Deputy Commissioner, Kenya Revenue Authority
Next Generation Customer Experience
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was established by an Act of Parliament, Chapter 469 of the laws of Kenya, which became effective on 1st July 1995. The Authority is charged with the responsibility of collecting revenue on behalf of the Government of Kenya. KRA administers and enforces written laws and provisions pertaining to the assessment, collection and accounting of government revenues. A Board of Directors, consisting of both public and private sector experts, makes policy decisions to be implemented by KRA Management.
KRA needed to reduce its dependence on foreign aid and grants and rely more on tax collection as a revenue stream to drive the country’s growth and development. KRA has the challenge to increase tax collection where compliance has been extraordinarily low. KRA had to restructure its entire organization to reduce the burden of compliance because people were fed up with the internal bureaucracy and flat out refused to file their taxes. In fact, only about 11% of Kenya’s working adults have paid their taxes in recent years.
A primary reason for not filing taxes was inconvenience. Before rolling out the new CRM platform, taxpayers had to pay taxes in person, which put undue burden on citizens who often had to travel hundreds of miles to file. The resulting high delinquency rate not only put pressure on government spending, but also discouraged foreign direct investment, prompting the government to introduce new policies and online tools that make the process easier and more efficient.
KRA’s omnichannel CRM platform is powered by Oracle Service Cloud, Policy Automation, Social Cloud & Marketing Cloud. The CRM went live in time for the 2018 tax season, allowing citizens to contact tax specialists, ask questions, and communicate disputes while eliminating the need to travel to a physical location. CRM lets KRA staff respond to tax payer queries in real-time via web or phone but it will be extended to KRA’s physical service centers throughout the country to serve walk-in customers.
KRA can now communicate compelling reasons for voluntary tax compliance while building its repository of info to help taxpayers comply with regulations and get quick answers. CRM capabilities include email and web self-service; voice channel via integration to Cisco telephony (CTI); management of incidents and queries from social networks plus social sentiment measurment tools to analyze digital body language in an effort to better understand the taxpayer of the future.
Today, about 100 KRA agents use Oracle Service Cloud & Social Cloud to respond to taxpayer requests, complaints and comments via CRM, Twitter, Facebook, email, and call centers nationwide. The average response time has shrunk from weeks to about 30 minutes.
For each problem the service team solves, Service Cloud tracks the amount of revenue collected. In one instance, when the CRM erroneously blocked about 96K personal ids, KRA was able to quickly id and fix the problem, but it also collected $4.19M in added tax revenue within 6 months.
KRA's customer engagement framework with anywhere anytime service is vital to helping it drive compliance. Agents can see taxpayers’ full details and better respond to queries with informed, personalized responses regardless of channel. The KB is accessible to both agents and taxpayer’s via a Customer Portal, enhancing First Contact Resolution by empowering customers with accurate information. With Ask A Question functionality, taxpayers can send service requests from the portal instead of calling a contact center. If taxpayers prefer assisted service, KRA offers Live Chat.
KRA uses Oracle Social Cloud to integrate and monitor its social channels (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) from one platform. Initially each channel was monitored individually causing long delays in response times. Using Oracle has led to an increase in response rates from 83% to 94% and response times to almost 10 minutes.
Since KRA launched its cloud-based taxpayer service platform last year (in 2017), more than 3 million citizens filed their 2017 income tax returns by the June 30, 2018, deadline, up 26% from the previous year. That 3 million represents 16% of the total estimated working adult population, up from the 11% who filed in 2017. The authority collected $13.65 billion in the 2016-2017 financial year, up from $12.1 billion in the 2015-2016 financial year. Improved customer perception of the authority (taxpayers see it as more approachable).
With a reduced call abandonment rate, a significant drop in customer response time and increased engagement across different channels, KRA has registered an increased score of 71.9% (an increase of 6.9%) on the Customer Satisfaction Index; a clear indication of the hassle free and seamless taxpayer experience now being delivered by the government authority. The organizations social media engagement rate has doubled, customer query response time has improved from an average of an hour to only 15 minutes, and the resulting insights have enhanced KRA’s understanding of customers and their needs.
Oracle Service Cloud, Oracle Policy Automation, Oracle Social Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua)
As the cloud-based service platform continues to improve Kenya’s tax collection rate, it will also help improve the country’s standing in the global economy. Specifically, the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” index ranks economies based on how easy it is for companies to start and operate a business there. Improving Kenya’s ranking will be important in attracting foreign direct investment, an essential source of funding for new infrastructure, energy sources, and jobs.
In 2018, KRA will integrate more users into the system to further enhance service delivery across all relevant customer touch points and communication channels. The complete integration of Oracle is set to be completed; following which it will be positioned as KRA’s gateway to its online and offline services.
Throughout the process, KRA has undertaken extensive staff training to ensure that employees are engaged with the system and capable of using it to its full potential.
For KRA, while the early progress has been exceptional, the country’s improved tax-compliance rate is expected to make Kenyan institutions less dependent on donations and other charitable sources. According to Wandera, “Improving tax compliance isn’t some trivial bureaucratic activity,” she says. “It’s an imperative to our sovereignty as an African nation.” KRA is preparing for this shining moment.