By Grace Wandera*
This year, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) marks 25 years since its establishment. It is indeed a moment of reflection of the journey that has been. A key highlight of this journey is the tremendous transformation that KRA has undergone over the years in a bid to improve service delivery to this nation.
Part of this transformation has been a gradual change of the 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 in turn translate to higher levels of tax compliance.
But, what exactly constitutes excellence in service delivery? Renowned American poet the late Maya Angelou once said that, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Although the context of this statement might sound general, its underlying meaning in the 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 that taxpayers have easier access to KRA services. For instance, KRA services are now available at the 52 Huduma Centres across the country. This has gone a long way in supplementing service delivery at the tax service offices, formerly KRA stations. This has brought services closer to citizenry at the grassroots level. 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 towards enhancing service delivery.
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 marked in the first week of October to celebrate excellence in customer service. This year’s CS week is themed championing customer convenience. Customer convenience is a key contributor in the achievement of excellence in service delivery.
As it has been the tradition, this year’s CS week will be part of KRA’s Taxpayers Month activities. Taxpayers Month is an annual event during which KRA dedicates the month of October to celebrate compliant taxpayers for their dedication and the tremendous role they play in our country’s economic development. A popular saying has it that a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected. Taxpayers Month activities are therefore a gesture that further underscores the invaluable worth that KRA bestows on taxpayers.
As KRA marks 25 years of its existence, it is an apt opportunity not only to celebrate but also to take stock of lessons learnt for even better days ahead. KRA wishes all taxpayers a happy Taxpayers Month 2020.
Ms Wandera is the Head of Marketing and Communication at KRA