1.4.18  Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) Managers Guide (Cont. 1) 
e-help Support System (EHSS) Guidelines 
Online 5081  (10-01-2013)
Systems Used by EPSS Assistors

  1. To provide support to electronic product users, the assistors use the following systems:

    1. e-help Support System (EHSS) – The tool for customer interaction and ticketing.

    2. Aspect Telephone System – The method of delivery for phone calls to EPSS functions.

    3. Control-D/WebAccess Server - This system accesses reports via the Internet. It uses your Web browser to view reports using viewers, filters, and indexing capabilities.

    4. Electronic Management System (EMS) – EMS provides protocol translation, telecommunication structure, security, and data management support for electronic commerce, including e-filing of tax returns.

    5. Employee User Portal (EUP) – EUP is a Web hosting infrastructure. It supports an Intranet portal that allows IRS employees to access business applications and data [e.g., e-services, and Modernized e-file (MeF)]. Employee's registration and authentication is required. The EUP communicates with backend application systems (modernization and legacy) via Application Message and Data Access Service (AMDAS). The EUP infrastructure is located on the IRS Intranet.

    6. Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) - The FIRE system is the means by which transmitters can file information returns electronically with the IRS. Also, transmitters can file Form 4419 and Form 8809 through online fillable forms.

    7. Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) – IDRS is Real Time processing that uses various command codes, and daily, weekly, and periodic support processing for various systems (e.g., Centralized Authorization File (CAF), Fact of Filing (FOF)).

    8. Preparer Waiver Database (PWR) - PWR database is a data input system which stores the information contained on Form 8944, Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Request.

    9. Tax Return Data Base (TRDB) – TRDB contains tax return source information for electronically filed tax returns. It also contains electronically filed tax forms. It is the legal repository for all electronically filed returns for Tax Year 1998 and beyond. Beginning with Tax Year 2002, it also contains transcribed portions of paper returns. Returns filed through the Modernized e-file (MeF) system may not show on TRDB and are accessed through EUP.

    10. Third Party Data Store (TPDS) – TPDS is used to record and monitor the information about electronic return originators, transmitters, software developers, and Intermediate Service Providers, who have applied to participate in e-file.

    11. Transmitter Control Database (TCB)– The TCB contains data for transmitters/payers of information returns filed electronically.

  2. TSO assistors use various menus on the IRP Home Page system.  (10-01-2014)
Roles in the Employee User Portal (EUP)

  1. Managers will determine which roles the employee needs and ensure that employees have the appropriate roles needed to perform the work on the e-help Desk:

    Figure 1.4.18-1

    OL5081 Role Product Role Name User Title Comments
    AASU Application - E-file Approve Suitability E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who changes the suitability status of the organization and/or individuals.
    ACMN Application - E-file Create and Maintain Notices E-help Supervisor, E-help Systems Administrator User who creates or modifies notices to organizations and individuals.
    AERA Application - E-file Enter and Revise e-file Application E-help Data Entry Clerk, E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who enters the information received from third party (on Form 8633 or telephone contact) to create or update TPDS.
    AESD Application - E-file Enter Suitability Documentation E-help Data Entry Clerk, E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who enters the suitability status and supporting documents for organizations and individuals.
    AMNT Application - E-file General E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who updates/maintains reference tables and supports suitability questions, business rules, etc.
    ASUP Application - E-file Suitability E-help Supervisor Role placeholder for overall supervisory responsibilities related to e-file Application including ability to assign applications to the various work queues. No Actual Role ID within the system.
    AUSD Application - E-file Enter Suitability Documentation E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who updates/revises the suitability status and supporting documents for organizations and individuals.
    AVEA Application - E-file View e-file Application E-help Data Entry Clerk, E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who views application details but does not have permission to edit.
    ICMCU ICM ICM Customer Updates E-help Data Entry Clerk, E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who adds, updates, and maintains customers, contacts and addresses.
    MADM Application - TIN TIN Matching Employee IRS employee User who supports customer inquiries regarding participation and/or status.
    RURD Registration Update Registered User Data E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who updates Registration data for external users. Intended for Registration Administration and Help Desk Support.
    RVRD Registration View Registered User Data E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who views, but does not update Registration data for external users. Intended for basic Help Desk Support.
    TDAU TDS General E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who enters the information for an external user including firm/organization name along with information that belongs to the Principal or Responsible Official.
    TDUS TDS General E-help Supervisor, E-help Tax Examiner User who requests TDS product(s) by product type via an interactive session and may view all transaction history.
    MEF BOE BUSINESS OBJECTS USER GROUP PROD (BUSINESS OBJECTS ENTERPRISE (BOE) SERVER FARM) Business Objects Enterprise (BOE) MeF Help Desk PRD E-help Desk, Help Desk User User who pulls reports from the MeF filed returns. Needed to resolve Form 8453 Binary Attachments.
    MEFHLP MeF MeF Help Desk PRD E-help Desk, Help Desk User Needed for testing returns.
    MEFHLP_PR MeF MeF Help Desk PRD E-help Desk, Help Desk User User who accesses and reviews acknowledgements and tax returns/extensions (accepted/rejected).
    INTNTACKSTAT_PR MeF MeF Internet Ack Status PRD E-help Desk, Help Desk User User who accesses and reviews acknowledgements for returns filed via the Internet.
    MEFADTRPT_PR MeF MeF Audit Trail Reports PRD E-help Desk, Computer Operations, MeF Team Event tracking is the ability to look into the system to locate where in the processing any tax return is. Audit report category PMAR is used to capture performance information, users need to complete an Online 5081.
    A2A MEF MeF Help Desk PRD E-help Desk, Help Desk User Automated System Enrollment (A2A System Enrollment)
  2. In addition to the above EUP roles, managers must ensure employees have these appropriate roles as well:

    Figure 1.4.18-2

    Roles System Comments
    (Site) Control– D Web CTDWA Control D Web Access


    In Online 5081 Special Instructions, notate the specific ORG Code and RACF Security Group for site.

