- 1.4.18 Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) Managers Guide
- 220.127.116.11 Electronic Products and Services Support Customer Focus
- 18.104.22.168.1 Help Desk Support
- 22.214.171.124 EPSS Business Measures
- 126.96.36.199 The Manager's Roles
- 188.8.131.52 Leadership
- 184.108.40.206 Administrative Guidelines
- 220.127.116.11.1 Recurring Duties of the EPSS Manager
- 18.104.22.168.1.1 Daily Duties
- 22.214.171.124.1.2 Weekly Duties
- 126.96.36.199.1.3 Monthly Duties
- 188.8.131.52.1.4 Periodic Duties
- 184.108.40.206.1.5 Annual Duties
- 220.127.116.11.2 Leave Administration
- 18.104.22.168.3 Conduct Counseling
- 22.214.171.124.4 Employee Performance
- 126.96.36.199.4.1 Monitoring and Reviews
- 188.8.131.52.4.2 Managers
- 184.108.40.206.4.3 Telephone/Paper Monitoring
- 220.127.116.11.4.4 Feedback and Follow-Up
- 18.104.22.168.4.5 Sharing Reviews
- 22.214.171.124.4.6 Contact Recording
- 126.96.36.199.4.7 Access to Recorded Calls
- 188.8.131.52.4.8 Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS)
- 184.108.40.206.4.9 Training
- 220.127.116.11 Non-Evaluative or Coaching Reviews
- 18.104.22.168 Operational Review Overview
- 22.214.171.124.1 Operations Support Staff Conducting Reviews
- 126.96.36.199.2 Department, Operation or Front Line Manager
- 188.8.131.52 e-help Support System (EHSS) Guidelines
- 184.108.40.206.1 System Configuration
- 220.127.116.11.2 Online 5081
- 18.104.22.168.3 Creating and Updating Interactions/Incidents
- 22.214.171.124.4 Managing Your Worklist
- 126.96.36.199.5 Monitoring email in EHSS
- 188.8.131.52.6 EHSS Change Control Board
- 184.108.40.206.7 EHSS Solutions Board
- 220.127.116.11 Aspect Telephone System Guidelines
- 18.104.22.168.1 ASPECT Assistance
- 22.214.171.124.2 Aspect Supervisor Features
- 126.96.36.199.2.1 Aspect Changes, Updates or Deletions
- 188.8.131.52.3 Staffing Requirements
- 184.108.40.206 Reports
- 220.127.116.11 EHSS Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery
- 18.104.22.168 Miscellaneous Procedures
- 22.214.171.124.1 Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) Codes
- 126.96.36.199.2 Subscribing to QuickAlerts
- 188.8.131.52.3 EPSS Communications
- 184.108.40.206.4 Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
- 220.127.116.11.5 Customer Engagement
- 18.104.22.168.5.1 Business Requirements
- 22.214.171.124.5.2 Training Requirements
- 126.96.36.199.5.3 Funding Requirements
- 188.8.131.52.5.4 The Process
- 184.108.40.206.6 Discovered Remittance
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 4. Resource Guide for Managers
Section 18. Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) Managers Guide
September 04, 2015
(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.4.18, Resource Guide for Managers, Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) Managers Guide.
(1) IRM 220.127.116.11 Electronic Products and Services Support- Customer Focus - In (2), added ACA electronic filing of Forms 1094/1095-B and Forms 1094/1095-C.
(2) IRM 18.104.22.168 Administrative Guidelines - Revised link to IManage web site.
(3) IRM 22.214.171.124.1.1 Daily Duties - In Monitor EHSS paragraph, added instruction to evaluate and ensure Contribute Knowledge Articles are returned to the assistor when appropriate or submitted to the Solutions Board for consideration.
(4) IRM 126.96.36.199.5 Monitoring email in EHSS - In (1), added Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to list of customers.
(5) IPU 14U1696 issued 12-17-2014 IRM 188.8.131.52.6 EHSS Change Control Board - Added new section. Previous section IRM 184.108.40.206.6 EHSS Solutions Board, renumbered to IRM 220.127.116.11.7.
(6) IRM 18.104.22.168.7 EHSS Solutions Board - Added (2) to include cross reference to IRM 22.214.171.124.1 Contribute Knowledge and stress the importance for managers/leads to review and act on Contribute Knowledge Articles submitted by their employees in a timely manner.
(7) IRM 126.96.36.199.2.1 Aspect Changes, Updates or Deletions - Minor rewording.
(8) IRM 188.8.131.52 Reports - In (2), revised link to EPSS web site.
(9) IRM 184.108.40.206.3 EPSS Communications - Added designated personnel will issue communications from the *EPSS mailbox. For more information, refer to the EPSS Communication Request Job Aid located on the EPSS SERP Portal.
(10) IRM 220.127.116.11.5.1 Business Requirements - In (3), revised link to EPSS web site.
(11) Various sections, minor grammatical and editorial changes throughout the IRM.
