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Call Center for Ministry of Taxation

Call Center Requirements:

  1. We would like to organize one automatic call-center for the entire ministry.
    • Do you want it to work for taxpayers outside the ministry only or do you want to use this system for internal employees inside the ministry, too?
    • I have a dumb question... Do most Russians have touch tone telephones or do many still have rotary dial telephones?  If many people have rotary telephones, then you will have to make sure you get a software system that uses voice recognition. 

  2. The menu must be very large and complex, but the contents must be easy to understand.
    • Yes, I understand.  This is the biggest challenge.  Many call center systems are not very user-friendly.
    • The I.R.S. phone system is HUGE and confusing.  You will have to do much planning to make sure your system is easy to use.  You will need to put all the menu choices on a large map and test the logic with many people.
    • When I worked at Tektronix, we hired a consultant to help us develop a user-friendly menu system.  It was a very expensive consultant who told us what logic a caller likes to hear when they call this kind of system.  I don't know if it was worth the money, but it is something to consider.

  3. We don't want to have any support agents. Russian legislation, legal concept & law practice don't allow law support by phone.
    • Yes, I understand.  The United States is the same way. 
    • Since you won't have support agents, this will make the whole project much smaller and easier.

  4. We are willing to let taxpayer wait half of minute.
    • Now that I know that you don't want to have support agents, you will not need to have any wait time.  The automatic system will work immediately.
    • If many Russians have rotary phones, then will you want them to talk to a support agent?  Let me explain.  Call routing systems rely on the "beep" of the touch tone phones to tell them which menu to go to.  When the U.S. first set up call routing systems, some people still had rotary phones.  The voice on the phone would say, "With your touch tone phone, please select from the following options.  If you have a rotary phone, please hold and a support agent will be with you shortly."

  5. We will be open 24x7.
    • Since this is an automated system, it can be open all the time.
    • The call center software should let you update menus without interrupting service.

  6. We want to give out information convenient for automatic answering.
    • You can have menu choices that give mailing addresses, web site information, descriptions of forms... anything you want.  You will need to choose what you want to tell them. 
    • You will need to find somebody who has a good voice that is willing to record all the information.  It can take a long time and require a big commitment from someone, especially the first time you do it.  I was the telephone voice for a company I worked for several years ago, Mentor Graphics Corporation.  It was time consuming to keep the menu up to date!  I am a friend of the man who does the telephone voice for Intel and he has done most of the work now and only has to update it once in a while.  You can call 011-1-916-356-1234 to hear how Intel's system works.  It is actually a small menu system because Intel employees HATE big phone menus.  It is also used to contact support agents, so it is different than what you want.

  7. For tax advice, forms etc we will direct customers to our web-site at   We already have an FAQ on our site and want to develop this resource further.
    • This is one way to do it... I'll talk more about the fax system below.

  8. The fax information system is of interest now.
    • Yes, this is great.  Do you have software that tells you how many people go to those pages?  If you have this, you can tell which documents are helpful to people and which documents nobody needs.  This is very valuable information.
    • See more information below.

  9. We really want to use software, but we don't know what a call tracking software
    system can do.  For example, the Symposium from Nortel Networks is a a call
    tracking software system?  What is the main function for a call tracking software system?
    • A call tracking software system can do all of the following:
      • Design all your menus on the phone system that a customer will hear when they call your Ministry of Taxation telephone number.  In the U.S., we call these phone numbers "information Lines" or computer at your desk.  Your desktop computer will connect to a larger server computer that hosts the application.
      • Records all the words you use for each menu selection.
      • Allows you to move menus around that have already been recorded to any part of your phone tree (menu system).
      • Creates reports that tells you which menu choices are the most popular.
      • Some systems allow you to set up a fax system, often called "Fax on Demand."  For example, you can guide a customer to a list of documents they might want faxed back to them.  They can choose the document number with their phone keys and then the system will ask them to enter their fax number.  Very shortly, the document will be faxed to the customer.  The IRS Fax on Demand system can be heard at 011-1-703-368-9694. 
      • Helps you connect the phone system software to your telephone equipment.
      • Route calls to support agents based on the topic or information needed.  (Probably won't apply to you)
    • Call tracking systems can do MANY, MANY things.  I looked at Nortel Symposium and it looks very good.  However, it is designed primarily for connecting your phone system to support agents.  I will have to look at some smaller, simpler products to see if they can fit your needs at a lower price. 
    • Most products are sold in "modules."  This means that you can buy only specific things you need.  You will want to be careful what you buy since these systems can be very expensive and may provide you with more than you need.
    • I will find out what system Intel uses to give you more ideas.

I have some more questions to ask you, so please respond if you can.

  1. When do you want to complete this project?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. Will you use an Intel computer to run this software?  (I hope so!)
  4. Can someone from Intel Russia contact you?  Since they speak Russian, they could help translate.

There are so many more things to think about, but I have to go to bed now.  Please respond to me with more comments or questions.  Take care for now.



Copyright 2002 Dave Molinari.  All rights reserved.