    OIRSC Control–D Web CTDWA Needed for Assistors working Form 1041 e-filed returns.


    In Online 5081 Special Instructions, notate the ORG Code: 36000–OG; RACF Security Group: B9INCOR

    EMS HELP DESK EMS Electronic Management System
    IDRS–(SITE) IDRS Integrated Data Retrieval System


    In Online 5081 Special Instructions notate the IDRS team number. If employee already has active IDRS access then the security representative for the team can make the change on IDRS.  (10-01-2014)
Creating and Updating Interactions/Incidents

  1. EPSS assistors use EHSS as a tool for customer interaction and ticketing. EHSS allows EPSS to develop a complete view of a customer’s contact history. EPSS policy requires that each contact with the customer be captured in a new or existing Interaction/Incident. This policy is necessary for the following reasons:

    • Efficient customer service can be provided.

    • The number of electronic products continues to grow.

    • Documented history for e-services must be established.

  2. Efficient customer service: Interactions/Incidents are as significant to contact management as audit trails are to tax case management. If resolutions are not successful, it would be inefficient to start over with the customer to resolve the issue. Attention must be given to the way we handle each contact (i.e., opening and documenting the Interaction/Incident with the caller on the line versus entering the data after the caller has hung up). We must work toward increased efficiency.

  3. Growth of electronic products: The implementation of e-services was a primary driver for the design of the e-help Desk. As e-services and e-file continue to grow, issue tracking will become increasingly important. Because of the many products that are now available, duplicate issues/contacts can be made to the e-help Desk that, if tracked, can be resolved simultaneously. For example: One customer can make separate contacts to resolve both an e-file issue and an e-services issue. If follow-up with the customer is required, both issues can be resolved with the same contact.

  4. Documented history for e-services and other new products: New products, specifically e-services, depend solely on information created from Interactions/Incidents. Documented history for e-services does not exist as it does for e-file. As customers call in with problems, the issues are captured in Interactions. The documented resolutions for the Interactions/Incidents are captured in the Knowledge Management database.  (10-01-2012)
Managing Your Worklist

  1. Review your worklist at least once an hour. If there is an Interaction/Incident on your worklist, either work it or transfer it to a technical lead or an assistor.

  2. Follow-up to ensure that the Interaction/Incident has been worked. This can be done by leaving the Interaction/Incident on your worklist when it is reassigned so that you can monitor it.

  3. Once a week, you will receive the Weekly Aged Report. This will allow you to ensure open cases are being worked. In addition, this will help you identify employees needing assistance with their assigned cases. See IRM, Reviewing the Worklist, for assistor instructions.  (10-01-2015)
Monitoring email in EHSS

  1. Email is an additional channel for communicating with the e-help Desk and TSO. A mailbox has been created on EHSS and the email address has been provided to the following external customers, among others:

    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

    • States

    • Software Developers

    • Small Tax Exempt Organizations (990N e-Postcard emails)

  2. Employees in Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) are internal users. They send email inquiries on behalf of external customers.

  3. TSO assistors utilize the email function to resolve tax law or electronic filing questions and problems.

  4. When the customer sends an email, confirmation is sent advising them that their email has been received by EPSS. They are advised to look for an acknowledgement email containing an Interaction/Incident number in their email system within 30 minutes. The customer is advised that they will be contacted within 48 hours regarding their issue or question.


    The e-help Desk has an internal goal of responding to the customers' email within two (2) hours of receipt.

  5. Appoint members of the workgroup to be responsible for reviewing the worklist and working email cases. Review the email worklist at least every hour to ensure that cases are being worked in a timely manner. Cases that result from email will be worked within (2) hours of receipt.

  6. See IRM, Email Function, for assistor instructions.  (12-17-2014)
EHSS Change Control Board

  1. The mission of the Change Control Board (CCB) is to review, plan, assess, prioritize, and disposition Change Requests (CRs) for the e-help Support System (EHSS). The CCB is a committee that reviews, approves, or rejects changes that impact policy, system, and processes that are initiated from EHSS stakeholders. The CCB includes representatives from the e-help Desk and Technical Services Operation (TSO).

  2. CRs will be submitted to the CCB on Form 14507, EHSS Change Request, with adequate justification/documentation. The originator’s manager must review the request for accuracy, content, and completeness and complete the “Manager of Originator” section of the CR form. The manager will approve or disapprove the request. If the CR is not approved, the manager will document the reason and return to the originator. If the CR is approved, the manager will email the completed CR to the CCB Coordinator and the Products and Services Support Manager.

  3. The CCB will ascertain the benefits and the impact of proposed changes and the recommendation will be voted on and approved/disapproved by a quorum of CCB members. Approved requests will be signed by the CCB Chair Person and maintained by the CCB Coordinator. Closing activities may include issuing a directive, implementing actions to be completed or forwarding recommendations to appropriate functions.  (10-01-2015)
EHSS Solutions Board

  1. EPSS is responsible for managing the content of the solutions database. Each product that the e-help Desk and TSO supports has several associated solutions. Before solutions can be added to the database, they must be approved by their Policy Owner.

  2. Managers/leads must follow all guidance in IRM, Contribute Knowledge. It is critical that Contribute Knowledge Articles are reviewed and the request be returned to the assistor or submitted to the Solutions Board for consideration in a timely manner.

  3. To maintain the solution database, EPSS has established an EHSS Solutions Board. Board members are selected from the Andover, Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati, Martinsburg and Ogden sites by the Solution Board lead. The Solution Board will issue a solicitation for Solution Board members as needed to fill vacancies. Interested assistors and Level 2 employees must submit a complete and properly signed Statement of Interest (SOI) form by the designated due date to be considered for a board position. Once selected, there is no limit on how long a member may remain on the board. Requests to withdraw from the board must be emailed to Solution Board lead and the member’s team manager.