Managers will use this IRM in conjunction with IRM 3.42.7, EPSS Help Desk Support, IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), and IRM 21.3.11,Information Returns Reporting Procedures, which provide policies and procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support assistors and other users.
Director, Electronic Products and Services Support
Wage and Investment Division
Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) managers must provide leadership and direction to employees responsible for supporting IRS electronic products (e-products). EPSS recognizes the importance of using innovative technologies and employs a holistic approach to managing users of IRS electronic products.
The EPSS organization has sites in: Andover, Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati, Lanham/Seabrook, Martinsburg, and Ogden. EPSS supports the following programs:
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Form Acceptance
ACA electronic filing of Forms 1094/1095-B and Forms 1094/1095-C
Electronic filing of tax returns
e-services includes Registration, IRS e-file Application, Transcript Delivery System (TDS), and TIN Matching
Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
System for Award Management (SAM)
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Online Registration
Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)
Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) Application
Below is a list of EPSS customers:
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Providers
Circular 230 Practitioners
Department of Defense
Electronic Return Originators
FATCA Online Registration Users
Intermediate Service Providers
Income Verification Express Service (IVES) Users
Low Income Tax Clinics (LITC)
Payers or Issuers
Registered Return Preparers
State Tax Administration Agencies
Tax Assistance Centers (TAC)
Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) Offices
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites
The primary tool for documenting customer contacts is the e-help Support System (EHSS). Contacts are documented as Interactions and used to capture and track information such as who is reporting the problem, the nature of the problem, and the solution to the problem (including failed solutions). This ensures the customer’s complete contact history with EPSS is documented.
EPSS is staffed by employees with extensive knowledge of IRS electronic products. Some tasks performed in the position require a very specialized skill set.
EPSS escalation path for assistance is as follows:
Level 1 - The assistor is the first point of contact for customer issues. The Level 1 assistor maintains contact directly with the customer and interfaces with internal support groups as necessary. Level 1 handles all issues within the scope of their training and authority. They are responsible for documenting the Interaction in a detailed and complete manner. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, failed transmissions, rejected returns, and assistance with Internet-based applications. If an issue is beyond the scope of Level 1, the Interaction is transferred/escalated to Level 2 or as instructed in the solution.
Level 2 - The employee has more experience, knowledge and training needed for resolution of an issue. Level 2 personnel include but are not limited to Information Technology (IT) specialists, leads, managers, business analysts, etc. Level 2 resolves issues and follows up with the customer to ensure all issues have been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, error code issues resulting from web products, e-services trouble shooting, and communication and connectivity issues not resolved at Level 1. Level 2 will engage Level 3 as necessary.
Level 3 - Personnel interfaces with internal groups, not external customers. System administrators and developers handle issues which may include but are not limited to, web server availability, undocumented hard code errors, etc.
EHSS is used to provide support to external customers. It is the primary tool for customer interaction and trouble-ticketing. Email is a function within EHSS that allows EPSS to manage and track emails from select customers, from arrival through response. The email function provides for intelligent routing service-level management and reporting. It allows for content management through content analysis techniques and keyword searches to automate problem identification. EPSS is a full service support network skilled in providing technical assistance to external customers who encounter problems using IRS electronic products.
It is essential to establish quantitative performance measures for the proper operation of any organization. EPSS has established measures that support and reinforce the achievement of the IRS' stated mission and overall strategic goals. The IRS has developed Balanced Measures that are central to the five levels of change identified for restructuring and modernization.
The three areas of measurement are:
Customer Satisfaction – The telephonic survey provides the IRS with the ability to analyze customer feedback. This allows EPSS to monitor satisfaction and instantly know which aspects of the e-services applications have the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Employee Satisfaction – EPSS utilizes the IRS Workgroup Questionnaire. The questionnaire identifies successes and improvement opportunities to increase employee satisfaction, employee engagement while achieving higher productivity through a quality work environment.
Business Results – EPSS has developed and implemented business measures to provide information on current performance, determine if goals are met, and identify improvement opportunities. The results from the measures are communicated to customers, stakeholders, and other interested parties.
The EPSS business measures and their definitions are below. EPSS provides the Business Measure Goals in the annual program letter.
Customer Accuracy – Customer Accuracy is defined as a live assistor providing the correct answer with the correct resolution. It measures how often the customer received the correct answer to their inquiry and/or had their case resolved correctly based upon all available information and IRM required actions. This measure is a weighted score to reflect the relative volume of the e-help Phones Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG).
First Contact Resolution (FCR) – The percentage of customer Interactions resolved on first contact.
Level of Service – The relative success rate of tax professionals that call seeking assistance from an e-help Desk or Technical Services Operation (TSO) employee.
Average Speed of Answer – A measure of the average number of seconds customers waited in queue before receiving service from the e-help Desk or TSO.
Third Party and Business e-Transactions - The sum of all e-services transactions processed through the Integrated Enterprise Portal (IEP) by third parties.
