waing for it to put you through to a human

    There is enough problem already with the people answering the agent help line not fully understanding the technical matter you might ring up about so how is an electronic system going to help?
  • Like the other comments, the ITA system did not like any word I tried to use.  "Trusts" was
    as clear  as I could get. One of my clients used the "I'm having a baby" , but it did not like that either.  It just stressed her out until she put the phone down.  It would be nice if systems put in place had been adequately tested first. 

    Good job HMRC doesn't  sell life support systems, although a few people might need them if this ITA thing doesn't get sorted out soon !  

    Mind you, it really isn't funny. It's very sad.

  • I too had problems fitting into their criteria, and gave up.