  4. The Board lead is an analyst from the Program Management (PM) staff. The Board lead coordinates with Policy Owners to ensure products supported by EPSS have accurate and valid solutions in EHSS.

  5. The responsibilities of the Board members include:

    • Attending conference calls as needed.

    • Working as a team member and independently.

    • Reviewing assigned Contribute Knowledge cases and providing recommendations.

    • Creating new solutions and revising existing solutions.

    • Reviewing assigned solutions and recommending changes as needed.

    • Entering changes in the EHSS production database (if identified as an editor).

  6. The responsibilities of the Board lead include:

    • Selecting Solution Board members.

    • Leading conference calls and working with Board members during the solutions creation and revision process.

    • Working with Policy Owners to obtain final approval of new solutions.

    • Working with Policy Owners and Board members to certify active solutions.

    • Monitoring the status of all solutions being developed and revised.

    • Returning or assigning Contribute Knowledge articles.

    • Making the final determination on whether or not an update or new solution is needed.

    • Notifying the assistor of the final disposition (e.g., rejected with reason for rejection, adopted, referred, etc.).


      The manager may email the Board lead for information regarding the disposition and/or submit additional support for the original request.

    • Providing quality control to ensure solutions have been input and updated correctly.

  7. New or revised solutions are necessary for various reasons:

    • A user determines that EHSS does not contain an appropriate solution or an existing one needs to be revised.

    • A Policy Owner makes program changes during the year.

    • A new product is added to those supported by EPSS.

    • An internal procedural change is made.

  8. The Policy Owner is responsible for writing the EPSS Communication when a solution change requires immediate notice to the assistors.  (10-01-2013)
Solutions Due to Program Changes

  1. When changes are made to an existing product, the Policy Owner must notify the Solutions Board lead. If a substantial number of changes are made, a new e-help Solution Template may be required.

  2. After the solutions are worked by the Board members, the Board lead will submit the solution template, to the Policy Owner for final review and approval. When approved, a Board member will place the solution into production on the EHSS solution database.  (10-01-2013)
Solutions for New Products

  1. When a new product is added to EPSS, the Policy Owner will follow the procedures in the Customer Engagement Document and submit all necessary documents. See IRM,Customer Engagement for more information.

  2. After new solutions are created, reviewed and approved, the Policy Owner will submit to the Board lead.

  3. It is difficult to determine what types of calls will be received for new products; therefore, new solutions will be created as needed by following the procedures in IRM, Contribute Knowledge.  (10-01-2014)
Aspect Telephone System Guidelines

  1. EPSS uses the Aspect 9.3 application and software which provides monitoring capabilities, data base records, and management information. The Aspect TeleSet Supervisor key provides managers access to expanded features such as:

    1. Leaving messages for employees (each site will have its own policies based on voice port availability)

    2. Monitoring agents (listening in on calls in progress)

    3. Notifying agents (notifying an agent whom you are monitoring to call you)

    4. Monitoring trunks (monitoring conversations on specific trunks)

    5. Monitoring specific Aspect application groupings

    6. Determining the availability of agents

  2. The manager and the lead will be given permissions on Aspect to access abilities using the Supervisor button. Using the Supervisor button allows you to monitor telephone calls and trunk lines.

  3. Sign on under your Administrative extension to allow assistors to transfer calls to you when necessary.  (10-01-2013)
ASPECT Assistance

  1. The system administrator/telephone analyst (SA/TA) is a valuable resource person regarding the features of the ASPECT system.

  2. Managers must coordinate with their SA/TA on any activity limiting the site's ability to deliver its commitment for scheduled ACD time.

  3. The SA/TA provides assistance on the following:

    • Information about system operations and call routing

    • Explanation of various ASPECT reports

    • Identification of data availability and creating reports

    • Assessment of current call site performance

    • Networking information

    • Monitoring procedures

    • Assistance with Enterprise Telephone Data (ETD)

    • ASPECT equipment repair

    • Database changes  (09-05-2008)
Aspect Supervisor Features

  1. Supervisors use the Aspect TeleSet to perform the following tasks:

    1. Monitoring – Monitor a live conversation for review purposes.

    2. Notifying – Alert an employee to a problem during a live conversation.

    3. Making an agent available – Force a user into the AVAILABLE state.

    4. Performing Side-by side-monitoring – Utilize a second telephone jack on the employee's TeleSet.

  2. To monitor a call through Aspect, sign on to your TeleSet and perform the following steps:

    1. Press "SUPERVISOR" key.

    2. Enter the extension of the assistor to be monitored.

    3. Press "ENTER." The display on TeleSet LCD will show "Monitoring Extension 5555 NOTIFY."

    4. Press the "RELEASE" key to end the monitoring session.


    Contact Recording is the preferred method of telephone monitoring. Conduct this type of monitoring only when Contact Recording is unavailable.

  3. To notify an employee during a live review, press the "NOTIFY" soft key. This sends a message to the user's TeleSet display instructing them to call you and provides your extension. Do not interrupt a call unless the employee is:

    • Advising the taxpayer/caller incorrectly

    • Providing discourteous service

    • Unable to answer the question

    • Threatened by a caller

  4. To make an agent available, the agent must be in IDLE state, or in WRAP-UP after pressing the DONE soft key. To make the agent AVAILABLE, press SUPERVISOR, enter 0 and the user's extension, then press ENTER.


    Be sure the agent is present and at their desk before forcing them into AVAILABLE.

  5. Side-by-side monitoring, also known as "double jacking," is used to review telephone calls for training purposes. It can be used to improve work processes or as coaching conducted as part of a performance improvement plan. It is an excellent introduction to the job for new assistors working with experienced employees.


    Side-by-side monitoring is non–evaluative and not formally documented. It may be delegated to leads or experienced Assistors.  (10-01-2015)
Aspect Changes, Updates or Deletions

  1. The manager provides a key role in maintaining the accuracy of the Aspect database. Managers will remain in contact with their respective EPSS telephone systems analyst (SA) or headquarters telephone analyst (TA) for any changes needed. Changes include, but are not limited to:

    • Adding new extensions for new employees

    • Adding new extensions for current employees (adding agent groups)

    • Changing Team Numbers

    • Deleting obsolete extensions

    • Resetting passwords


      Check with your DM for guidance on coordinating with your SA.