Number of Information Returns Filed Electronically - Total number of information returns processed electronically – includes Form 1098, Form 1099, Form 5498, Form W-2G, Form 1042-S, and Schedule K-1 (excludes Form W-2 and Form 1099-SSA/RRB received from SSA).
Percent of Information Returns Filed Electronically - The percent of information returns processed that were electronically filed – includes Form 1098, Form 1099, Form 5498, Form W-2G, Form 1042-S, and Schedule K-1 (excludes Form W-2 and Form 1099-SSA/RRB received from SSA).
Broadly stated, EPSS managers fulfill three roles:
Leading employees to achieve a goal
Executing administrative responsibilities
Scheduling and controlling the assigned workload
This IRM is organized along these three topics.
Leadership is the process of influencing people to achieve a set of desired results. As a team leader in the EPSS organization, your role significantly impacts the achievement of the program objectives. You are expected to take ownership of all program assignments and be knowledgeable of all policies and procedures contained within this IRM, IRM, Part 1 (Organization and Staffing, Wage and Investment Division) as well as IRM 3.42.7, EPSS Help Desk Support, IRM 21.3.11, Information Returns Reporting Procedures, IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), and other applicable IRM references.
It is important that you lead by example. The workgroup will follow your leadership when they view you modeling what you communicate. Leadership requires that you model the highest standards of ethics and integrity. A workgroup is reflective of its leadership. A positive attitude will influence your employees and contribute to creating a quality work environment.
Leadership involves coaching and mentoring your employees. As you identify opportunities for performance improvement, it is your role as a leader to assist the employees in improving performance through coaching, mentoring, and providing timely feedback. As a leader at the IRS, you are to lead using the balanced measures approach by considering customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and business results. See IRM 18.104.22.168, EPSS Business Measures.
A major objective of IRS Leadership Development is promoting and supporting continuous learning. See the following web site for information on leadership development: http://hco.web.irs.gov/devtrain/index.html.
General administrative guidelines for all IRS managers are found in IRM 1.4,Resource Guide for Managers.
Internet and intranet web sites contain the most up-to-date information. IRM 22.214.171.124, Quick Links to Useful Web Pages for Managers, is especially helpful. It provides links to useful web sites where managers can find guidelines and instructions to complete their jobs. There are also sites designed to assist with the development of managers and their employees. A few of the many helpful sites are shown below:
IRS Intranet Home Pagehttp://irweb.irs.gov/ – Provides the starting point for research.
iManage web site https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/iManage/ME/SitePages/Home.aspx - Contains information, links, tools, videos and more to help managers grow and succeed in their roles as leaders.
Life Links http://win.web.irs.gov/lifelinks_home.htm – Provided by the W&I Division for its managers.
Mandatory Briefingshttp://e-learning.web.irs.gov/Briefings/index.html – Provides information on the delivery of mandatory employee briefings. Encourage employees to utilize the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS) to take the briefings. ELMS automatically updates their learning history as they finish each briefing and tracks their progress.
Joint Operations Center (JOC)http://joc.enterprise.irs.gov/ – Provides links to service, support, and technology for all telephone, correspondence, and electronic media for Joint Operations Center customers.
Enterprise Telephone Data (ETD) Reporting http://etd.ds.irsnet.gov/etd/ – Provides links to reports to assess business and employee performance.
Emergency Information http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/current/emergency.htm – Provides information regarding assault/threat incidents, bribery attempts, Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT), significant incidents, sexual harassment, bomb threats card, personal safety, safety and security overview, and suicide threats.
The work in EPSS is often fast-paced and intense. Managers must continually be cognizant of the conduct and performance of permanent and returning seasonal employees, as well as the progress of any new hires. At the same time, an acceptable level of service must be provided to customers and an acceptable level of inventories maintained.
A ready knowledge of administrative procedures is essential. Procedures must be implemented timely so that resources can be best utilized. Thus, it is critical that managers be alert to tasks that occur at regular intervals.
The following sections provide a breakdown of some of those tasks and the intervals at which they should be performed. Though not all inclusive, it serves as a quick reference guide of managerial duties. For detailed instructions, always refer to the National Agreement or other appropriate resource materials.
Perform the following duties daily:
Check voice mail – Check personal voice-mail for important messages. This is especially important at the beginning of the shift when employees may call in if they are unable to come to work.
Check email – Check email throughout your shift. You may wish to set Microsoft Outlook to notify you when messages are received.
Attend conference calls – Because EPSS sites are in different locations around the country, conference calls are one of the primary means of communication. Attend calls promptly and submit agenda items when appropriate prior to the meeting.
Escalate program issues - Escalate program issues to the appropriate Operations Support (OS) analyst for research/resolution. Do not send technical program issues directly to an external analyst or to the Quality Team, EHSS Solutions Board, etc. as this will delay the response.
Reply timely to items requiring a response – Items requiring a response may be received in meetings or more frequently by email. Respond within the requested time frame, even if the response is "none," "NA," "no comment," or "negative."
