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Why taxman is putting service first

By Grace Wandera | October 17th 2020

This year, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) marks 25 years since its establishment. It is indeed a moment of reflection on the journey that has been. A key highlight is the tremendous transformation KRA has undergone over the years in a bid to improve service delivery.

Part of this transformation has been a gradual change of tax administration approach from entirely enforcement to a more customer-centric approach anchored on facilitation. KRA has particularly been keen on prioritising taxpayer facilitation in the quest to attain the highest level of excellence in service delivery. This will translate to higher levels of tax compliance. But, what exactly constitutes excellence in service delivery? Renowned American poet the late Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

The statement might sound general, but its underlying meaning in service delivery perspective is invaluable. How the customer feels at the end of the day is a key tenant of excellent service delivery or lack thereof.

KRA’s customer-centric approach in the delivery of its mandate has been actualised through an array of strategic initiatives implemented over the years. These initiatives range from technological advancements to enhanced staff capacity across the country where KRA has footprints. When it comes to leverage on technology, KRA is arguably one of most advanced tax administrations in the region.

The various technologies in place have made it easier for taxpayers to virtually access KRA services from the comfort of their offices or homes. In turn, compliance levels have progressively gone up. Through modern technological tools and the contact centre, virtual assistance of taxpayers has also been made easier. This came in handy especially at the peak of the past annual filing season where physical office visits were discouraged on the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. KRA’s contact centre customer assistance platforms include the mailing system, telephony, self-service portals and social media platforms, all which are anchored on the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System.

CRM is a state-of-the-art system which has revolutionised how KRA engages with taxpayers virtually. Diversification of the virtual customer assistance platforms is informed by the need to take care of the equally diversified base of taxpayers.

KRA has further enhanced its geographic presence and footprint in the country, which is part of the revised service delivery framework. The aim is to ensure taxpayers have easier access to KRA services. For instance, KRA services are now available at the 52 Huduma centres. This has supplemented service delivery at tax service offices, formerly KRA stations and brought services closer to citizenry. Getting closer to the taxpayer is in the spirit of facilitation. Rebranding of KRA offices from Stations to Tax Service Offices (TSOs) has also been part of the remarkable journey.

The customer-centric approach adopted by the authority has continued to shape taxpayers’ attitude and perceptions towards KRA and tax payment at large. A customer satisfaction index survey conducted in 2018/2019 ranked KRA’s customer satisfaction level at 73.4 per cent. This pointed out to a tremendous improvement in customer satisfaction compared to a 65 per cent score in a preceding 2015/2016 survey.

It is against the backdrop of customer value that KRA joined other corporate bodies in the world to mark this year’s annual Customer Service (CS) Week. The CS Week is an international annual event to celebrate excellence in customer service.

-The writer is the Head of Marketing and Communication at KRA

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