  2. E-help and TSO managers will communicate changes to the SA staff immediately. Submit changes to the SA staff using the "Employee Change Request" form located on the e-help Operation Share Point site. Complete all required fields. Complete optional fields for team moves, extension adds or deletes, and tour of duty (TOD) changes. Submit the form using the email button located on the form.

  3. The site SA communicates the changes to JOC through the WPTQ analyst. Be sure to allow enough time for the SA to communicate this information to the JOC. The JOC time-lines are as follows:

    • 1 - 5 Changes – Request completed within one (1) business day

    • 5 - 25 Changes – Request completed within five (5) business days

    • 25 - 100 Changes – Request completed within ten (10) business days


    Any expedite requests must be notated on the change form with an explanation so the SA can coordinate the request with the WPTQ analyst.  (10-01-2014)
Staffing Requirements

  1. Weekly call demand projections are developed by the WPTQ staff analysts for e-help and TSO at an Enterprise level during the Work Planning phase for the fiscal year. The telephone system analyst will use the following factors to segment work to the various sites. Required staffing for each site is determined by taking into consideration such factors as:

    • Call volumes

    • Average handle times

    • Abandon rate

    • Slippage


    Adjustments can be made to these projections to allow for seasonal changes, as well as holidays and other factors that affect call demand.

  2. In generating staffing requirements for EPSS, the WPTQ analyst considers the requirements from an enterprise perspective. The adherence of each individual site to the schedule is important and impacts the performance of the e-help Desk Operation and TSO.

  3. The system administrator/telephone analyst creates a projected forecast for each site. The projected site forecast is a half-hourly tool which is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet providing staffing requirements.

  4. Management will use the half-hourly forecast to create individual phone schedules for their employees. Assign the appropriate number of assistors to the telephones.


    Requirements for each half-hour do not take into account scheduled off-phone activity (i.e., breaks, lunch, etc.).

  5. Agent Groups are the skilled groups of assistors that provide service to the customer. Applications are the services that we provide. The JOC uses an Intelligent Call Router to distribute calls to appropriate skill groups (agent groups) to provide services (applications) to the customer.


    Agent Groups should not be confused with Applications. Also, Application numbers and Agent Group numbers and descriptions do not correspond one-for-one.

  6. The e-help Desk will always keep AG 709, EH – Lead/Manager, staffed. If a customer requests to elevate an issue, someone should be available in this Agent Group to address the customer's concern.  (10-01-2013)

  1. Adherence is used to identify whether the number of agents required by the e-help operation and TSO are available for the time periods specified in the schedule. It is also used to identify whether the call site meets the overall telephone schedule provided to them. Adherence is measured by the number of ready assistors signed on to the Aspect system, either taking a call or involved in the completion of a call. Assistors in IDLE status are not included when adherence is determined.

  2. Managers are responsible for ensuring the required number of assistors are signed on the telephones to meet adherence.

    1. Assistors will sign on when their tour of duty (TOD) begins and remain signed on until their TOD ends.

    2. Assistors that must be temporarily away from their work areas are required to use the correct idle reason code.


      If ... Then ...
      An employee is in an all-day training session They will not sign on at all.
      An employee is assigned to non-phone duty at their workstations E-help assistors will sign on using their administrative extension and log into Agent Group 707 (Extension Routing/Inventory).
      An employee is assigned to non-phone duties after signing on at the beginning of their TOD which will result in an absence from their workstation for remainder of their TOD They will sign off the telephone.
  3. The telephone schedule allows the team manager to monitor and maintain team adherence. An individual schedule will be given to all assistors so that they know when they are required to be on the telephones.

  4. Individual adherence impacts the entire enterprise adherence. Recognize employees with good adherence. Promptly address employees with adherence problems.

  5. When an employee is not meeting their assigned telephone schedule, take the following steps:

    1. Remember to look at each situation individually.

    2. Address the problem directly with the employee.

    3. Use results of your personal observations to validate your assessment.

    4. Offer guidance as to how to correct the problem.

  6. If the problem continues, take these steps:

    1. Prepare a written assessment of the problem.

    2. Describe exactly how the employee is failing to meet a specific CJE or conduct expectation.

    3. Refer to prior verbal discussions in the documentation.

    4. Offer guidance as to how to correct the problem.

  7. A determination to counsel verbally or with documentation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider include whether or not the employee has displayed the behavior before and whether or not you observed the behavior. Failure to adhere to the schedule may be either a performance problem or a conduct problem. Contact your DM or LR specialist for guidance.  (09-23-2011)
Availability and Efficiency

  1. Regardless of the type of equipment in your area, there is data to assist you in evaluating the service being given to customers and to determine the availability and efficiency of the telephone staff.

  2. Managers and systems analysts (SA) must determine if the staff is available as scheduled.

  3. Managers must ensure their employees are signed on to the telephone system and taking calls when scheduled. This reduces shrinkage.

  4. Shrinkage is a combination of one or more issues, such as:

    • Extended read and meet times

    • Tardiness

    • Leaving early

    • Higher than expected attrition for day (e.g., sick leave)

    • Scheduled breaks not being followed

    • Unauthorized breaks

    • Extended breaks or lunch periods

    • Unanticipated workload

  5. The SA must make daily real-time adjustments to the schedules based on the actual demand and actual staffing.

  6. Use the available resources to assist you in scheduling to meet peak staffing requirements.

  7. Use available data to assist in monitoring and analyzing efficiency. This includes

    • Idle and Sign on Times

    • Average Handle Time (AHT)

    • Average Wrap Time  (10-01-2012)
Average Handle Time

  1. Average Handle Time (AHT) impacts scheduling assumptions. Unnecessary talk time compromises program goals and increases the amount of abandoned calls. It could be an indicator that additional training in conversation control is needed.