Sign Online 5081 requests – Employees can request access to a system, have a profile unlocked, or a password reset through the Online 5081 system. When an employee makes a request, you will receive an email notification. Signing these requests is a priority.
Maintain attendance roster – Attendance and leave usage will be recorded daily to help identify developing issues. When a leave issue problem is detected, counseling and documentation will be initiated.
Evaluative Review – Review and complete documentation for Interactions and telephone calls for each employee. You may wish to complete some each day. See IRM 126.96.36.199.4.1, Monitoring and Reviews.
Review and Share Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS) Defects – If you disagree with the defect charged, ensure your rebuttal is submitted to the Quality Team no later than ten business days from the date that the call was reviewed by CQRS. If you agree with the defect, share the review with the employee. Refer to IRM 188.8.131.52.4.8, Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS).
Monitor WebView – Use this tool to manage lunches, breaks, confirm the number of assistors on the telephone, and reassign staffing as needed. Communicate to upper management and the operation's telephone system analyst on any obstacle that will prevent adherence to the telephone schedule. The operations telephone analyst will notify the program analyst if needed. See IRM 184.108.40.206.3.8, WebView.
Review Daily Aspect Crystal Reports – Use these tools to identify and address areas of concern, such as extended or frequent idle periods and excessive wrap times. See IRM 220.127.116.11.2, Aspect Crystal Reports.
Monitor EHSS – Monitor EHSS for open Interactions/Incidents and new Contribute Knowledge Article requests. Ensure EHSS worklist and leads worklist items are being assigned timely and elevated issues are being resolved. Respond to escalation emails. Ensure Contribute Knowledge Articles are returned to the assistor when appropriate or submitted to the EHSS Solutions Board for consideration.
Counsel employees – Complete performance and conduct counseling as required. See IRM 18.104.22.168.3,Conduct Counseling, and IRM 22.214.171.124.4,Employees Performance.
Perform the following duties weekly:
Review Forecast Staffing Requirements – Review the forecast upon receipt and daily, if necessary, to ensure adherence. Inform your department manager (DM) of any obstacles that will prevent you from meeting the schedule, such as scheduled meetings or training, or completing paper inventories.
Review Ultra Intelliquality Inbox – Review the Contact Recording Inbox to ensure that all employees appear in the list of team members and calls are populating for each employee.
Complete strength report – Provide to the DM timely; report any changes to staffing (i.e., details, seasonal releases, etc.).
Request any overtime or compensatory hours – The request needs to be made by the second Tuesday of the pay period prior to the pay period the overtime or compensatory hours are needed.
Review and validate WebSETR (Single Entry Time Reporting) input – Check all entries (functions, programs, time codes, hours and volumes) for each employee and validate/sign weekly by close of business (COB) Friday. Print the Employee Summary report the first Tuesday of the pay period (especially when there is a major change in staffing) to ensure all employees are included. Verify entries are reviewed, validated and signed by COB the second Friday of each pay period for all employees.
Changes to SETR records - Changes that were signed by COB Friday of each pay period must be entered, final validation, and SETR signed again no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday after the pay period has closed.
Perform Auto 2787 Overtime Reconciliation – Overtime, compensatory and holiday hours worked, must be requested, authorized and funds approved in advance. After the hours are worked, the Form 2787 Authorization and Report of Overtime Worked (Excel version) is submitted to the appropriate managers for signature. The report must be input and completed no later than COB Tuesday following the end of the pay period. Two complete and accurate copies of the report will be given to the department management and program assistant. Keep one copy for your files. A separate report must be prepared for compensatory time worked. Be sure to use the correct authorization number for each report.
Aged Interactions/Incidents - Review aged case reports for closures or updates.
IDRS Online Reports Services (IORS) - Managers must access the IDRS Online Reports Services (IORS) system on a weekly and monthly basis to perform required electronic security reviews for employees with access to the IDRS system.
Security Audit & Analysis System (SAAS) - The Security Audit and Analysis System (SAAS) implements a data warehousing solution to provide on-line analytical processing of audit trail data. The system enables IRS and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to detect potential unauthorized accesses to IRS systems and will provide analysis capabilities and reporting on data for all modernized and some current processing environment applications.
Perform the following duties monthly:
Prepare annual evaluations – Annual ratings must be issued on a monthly basis between October and June. The due date is determined by the last digit of the employee's social security number (SSN). Develop a listing of all team employees based on their SSNs to ensure that no employee is omitted.
Prepare progress reviews – All employees must receive at least one progress review before the end of the rating cycle. See National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 2L and 9, at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.
Consider employees for career ladder promotions – Employees in career ladder positions will be promoted in the first pay period after they become minimally eligible to be promoted and they are capable of satisfactorily performing at the next higher level. It is the manager's responsibility to track career ladder promotions and submit personnel actions timely. The Employee Resource Center (ERC) has a link to a Career Ladder Promotion Calculator at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/AnswerType.asp?QuestionID=1631&SubCategoryID=0&CategoryID=115&FolderID=5 to help identify when the promotion is due. If there are questions about an employee’s eligibility date due to prior experience, temporary promotions, etc., the manager may submit an ERC ticket and request verification of eligibility. See National Agreement, Article 13, Section 8 at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html. Use data from Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) reviews, phone, email, paper, and other sources to complete documentation and share it with employees. A signed copy of the documentation will be placed in the Employee Performance File (EPF). Mail a copy of the documentation to employees who are in non-work status.
