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Lithys 2018: Australian Taxation Office - Social Support Champion

Lithys 2018: Australian Taxation Office - Social Support Champion


Company: Australian Taxation Office

Company background: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is a federal government statutory agency that sets itself apart from both the private and public sectors. A global leader in the administration of both taxation and superannuation systems, our innovative mindset and insatiable drive to exceed industry standards has allowed us to develop intuitive, accessible and user-centred digital products and services. These ensure that tax and super is made easier for every Australian – from individuals with simple tax affairs, through to tax and legal professionals requiring technical and complex information, and everyone in between.

Contact: Stuart Austin

Title: Social Media Manager

Related URLs:

Lithy category: Social Support Champion

1. What were your organization’s social customer service initiatives in 2017-2018?

We’ve become a leading revenue agency by prioritising contemporary service, expertise and integrity in everything we do. We focus on applying digital solutions to improve the client experience, make it easier for taxpayers to meet their obligations, streamline processes, and to more precisely tailor and target our services.

From a CX perspective, we are one of the first Australian government agencies to have an active social media presence – a presence we’ve maintained, nurtured and grown for over 10 years. Over this period, we have implemented many social customer service initiatives to facilitate continuous channel improvements, to meet the information needs of our communities, and to work towards achieving the ATO’s broader business objectives. Our current social customer service initiatives essentially pledge to do the following:

  • Update template responses to keep customer interactions accurate, fresh, meaningful, and easy to understand.
  • Refer some of the more frequently asked questions we receive on social media to knowledge base articles on our new ‘ATO Community’ site.
  • Sign off all responses with a first name to maximise personalisation and to help humanise our brand.
  • Encourage Twitter conversations to move to a private space through the ‘Invite to DM’ function in Lithium Response.
  • Engage with users up until 8pm AEST on weeknights and 7 days a week during Australia’s peak Tax Time lodgement months (i.e. July to October).

2. What was the most important customer issue you were looking to solve via your digital technology (e.g. community and/or social media management platform)?

We aspire to give our users the best possible experience and our initiatives aim to improve the following three facets of our social media channels.

Figure 1. Facets of customer service we seek to improve.Figure 1. Facets of customer service we seek to improve.

Response time We respond to at least 80% of all comments and questions within 2 hours (during business hours) where a response is required or will add value to the conversation. Lithium’s ‘Social Media Management’ response tool helps us facilitate this. It allows us to address all interactions in one central place, delegate response tasks to the most appropriate person, employ response templates to frequently asked questions and set up alerts whenever important events happen, keywords are used, or volume thresholds are breached.

Tailored and personalised conversations

We sign off with our first names and tailor responses to each individual client, allowing conversations to feel organic and human. This also helps to ‘de-escalate’ conversations with stressed or frustrated clients. Lithium Response assists with this endeavour as it provides a single view of our clients, consolidating all conversations in one profile regardless of channel. If a different response agent picks up a conversation previously handled by a different agent, they can see the history and respond with the same first name for continuity of service and a great customer experience. It also allows us to keep internal notes of conversations - ensuring our response team knows the history of a user’s enquires with us. We can also combine the social profiles from the same taxpayer into one ‘account’ in Lithium which helps us keep track of conversations from the same taxpayer across multiple channels.

Reading between the lines

We strive to ‘read between the lines’ to ensure we’re giving the best response possible. If there is an apparent language barrier, we will keep our response as simple as possible. We know how to detect sarcasm and when not to respond (even if the conversation includes a question mark!).

3. Please share customer satisfaction metrics, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as agent and response time metrics (e.g. CSAT, decreased customer complaints, call deflections, agent SLA, manual processes eliminated)

As a result of our initiatives, drive to improve our channels and utilisation of Lithium Response, we have achieved great success on our social media platforms in 2017/18. We have attracted a staggering 40,000 new followers to our channels (17% growth year on year). Approximately 37,000 people have interacted with us, of which 22,000 warranted and received a response – 87% of interactions occurred on Facebook, 12% on Twitter and <1% on LinkedIn. Of these interactions, we responded to 81% within 2 hours (during business hours) – this exceeds our target of 80%.

Figure 2. Our social media success.Figure 2. Our social media success.


Well done ATO!