  2. Identify Assistors who may be using excessively long or short times in handling calls. Monitor a few of their calls to identify problems such as:

    • Training deficiency

    • Failing to keep call brief while maintaining standards of courtesy and full service

    • Placing a call on hold during the research process when it is inappropriate, instead of arranging for a call back

    • Answering a large volume of unusually complex questions

    • Failing to provide a complete or accurate response  (09-23-2011)
Average Wrap Time

  1. Wrap is used to complete a call after the customer has been released. Wrap will only be used to complete actions related to the previous call. As most systems are updated while on-line or on hold with the caller, use of wrap time will be minimal except in rare instances.

  2. Use wrap time or use reported wrap time to gauge if your staff is coping effectively in a telephone environment. This will assist you in determining the amount of time your staff is unavailable for calls.

  3. Possible reasons for high percentages of wrap time are:

    1. Level of training

    2. Extensive research for call backs

    3. Excessive requirements in reporting call backs

    4. Minor illness (e.g., headache) which caused the assistor to take short rest periods between calls

    5. Excessive conversation among assistors

    6. Excessive research  (10-01-2014)
Idle Reason Codes

  1. "Idle" is an Aspect status that assistors must use when not in "Available" or "Wrap-Up" status.

  2. When assistors are not available for incoming calls (e.g., meetings, breaks, read time, lunch, part-day training), they will go into idle and indicate their status by using one of the reason codes in IRM, Reason Codes for Idle.

  3. To ensure adherence, monitor employee statuses using the appropriate system.

  4. If an employee fails to properly use the idle reason codes, counsel them according to the guidelines in IRM,Adherence.


    Reason codes are to be used solely for real time management of call volume. Do not use them for evaluating individual performance (e.g., to prepare a formal appraisal, performance indicator, or as an evaluative recordation, nor to make any comparisons, cross-references or reconciliation with SETR entries).  (10-01-2014)
Scheduling Employees on the Telephones

  1. Consider the following when you schedule telephone assignments:

    • Break/lunch schedules

    • Leave schedules

    • Training schedules

    • Team meeting schedules

    • Level of Service

  2. Attempt to assign an equal amount of telephone duty to each assistor.

  3. Remember that although a schedule has been provided by the WPTQ analyst, you may need to make adjustments during the day. To determine when adjustments will be made, use Webview.


    The EPSS telephone site analyst will be notified when scheduling changes are made (i.e., meetings, training).  (09-23-2011)
End of Day Procedures

  1. Assistors are required to sign on to Aspect at the beginning of their TOD and remain signed on until their TOD ends. While signed on to Aspect, assistors will use the Idle Reason Codes found in IRM, Reason Codes for Idle. Exceptions to the requirement to sign into Aspect are as follows:

    1. Assistors in all day training sessions will not sign on at all.

    2. Assistors who attend training, meetings, or other situations, which will result in an absence from their workstation at the beginning of their TOD will not sign on until they are at their workstations.

    3. Assistors who report to their workstation at the beginning of their TOD, but thereafter attend training, meetings or other situations that result in an absence from their workstations until the end of their TOD, will sign off when they leave their workstation.

  2. Managers will allow assistors to sign off Aspect up to 12 minutes (0.2 hours) before the actual end of their shift. This time is to conduct end-of-the-day activities (entering information into SETR, complete reports, etc.). Managers may approve more time on an as needed basis.

  3. On rare occasions, an assistor may not able to complete their call before the end of their TOD. If this happens, the assistor will notify their manager or lead immediately. The manager or lead will determine how best to handle the call and can offer Credit, Compensatory, or Overtime (if available) to the assistor as a resolution.  (10-01-2013)

  1. WebView is a web interface to the Intelligent Contact Manager (ICM) enterprise reporting. With WebView, you can work directly with ICM reports and scripts from the browser on your computer. Managers can use WebView to view reports (real-time and historical), create new reports (based on WebView's report templates), and modify reports.

  2. Depending on the report you choose, WebView shows the user the current state of the enterprise, a site, and/or individual employees. To access WebView follow these steps:

    1. Type http://joc.enterprise.irs.gov in your browser

    2. Select OPS

    3. Select Call Routing and Processing

    4. Select WebView Reporting 7.0

    5. Select WebView Reporting 7.0 Log In (to log into WebView) or JOC WebView Account Management (to reset/change your password)

    6. Select Real Time or Historical

    7. Click on Submit

  3. At a minimum, managers will use the following Real-Time reports:

    • E-help/TSO Adherence – shows the adherence for each site, the number of agents in Available, Ready, Talking, Wrap and Hold. It shows the percentages of time spent in each of these different states per site.

      Figure 1.4.18-3

      To access this report on WebView, go to:
      Skill Group
      Saved Reports
      Select one of the following:
      • E_Help Adherence

      • TSO Adherence _TJ

      Hit "Run" at the bottom right-hand side of the page
    • Agent Skill Group Real Time Report (e-help Agents_ALL_TJ) shows each site's breakdown of agents logged in and the number of calls in the enterprise queues for the applicable agent groups. It also shows the current status of assistors (i.e., Ready, Talking, Idle, Wrap Up).

    Figure 1.4.18-4

    To access this report on WebView, go to:
    By Skill Group
    Saved Reports
    Select from the following
    • e-help Agents_ALL_RP

    Hit "Run" at the bottom right-hand side of the page
  4. Real-Time reports are updated in intervals of 15, 20, 30, or 60 seconds. The system default is set at 20 seconds. To change this, click on "Refresh" in the menu option and select the time interval preferred.

  5. Threshold values can also be set to alert the user when certain values exceed or do not meet expected levels by assigning a color to the display. This is done by clicking on "Threshold" in the menu option of any report.  (10-01-2015)

  1. Reports are used by management in EPSS and by product owners to track and address issues. Some reports are run on a daily basis; others are run on a weekly basis. There are also ad hoc reports that are run when a customer wants specific information that is not provided by the regular reports.