Create Weekly/Bi-Weekly Phone Schedules - Use the Forecast Staffing Requirements to create an employee phone schedule that incorporates phone, non-phone, meetings, training, breaks, and lunches.
Perform the following duties periodically:
Correct personnel/payroll problems – Promptly address any employee concerns regarding personnel or payroll. Employees may initiate an inquiry themselves or contact you for assistance. Contacts (calls or online requests through OS GetServices) to the ERC will be diligently tracked. Provide detailed information on the service ticket to better assist the Human Resources technician who will respond to your inquiry.
Direct Travel – The manager is responsible for directing travel, approving travel expense estimates, and the expenses incurred. Official travel must be consistent with the assignment and not for personal preference or convenience. Travel questions and concerns will be resolved prior to beginning a trip. See IRM 1.32.1, Official IRS Local Travel Guide and IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide.
Submit release and return-to-duty schedules – When several employees are being released, prepare the schedule as soon as possible and submit to the department management and program assistant. Return-to-duty schedules cannot be input until the employee actually reports, but ensure they are prepared timely.
Request vacation schedules – Request vacation schedules from all employees. Annual leave requests made by seasonal employees are subject to the same considerations as requests made by other employees; however, requests may be denied if approval would cause a severe workload interruption. See IRM 126.96.36.199.2.1,Leave Scheduling Process, and the National Agreement, Article 32, Section 3C at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html for additional information.
Prepare for an operational review – Operational reviews can be conducted at any time during the year. Ensure record keeping is up-to-date and employee’s EPFs and drop folders contain current documentation.
Prepare commitments and self-assessments – Prepare commitments at the beginning of the rating period. Keep a drop file of achievements. Prepare a self-assessment based on the Performance Management System's critical performance expectations for your mid-year and annual evaluations. The manager will provide guidance as needed.
Submit Training Request - Submit all training to the *W&I EPSS Training mailbox as a meeting invite with a class roster attached. This will ensure the training is captured by both the telephone systems analyst (SA) staff in forecasting and by the Workforce, Planning, Training and Quality (WPTQ) staff in planning.
Perform the following duties annually:
Conduct Expectations Meeting – Meet with employees annually to share your expectations. All Service employees are subject to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Standards of Ethical Conduct. Document 12011, "Plain Talk about Ethics and Conduct," provides an overview of the most common conduct and ethical issues facing Service employees. A receipt for the expectations will be signed and placed in the employee's drop file, along with other conduct documentation. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) will be notified of the meeting.
Assign employees to a performance plan – Provide employees with a copy of their performance plan, which includes the Retention Standard and Critical Job Elements (CJEs), annually. This can be shared during Expectation Meetings.
If you receive new employees this can be shared in an Expectations Meeting. Ensure Form 6774, Receipt of Critical Job Elements and Fair and Equitable Treatment of Taxpayers Retention Standard, is signed and kept in the employee's EPF. Meet individually with leads to communicate additional expectations for them. Provide training on managerial duties so that they can act for you in your absence. Keep a drop file of employees' accomplishments as you observe their performance.
Conduct Mandatory Employee Briefings – The IRS uses online delivery tools for six mandatory employee briefings: Information Management which includes Unauthorized Access (UNAX), Computer Security Awareness, and Privacy/Disclosure. The additional briefings are Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH), Ethics, and Safety and Health. Direct employees to complete the briefings accordingly. After all employees have completed the Ethics briefing, schedule a formal discussion. The traditional "in person" method of delivery for any of these briefings is considered a formal discussion and managers must follow the procedures in the National Agreement, Article 8, Section 1. Contact your local Labor Relations (LR) specialist on any questions concerning formal discussions. See National Agreement at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.
Managers must consider the enterprise workload and staffing needs by application prior to planning, scheduling, and approving annual leave.
Managers must balance the need to accomplish the work of the organization with accommodating employees who want to use leave. Annual leave must be granted or denied dependent on the workload of the unit. Sick leave must be used according to its intended purpose.
It is important that leave issues be addressed early and consistently. A leave problem results whenever an employee fails to meet or follow the manager's expectations regarding leave.
Schedule employee vacations and other leave in such a way as to minimize the effect on the accomplishment of the work. When there are conflicts, grant preference to employees with the most service as determined by enter on duty (EOD) date. When it is anticipated that call volumes will be greater than usual, use discretion when granting leave.
Review and approve leave using either a yearly or quarterly calendar following these general guidelines:
Provide employees with a yearly calendar identifying workload peaks when leave will be limited.
If using a yearly calendar, request that employees submit completed calendars no later than February 1st.
