On March 2, 2023, the Call Centre Committee was called to a meeting with the employer to discuss their most recent AWS innovation, more familiarly, Amazon Connect.
We were informed of the intended implementation, and received a demonstration of the Amazon online chat feature that will be located on the Canada.ca website and that will allow taxpayers access to customer support with live agents.
The CRA contends that our call centre agents will efficiently and effectively juggle 2 taxpayers at the same time, sometimes differing in language of service, and with the possibility of increasing this number in the future.
Although importance has been placed on finding call centre agents more regular tasks off the phone, we have concerns with the detrimental impact some of the decisions surrounding this implementation will have.
On multiple facets, the committee has clearly expressed its opposition to this newest development. With the environment in the call centres being as stressful as it already is, the increasing demand on our members in their overall knowledge of even more systems, and now even more policy and procedure, does not align with the relief we have been seeking for our frontline agents, nor does it reduce the workload that both parties have agreed are becoming excessive.
Some of the questions asked, and concerns raised, revolved around:
- The impact on performance evaluations (especially now with the development of CCAATs replacement tool)
- The number of taxpayers each agent is expected to serve simultaneously and the possibility of this number increasing
- The tools being made available to agents in order to complete their work, and the risks associated with pinning responsibility of downfalls on agents when proper support is unavailable. (eg. Like the need for a spell check that doesn't only check spelling)
These proposed tasks will be tasks added on top of agents` current workloads for which the agents will be formally evaluated, along with call listenings - posing immediate additional workloads for the quality and Team Leader groups in consequence as well.
Concerns were raised as well, again, about this development in the use of new technology posing a risk to loss of jobs for our members in the call centres. No clear definitive answer was provided by the employer on the impact this will have on staffing.
On the topic of performance evaluations, we have asked about what elements are going to be assessed, and the employer has agreed to meet with us again at a future date to discuss the details of performance assessments.
The Call Centre Committee asks for all agents' cooperation in keeping us informed about the rollout in your respective offices.
More information to follow,
Chair of the Committee