  2. There are two types of reports used in e-help:

    1. EHSS Crystal reports give a manager case statistics on either an assistor or a product. EHSS reports are provided to managers on a weekly basis. They can also be accessed from the EPSS web site at http://win.web.irs.gov/epss_home.html.

    2. Aspect Crystal reports give a manager call activity statistics on an individual assistor or workgroup.

  3. Reports are indicators of an individual's performance but may not be used alone for evaluative purposes. Use reports to determine the need for further monitoring and/or assistance.  (10-01-2013)
EHSS Crystal Reports

  1. The following Crystal reports are available in EHSS:

    1. Open/Closed Interaction Report - Shows all open and closed Interactions by Site and Assistor. The open cases are still assigned to the assistor and will also show in the Open Age Interaction Report. The closed cases are those opened and closed within the week.

    2. Open/Closed Incident Report (Telephone Report) - Same as open and closed Interaction report only will show the open/closed Incident.

    3. Open Aged Interaction Report - Shows all open Interactions and how long they have been open by an assistor or provider group.

    4. Open Aged Incident Report - Same as open aged Interactions, only will show open Incident.

    5. Open Aged Incident by Provider Group Report (Telephone) - Shows the number of Incidents over seven (7) days old that have been assigned to a provider group and have not been assigned.

    6. Product/Problem Type (Telephone Report) - Shows the number of Interactions opened under each Product broken down by Problem Type.

    7. Closed Interactions with Additional Email Response Report - Shows the email responses that were previously closed however, the customer is responding to the closed email.

  2. EHSS also provides a list of Dashboard Reports that provide a real time look at the system. It allows the user to see an overview and the functionality to drill down to a particular Interaction or Incident. Below is a list of reports:

    1. EPSS Open Inventory Report (Paper) - This report is for each site and TSO. It shows all open paper cases. This report can be exported into Excel.

    2. Product Report - Weekly/Cum Chart - This chart/graph shows the Interactions opened for the week (last seven (7) days) and year to date. The user is able to link into any section of the chart for more details. The volume is shown when hovering over a section of the chart.

    3. Provider Group Aged Incidents Report (Telephone) - This chart/graph shows the aged Incidents by provider group. The user is able to link into any section of the chart for more details. The volume is shown when hovering over a section of the chart.

    4. Weekly Aged Interaction Report By Provider Groups Chart - This report shows the number of aged Interactions by person and provider group. This report allows the user to link into the aged Interaction case or export to Excel.

    5. Open Email Interactions Report by Provider Group Chart - This chart/graph shows the open email Interactions by provider group. The user is able to link into any provider group by clicking within the chart/graph to see the details of the case.

    6. Resolved on First Contact Report - This report shows if an Interaction was resolved on first contact. It allows the user to link into the Interaction and can be exported into Excel.

    7. Year To Date (YTD) Source Report - This report shows the source used to open all Interactions. It shows the Business Unit, Provider Group, Product, Problem Type, date opened, and closed. It can be exported into Excel.

    8. Inventory by OFP and Problem Type Report (Paper) - This report will show the weekly inventory counts for each OFP (Product) and its related sub program (Problem Type). It will show the Receipts, Closures, Ending Inventory, Aged Incidents, Rolling Inventory, and the Average Days to Close.

    9. Inventory by OFP Report (Paper) - This report will show the weekly inventory counts for each OFP (Product). It will show the Receipts, Closures, Ending Inventory, Aged Incidents, Rolling Inventory, and the Average Days to Close. It will be used to report volumes to Batch/Block Tracking System (BBTS).

  3. Managers will review each report to determine if organizational and/or team goals were met. Determine reason for aged cases being open for more than seven (7) days. If there is no valid reason for the open case, managers will discuss it with the assistor. Instruct employees not to use any products that are prefaced by the word "Inactive" on the product report.  (10-01-2014)
Aspect Crystal Reports

  1. Aspect Crystal reports are used by team managers to determine the status of telephone activity. Some reports are received daily and others weekly.

  2. The EPSS Aspect telephone systems analyst (SA) runs these reports and automatically schedules them for delivery via email or server. They have the capability of running ad-hoc reports for various time-frames or for a specific type of data. If you need an additional report, contact them to have the data pulled from the Aspect system.

  3. Reports are a tool that managers can use to identify areas where the team members excel (adherence, efficient talk time, and minimal use of wrap time) and areas that need improvement (adherence and improper use of idle reason codes). Reports can be used as a diagnostic tool. They can be used to support your personal observations.

    • Managers cannot share the Aspect report information with employees because the report may suggest a production quota or goal on employees.

    • Managers can use the Aspect reports as an indicator to locate areas that need additional monitoring.


      In conjunction with your observation the reports can be used as an indicator of time (e.g., I have not seen you since... I noticed you were away from your desk while in wrap).

  4. The reports are standardized for all sites. Each manager will receive the following reports:

    1. Agent Performance Summary by Team Report – This report shows general call activity for all agents signed on to the system during a specified period.

    2. Agent Events Detail Report – This report shows events statistics based on Extension groupings.

    3. Agent Performance Detail by Agent Group New Work Time - 707 Report – This report shows performance statistics based on Agent Group 707 groupings.

    4. Excessive Reason Code Report – This report shows agents in idle codes for an excessive amount of time. It uses the Agent Idle view and is available by daily intervals.

    5. CE10 Outbound Agent Detail by Team Report – This report shows all outbound calls dialed, grouped by Team.

    6. Messages Detail by Team Report – This report shows message statistics based on Team groupings.

    7. Sign-On Idle Profile by Team Report – This report displays sign on/off and idle statistics based on Team groupings.  (10-01-2014)
EHSS Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery

  1. In the event of a disaster or other event that interrupts the service of the e-help Desk or TSO, the following strategy will be used to ensure that the business continues.