If using a quarterly calendar (January – March, April – June, July – September, October – December), request the employees complete the quarterly calendar 60 days before the quarter begins. All leave will be approved/denied 30 days before the beginning of each quarter.
Consider atypical conditions on a case-by-case basis no matter which method is used.
Ask seasonal employees to submit leave requests within five (5) workdays of return to duty status.
Leave scheduling is done at the team level and based on adherence; however the scheduling of major holidays, is done enterprise wide.
For additional policies on leave issues, the following resources are available:
Employee Resource Center - "Pay, Leave & Benefits" tab, Time and Leave Guidance Link - http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/folderContent.asp?folderID=5 –
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – Leave Home Page – http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/index.asp
National Agreement – http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html
IRM 6.630.1, Absence and Leave
Leave usage will be monitored frequently. Counsel employees with leave issues as problems occur. Each employee will be provided with summary leave documentation at least quarterly.
Take the following steps to address a leave problem:
Leave Reminders – After recognizing that a problem exists, bring the problem to the employee's attention in an informal discussion. Use a memorandum to ensure that the employee understands your expectations. Explain the reason for the expectations as well. Encourage the employee to participate in developing a solution to the problem.
Memorandum for the Record – If satisfactory improvement is not made, counsel the employee again. Reiterate your expectations and explain how the employee is not in compliance.
Leave Restrictions – If the problem continues, discuss the situation with your DM and contact your LR specialist for guidance. A "Leave Restriction" letter may be necessary.
Follow the direction of your DM and LR specialist regarding issuing any counseling memorandums.
Most employees report to work on time, adhere to office rules, and have a positive attitude. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions. On these occasions, managers must take steps to address the problems.
The three rules for effective conduct counseling and documentation are to be fair, consistent, and specific. Address conduct issues immediately and document your counseling sessions.
Always make sure you provide the necessary details: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Make your documentation clear and concise. Before scheduling your counseling session, contact your LR specialist to determine if the employee has a right to union representation at the counseling session. Your LR specialist also can provide guidance on how much advance notice is required to provide the employee with sufficient time to contact a steward if the employee has a right to representation, and the employee wants representation at the counseling session.
To plan for your counseling session, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the situation? Be very specific and look for facts.
What do I know about the employee?
What do I hope to accomplish in this discussion?
How will I open the session, ask questions, discuss follow-up plans, and conclude the discussion?
The following steps may be helpful when counseling employees about their conduct:
Describe the situation in detail. Use specific, observable facts to describe exactly what the employee did.
Explain what the employee should have done.
Refer to guidance such as Operations Expectations or Document 12011, "Plain Talk About Ethics and Conduct" .
Ask for the employee's assistance. This should be very clear. For example, "I need your help in resolving this."
Discuss a specific action plan for follow-up.
Sign and date the documentation. The employee will also sign. The employee's signature only indicates receipt, not agreement, with the documentation.
Provide the employee with a copy and place the original in the employee's "drop" file.
Follow the direction of your DM or LR specialist regarding the issues below:
Forward employee counseling memos on conduct issues to your DM and LR specialist, when appropriate, for review prior to sharing them with employees.
As the leader of your workgroup, you are responsible for the development of your employees. Clear, fair, and consistent communication is essential. What you say, or do not say, impacts your employees' performance, which in turn impacts business results. Ensure that you provide consistent communication to your employees on their performance. Employees want and need to know how they are doing so they can learn and grow.
As a part of the IRS Performance Management System, supervisors must continuously monitor employees' progress against critical performance expectations, identify deficiencies, and initiate corrective actions. Observations must be documented throughout the performance period. This will aid you when completing the mandatory mid-year progress reviews and annual evaluations.
Employee performance while on the phone has two components: reviewing the call audio and screens, if available, through Contact Recording and capturing review documentation in an Embedded Quality or Contact Recording Data Collection Instrument (DCI). Evaluating an employee's performance has two components: reviewing documentation made in appropriate systems (e.g., EHSS) and monitoring telephone calls on Aspect. Contact Recording will be used for this purpose. For additional information on the use of Contact Recording see IRM 188.8.131.52.4.6,Contact Recording.
EPSS managers conduct the following types of review:
Case (paper, email) reviews
IDRS (Security and Inventory reviews)
Clerical reviews (Form 3210, Acknowledgement and Follow-Up, mail receipt, distribution etc.)
Telephone reviews, case reviews, and reviewing documentation are performed for the following reasons:
To make an objective assessment of an employee’s performance on an ongoing basis and to ensure that adequate information is available for mid-year and annual appraisals.
To protect the rights of customers.
To identify training needs.
All reviews must be documented in writing and readily available. Focus performance reviews on effective case and call resolution according to IRM guidelines. Emphasize the importance of quality service as well as the efficiency of case work and telephone calls. For telephone calls, managers will determine whether the handle time is appropriate to the call reviewed, considering hold time, wrap time, and talk time. Calls will also be reviewed to assess professionalism. Always provide IRM references to assist with training needs and IRM clarification. When reviewing phone calls, Timeliness and Professionalism attributes are subjective; managers must consider the situation and complexity of the call when making determinations.
