How Low Can You Go?

The IRS’ call center should strive to meet credit union standards.


The IRS National Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report to Congress a few weeks ago announced that in the upcoming tax season, the IRS call center is forecasted to answer 71.2% of taxpayer calls in 11 minutes and 38 seconds. 

While a seasonal operation, this expected performance is down significantly from the middle part of this decade where service levels averaged 80% of calls in just over 4 minutes. Significant changes in the tax code, multiple stimulus payouts, and inadequate staffing have put pressure on the IRS’ call center.

Credit unions, by contrast, have increased emphasis on their call centers. While striving to be more efficient and productive, credit union call centers’ first concern is the member. According to our most recent survey data, credit union call centers strive to answer 80% of member calls in 30 seconds or less.

Other key stats from our survey:

  • In the average surveyed call center, 16% of the staff is employed on a part-time basis.
  • There is one full-time equivalent call center employee per 5,200 members.
  • One-third of credit union call centers do not have an active sales program.

For more on credit union call centers, use the ‘call center’ tag on