  2. Scheduled Interruption of Service:

    1. The site manager will notify the Operations Support senior manager, e-help Desk or TSO senior manager, and telephone analyst by email at least 48 hours before the interruption begins. List the reason for the request, the desired start time, and the duration of the interruption.

    2. The e-help Desk or TSO senior manager will notify all site managers.

    3. The JOC will be contacted by the telephone analyst if a routing change needs to be performed.

    4. The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s), if applicable.

  3. Unscheduled Interruption of Service (Site Recognized):

    1. The site manager or a designee will notify the Operations Support senior manager, e-help Desk or TSO senior manager, and telephone analyst by telephone. Provide as much information as possible about the disruption and the anticipated recovery time.

    2. The e-help Desk or TSO senior manager will notify their site managers.

    3. The JOC will be contacted by the telephone analyst if a routing change needs to be performed.

    4. The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s), if applicable.

  4. Unscheduled Interruption of Service (JOC Recognized):

    1. The JOC will enable the current e-help disaster closure matrix.

    2. The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s).

  5. All applications, except Suitability (Applications 721 and 722) and TSO (Applications 806, 811, 812, 813, 814, 815 and 816) are distributed among at least two sites so a back-up site has not been specified. The following chart shows the alternate or fail-over site for suitability if the primary site is compromised:

    Compromised Site Fail-over Site
    Andover Austin


    At this time TSO does not have an alternate or fail-over site.

  6. When EHSS, e-services, FIRE or one of the other systems used by the e-help Desk and TSO is experiencing a problem or outage the manager/ lead will report the problem by submitting an email to the appropriate personnel. Refer to the Reporting System Issues Job Aid for the required actions. The job aid is located on the EPSS SERP Portal http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/portals.dr/epss/jobaids.dr/epss_jobaids_toc.htm.

    1. Reminder:

      Assistors will manually record all data during the outage. See IRM, System Downtime Procedures.  (03-01-2007)
Miscellaneous Procedures

  1. Various miscellaneous managerial functional responsibilities are included in this section.  (10-01-2014)
Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes

  1. Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) codes are recorded by employees in SETR to identify work that IRS employees perform daily.

    1. Organization Code – A five digit code used to describe where (e.g., Document Perfection or Input Correction) the work is being performed. In EPSS, the first and second digits identify the Operation, the third digit identifies the Department, and the fourth and fifth digits identify the Team.

    2. Function Code – A three digit code that is used to describe what (e.g., e-help assistor) is being done.

    3. Program – A five digit code that is used to describe the program (e.g., Form 8453, EFTPS) being worked.

  2. OFP codes have various uses including the preparation of work plans and work schedules. For this reason, it is important that this information is reported consistently and accurately. A complete list of all OFP codes can be found at http://etd.ds.irsnet.gov/etd/ofp/index.asp, Organization Function Program (OFP) Code, web site.

  3. Managers must ensure that employees use the correct codes when working telephones, email, and paper. These codes can be found in IRM 3.42.7-1, Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Phones and email), and IRM 3.42.7-2, e-help Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes (Paper), and provide a breakdown of each codes' function, program, and title.

  4. Employees will be instructed to make every effort to track and report the time spent on programs accurately. When making assignments, limit frequent program switching, whenever possible, to help employees record time accurately.  (10-01-2013)
Subscribing to QuickAlerts

  1. QuickAlerts is a free, online service that disseminates mass e-file messages, within seconds, to all "subscribed" individual and business e-file software developers, transmitters, and authorized e-file providers.

  2. Quick Alerts also provide e-file information to assist employees in their job performance and enhance the filing season.

  3. There are four categories that the assistor should subscribe to:

    • Alerts – Processing delays, programming issues, changes to any filing season procedure.

    • General Notifications – Seminars, Conferences, e-file publication changes.

    • General IRS e-file Service Center Messages – IRS e-file program updates, general information, service center maintenance schedules, IRS e-file help Desk phone numbers and more.

    • Technical - Updates on Schema Information and Software (PATS/ATS) testing.

  4. As a manager you will ensure all new employees subscribe to QuickAlerts and verify all returning seasonals still have a subscription to QuickAlerts.  (10-01-2015)
EPSS Communications

  1. EPSS Communications were developed to keep employees informed of the myriad of policy and procedural changes impacting IRS electronic products such as:

    • IRM updates

    • New procedures or information that impact the e-help Desk and or TSO

    • Solutions

    • Site Closures

    • Programming changes

    • System/application changes

  2. To request an EPSS Communication, send pertinent information to the designated EPSS, Operations Support analyst with a courtesy copy to the back-up analyst. For example, a communication related to software testing should be sent to the program analyst assigned to that program. Use the EPSS communication template to ensure the following information is captured.

    1. Subject –This is the title of your EPSS Communication.

    2. Content – Your message should be clear and concise. Remember to check spelling and grammar.

    3. Source – Organizational symbols (i.e., EPSS:OS:PM, EPSS:TSO:PSS, etc.).

  3. Designated personnel will issue the communication from the *EPSS mailbox. Refer to the EPSS Communication Request Job Aid located on the EPSS SERP Portal http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/portals.dr/epss/jobaids.dr/epss_jobaids_toc.htm.

  4. EPSS communications are located on the EPSS SERP Portal.

  5. As a manager you will ensure all new employees are added to the EPSS Communication distribution list and employees leaving EPSS are removed. Email requests to add or delete employees to the EPSS Operations Support management and program assistant.  (10-01-2014)
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that, by itself or in combination with other information, may be used to uniquely identify an individual. The personal information of taxpayers, employees, contractors, applicants and visitors to the IRS is also considered PII. Some examples of PII are:

    • Names

    • Addresses

    • Email addresses

    • Telephone numbers

    • Social Security Numbers

    • Bank account numbers

    • Date and place of birth

    • Mother's maiden name

    • Biometric data (height, weight, eye color, fingerprints, etc.)