A manager narrates the review using enough detail to support their assessment. Clearly identify to the employee actions taken (or not taken) to accomplish the CJEs. The evaluative review forms used in EPSS, in both Embedded Quality Review System and Contact Recording, identify the CJE for each action the employee addressed during the call. Provide examples of what employee said and examples of what could have been said.
Perform the required monitoring and paper reviews each month. Department managers and/or operations managers must set review requirements for their call sites. Conduct a balance or mix of these reviews (telephone and paper reviews) throughout the year relative to an employee's work assignments. When necessary, conduct side-by-side non-evaluative reviews for skill development.
E-help and TSO Customer Service Section management will conduct a minimum of two telephone reviews per employee per month. If employees work paper (including email, forms, correspondence etc.) managers will conduct one paper review per employee per month.
TSO Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Support (FS), Information Filing Support (IFS), and Products and Services Support (PSS) management will conduct a minimum of two telephone reviews per employee per month. Results of the reviews will be documented in Contact Recording.
All managers will develop a monthly schedule that lists all employees and the date their reviews will be conducted.
Annotate the reason on the schedule if unable to complete the required number of reviews. Complete the Exception/Waiver Memorandum when the employee does not receive the required reviews in any month and have it approved by the DM. A waiver is not required when the employee is not on board for the entire month. Provide a copy to the employee and maintain the original in the employee's review folder.
Retain and file review sheets in each employee's contact monitoring folder for operational reviews by DMs.
Evaluative telephone monitoring will focus on whether or not the assistor handled the call and documented the case according to IRM guidelines (e.g., provided sufficient detail in the description or used Knowledge Management to determine the correct solution). Review results must be linked directly to the employee's CJEs. Use the appropriate Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG), in EQRS or Contact Recording Evaluations (962, 355, 2210) to record results of a review.
Time frames for sharing feedback are covered in the National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 4 and 9. Evaluative recordation falls under Article 12 Section 9 and will be shared "within fifteen (15) workdays of the time the supervisor becomes aware, or should have been aware, of the event which it addresses." If the employee has provided incorrect information to a taxpayer, the Employer will inform the employee as soon as possible. See National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 4 and 9, at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.
Evaluative reviews must be conducted by a manager or an individual in an official acting manager capacity. Leads may provide supplemental evaluative recordation; however, the manager must share the review with the employee. The lead must sign the documentation as the reviewer and the manager must concur with and sign the review prior to sharing with the employee.
Obtain the employee's signature on the Embedded Quality Review System DCI or Contact Recording Evaluation. Provide the employee a copy and file a copy in the employee's contact monitoring folder. The shared evaluative review must be filed in the employee's EPF, with a copy to the employee. When it is time for a progress review or the employee's annual appraisal utilize EQRS or Contact Recording (CR) Reports to compile data for a specific period.
EQRS is a standardized data repository with trend analysis capabilities and reporting capabilities to use for employee evaluations.
Always sign and date the documentation before sharing it with the employee. Your documentation is only valid if you have signed it. The employee's signature only indicates receipt, not agreement, with the document. If the employee refuses to sign, indicate "Employee Refused to Sign" on the signature line.
Department managers must ensure team managers conduct sufficient telephone monitoring and case reviews to provide employees with a well documented evaluation. An EQRS or CR Report is available for this purpose.
Managers must use the approved EQRS DCI for each applicable SPRG or Contact Recording Evaluation.
Develop a method for recording the pertinent facts of the call. Ensure all information needed to determine if a call/case is correct or incorrect is captured.
Conduct a minimum of two evaluative reviews per month (phone or paper) for each employee.
Department managers provide monthly feedback to front line managers regarding adherence to the review requirement. This feedback addresses number of reviews conducted for each employee, type of review (paper, phones, targeted) and types of errors identified.
If for some reason reviews cannot be conducted on an employee (e.g., extended illness, furlough, managerial absence, etc.), a review (exception) memorandum is placed in the Employee's EPF explaining why the required numbers of reviews were not conducted.
IRM 184.108.40.206.9, Policy Statement 1-44, includes the use of monitoring employee telephone conversations for evaluative and training purposes.
Telephone/Paper monitoring is an important review within the EPSS organization. When monitoring, managers can determine whether the employee:
Addressed disclosure issues
Treated the customer with respect, courtesy and fairness
Followed EHSS procedures
Resolved the call/case per IRM guidelines
Provided an accurate answer
Applied appropriate communication skills
When problems are consistently identified during the monitoring/reviewing process, managers will determine the best course of action to correct the problems, e.g., OJI, IRM review, on-line courses, etc.
Review results may reveal strengths and weaknesses of employees and identify the need for managerial monitoring to evaluate employee performance. Managerial monitoring must be performed independently from Product Reviews. Product Review results cannot be used to evaluate employees.
