The concept of taxation is as old as human society. Yet this practice hasn’t always evolved to meet our modern expectations. Taxation is a notoriously inconvenient process, and citizens don’t always understand its benefit.
Take Kenya, for example, where 97 out 100 citizens own mobile phones that they use for mobile services like banking. Yet, four years ago, Kenyans couldn’t pick up their phones to call the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) about their taxes, nor could they reach them online. In fact, citizens were required to travel long distances just to pay their taxes in person. And if there were any discrepancies in that process, they had to make that trip again. The burden of compliance was on Kenya’s citizens.
According to KRA, only 11% of the country’s working adults paid their taxes in 2017. The primary reason was inconvenience, coupled with a mistrust of government bureaucracy. This high delinquency rate not only put pressure on government spending, but also discouraged foreign direct investment, prompting the government to introduce new policies and tools to make the process easier and more transparent for both Kenyans and KRA.
KRA adopted an omnichannel, cloud-based CRM platform. Their CRM went live in time for the 2018 tax season, allowing citizens to contact tax specialists and ask questions in person or through email, phone, live chat, and social media to troubleshoot any misunderstandings. Tax payers could also self-serve, accessing a knowledge base and accurate information about their personal account via the Customer Portal.
Citizens found KRA to be more approachable, and according to the agency, it’s Customer Satisfaction Index increased by 6.9% – indicating the improved, hassle free experience. This “anytime, anywhere” engagement strategy was vital to drive compliance and communicate compelling reasons to actually pay their taxes.
For the first time, KRA had a two-way form of communication. As the organization began to better understand citizen needs, its social media engagement rate doubled. This platform allowed them to build relationships, and proactively reach out and begin to change constituents’ perception of the institution. When KRA sent out a Christmas message last year, recipients were touched by its personalization. They shared the message with their networks, and it wasn’t long before KRA was positively trending on Twitter.
Even more telling, since the launch of its cloud-based taxpayer service platform, KRA reported that more than 3 million citizens filed their tax returns by the 2018 deadline, an increase by 26% from the previous year. That compliance equated to $13.65 billion – funds that, according to the agency, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign aid grants, driving growth and development across the nation.
Tax compliance also improves the country’s standing in the global economy. One way the World Bank ranks economies is based on how easy it is for companies to start and operate a business there. Improving Kenya’s ranking will help attract foreign direct investment, an essential source of funding for new infrastructure, energy sources, and jobs.
With Cloud CX, KRA has improved its reputation as a tax agency and helped ensure the nation’s economic future. This local and global impact was recently recognized at Modern Customer Experience 2019 where Oracle recognized KRA with a Markie Award for Best Demonstrated ROI in Marketing.
Learn more on Forbes: In Kenya, Virtual Tax Services Improve Compliance, Boost Revenue