    • SEID

    See http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/pip/privacy/privacy_art/8352.aspx for a more detailed definition.

  2. The protection of this information is of vital concern to the Service; every effort must be made to protect it. Ensure that you and your employees review your electronic files and paper holdings for this type of information. Verify that you have only PII in your possession that you have a "need to know" .

  3. You and your employees must follow proper procedures for safeguarding PII that you have in your immediate possession. PII stored on computer hard drives or transferred to CD-ROMs, jump drives, or other portable media must be encrypted. The FIND-IT Icon on every IRS computer has step-by-step guidance on methods of Encryption.

  4. If a laptop or other electronic device is lost or stolen, it must be reported within one hour to:

    • Your manager

    • The Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC) at 240-613-3606

    • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484

    The timely reporting of all information losses or thefts to CSIRC and TIGTA is critical to ensure that any needed investigation and recovery can be initiated quickly. This can decrease the possibility that the information will be compromised and used to perpetrate identity theft or other forms of fraud.

  5. Additional information on how to protect PII can be found on the Privacy, Governmental Liaison, and Disclosure (PGLD) web site, http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/default.aspx.  (10-01-2013)
Customer Engagement

  1. While EPSS supports external customers, it enjoys relationships with internal customers as well. Customer Engagement relates to how EPSS conducts business with these customers. Policy owners (i.e., organizations within the IRS and other government agencies) contact EPSS to support their products or programs. Form 13764, EPSS Customer Engagement Request Form, will be used to initiate this process. This document serves as the basis for an initial meeting with EPSS to discuss the project and tailor support to meet the needs of the business organization.  (10-01-2015)
Business Requirements

  1. The success of the support provided by EPSS is largely dependent upon the commitment of the policy owner to provide quality service and customer satisfaction. The business must provide the following:

    • Completed Form 13764, EPSS Customer Engagement Request Form.

    • Approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining business, funding, and training agreements.

    • Completed solution documents (also known as Knowledge Management (KM) articles) in electronic format within 60 days of EPSS support start date. Solutions must provide instructions on how to resolve customer issues. Policy Owners must approve all new solutions, and participate in the annual solutions update process.

    • Staff (a primary and a secondary contact) to work all Level 3 Incidents assigned to their respective business provider group.


      All business analysts will be assigned to a Provider Group. Incidents that require a business response will be assigned to this group. Analysts must login to EHSS daily to work any cases assigned. If the Incident remains open, EHSS will automatically send an email to the analyst’s manager every two (2) hours until the case is assigned.

    • Negotiated agreements with National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) for any labor issues related to EPSS bargaining unit employees.

    • EPSS clearance on all Unified Work Requests (UWR) related to products supported by the e-help Desk and TSO.

  2. EPSS support includes the following:

    • Business requirements consultation

    • Professionally trained staff committed to timely resolution of customer issues

    • Toll-free technical support number (e-help Desk 866-255-0654, Affordable Care Act (ACA) product line 866-937-4130, or TSO 866-455-7438)

    • Technical support number for international callers (e-help Desk 512-416-7750 or TSO 304–263–8700)

    • Email support, if appropriate

    • EHSS training for policy owners (IRM,Training)

    • Weekly call volume and Interaction/Incident reporting (IRM, EHSS Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery)

    • Annual Filing Season Readiness Workshop

  3. Policy owners will contact EPSS headquarters analyst with all issues regarding product support. They should not go directly to the EPSS sites to initiate or change support. Information can be found under the EPSS Customer Engagement on the EPSS web site at http://win.web.irs.gov/epss_home.html.  (10-01-2013)
Training Requirements

  1. A highly-trained workforce is an EPSS priority. As such, products will not be supported without appropriate training material. The training will cover system functionality and a review of the solutions that will be added to the EHSS database for Interaction/Incident research and documentation. The Policy Owner (business) must provide:

    • Formal training material during the project planning phase. Guidance for the development of training material may be obtained from Learning and Education or the EPSS Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality Section.

    • Just-in-time classroom training for EPSS employees prior to product deployment. Logins and passwords will be provided as needed.

    • On-site expert(s) for two to four weeks after the product "go-live" date.

    • Annual filing season readiness updates and training material will be due June 30th. Requests for updates for course development will be sent from the Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality Section and/or the Technology Design and Support Center.  (09-05-2008)
Funding Requirements

  1. Policy Owners may be required to provide funding reimbursement to EPSS for new products or services that increase e-help Desk/TSO support. Reimbursement amounts are calculated by the FTE expended to provide direct support, overhead, and training hours. Additional funding may be required for special reporting and programming.  (09-05-2008)
The Process

  1. The average lead time for EPSS is six months for the following tasks:

    • Telephone Scripting

    • Solutions Development

    • Technical Support Staffing Analysis

    • Training Development and Delivery


    These tasks may be handled concurrently.

  2. To begin this process take the following steps:

    1. The policy owner will complete Form 13764,EPSS Customer Engagement Request Form, and send it to designated EPSS staff members.

    2. EPSS will review the request and contact the business for a project planning meeting, usually within ten (10) business days. The meeting will serve as a forum to discuss help desk services, product details, resources, and expected delivery dates.

    3. EPSS will develop a project plan detailing tasks to be completed prior to the support start date.

    4. A MOU will be prepared which outlines the business, training, and funding agreements between EPSS and the Policy Owner. The MOU must be approved before the EPSS support start date.

  3. IRM 3.42.7, EPSS Help Desk Support, provides instructions for assistors at e-help Desk sites. Business analysts responsible for the product will also use this IRM for procedures.  (10-01-2013)
Discovered Remittance

  1. If remittances are found in the work area, they are to be immediately taken to the unit manager. The Manager/Coordinator will immediately record the remittance daily on Form 4287, "Record of Discovered Remittances" log.

  2. See IRM 3.8.46, Discovered Remittance, for more information on handling Discovered Remittances.

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