Product Review data is used to identify trends, problem areas, and overall site quality.
Sharing monitoring results is a two-way communication. The Employee Feedback Report or Contact Recording Evaluation are available for this purpose and must be used. After sharing the review, managers must determine if the employee agrees with their assessment.
If an employee ... Then ... Agrees
Commend the positive aspects of the performance.
Discuss areas for improvement.
Obtain the cause of disagreement.
Commend the positive aspects of the performance.
Discuss openly to resolve disputed issues.
Discuss areas for improvement.
Develop a plan to improve performance.
Share results of phone monitoring within three workdays. If incorrect information is provided, the results must be shared as soon as possible. If you do not meet these time frames, (e.g., due to unexpected leave, etc.), notate the reason on the review sheet.
Obtain the employee's acknowledgment on the designated form. Provide one copy to the employee and retain the other copy for the Employee's EPF. Sanitize all employee/taxpayer data containing a SSN or name.
Management may request that a recorded contact be downloaded. The reason for the request must be stated clearly on Form 13817, Request for Downloaded Contact. In general, reasons for these downloads are to retain the call for a period longer than the system retention period (45 days) or to provide a copy of the contact to another party when necessary (TIGTA, Labor Relations, etc.). You will download the call when the Employee disagrees over the content of the contact and the Manager and Employee cannot reach an agreement.
Contact Recording (CR) is a system that captures and stores incoming toll-free telephone contact with customers for the purpose of possible subsequent review. It is used to perform required random reviews (performance and product) of incoming telephone contacts. Screen capture is provided for 10 percent of all calls. When screen capture is available, case research and actions taken in online systems are shown simultaneously with voice recording. The data is stored by employee Standard Employee Identifier (SEID) for a maximum of 45 days.
Review the inbox for your team each week and ensure recorded calls for each employee are present. If calls for an employee actively taking calls are not present in the inbox, notify your Business Application Administrator (BAA) immediately. Choose the most current calls in your inbox for review. This ensures feedback is timely, especially when incorrect information was provided to a caller.
Use the EQRS e-help/Information Return Specialized Review Group (SPRG) Data Collection Instrument (DCI) or the Contact Recording Evaluation Form to prepare written recordation of all calls reviewed for evaluative purposes. The performance aspects in each tool are aligned with the employee's performance plan. After listening to the call, complete the DCI or Contact Recording Evaluation and enter any necessary remarks. During evaluative feedback sessions, employees will be able to review the entire conversation and see their on-screen actions.
If the caller indicates they do not wish to be recorded, the assistor must disable the recording using the Stop On-Demand feature in Contact Recording. These calls will not be evaluated. To ensure assistors are not abusing this feature to prevent their contacts from being recorded, managers can search Contact Recording under the "Intelliquality" field by taking the following steps:
Under "Data Range," select the dates or number of days to be searched.
Under the "Contact Data Section" go to the "StopOnDemand" box, and highlight StopOnDemand.
Under "Site," select the desired site.
Click on Search.
Managers and reviewers requiring access to CR must prepare an Online 5081 requesting access for their site or the site they will be reviewing. The Business Application Administrator (BAA) in the site will approve the form and add the manager/reviewer to the CR database. In order for the BAA to do this, an email identifying the group number and members is necessary.
The CR database contains information on each manager and assistor in a site and identifies the group to which they belong. It is very important the CR database be updated with any changes of managers or assistors (i.e., move to other groups, leave the service, etc.). Send an email to the BAA with the name, login name, SEID, Aspect Login Number, group number and manager’s name to have the change implemented.
Employees may request access to a recorded call used for evaluative purposes and may listen to the call on official time.
At an employee's request, the manager will meet within two (2) business days to listen to and discuss a recorded call together.
The employee may request NTEU representation; however, they must request and receive permission under IRC Section 6103 (b) (4) (A) to listen to calls.
The Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS) staff performs product reviews (non-evaluative) on e-help telephones. Reviews address the five (5) quality measures:
Customer Accuracy – Providing the correct answer with the correct resolution. "Correct" is measured based upon the customer receiving a correct response or resolution to the case or issue, with the necessary case actions or case disposition taken to provide this response or resolution. This measures accuracy from the customer's point of view.
Regulatory Accuracy – Adhering to statutory/regulatory process requirements when making a determination on taxpayer accounts/cases.
Procedural Accuracy – Adhering to non-statutory/nonregulatory internal processing requirements when making a determination on taxpayer accounts/cases.
Professionalism – Promoting a positive image of the Service by using effective communication techniques.
Timeliness – Resolving an issue in the most efficient manner through the use of proper workload management and time utilization techniques.
CQRS reviews of the e-help Desk are performed using the Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG) for e-help Phones.
Managers will receive a spreadsheet showing all reviews performed by CQRS. If a manager disagrees with a defect, they will complete the attached rebuttal sheet and adhere to the due dates provided in the email with the daily DCIs from Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality (WPTQ). This will ensure rebuttals are forwarded to CQRS timely. More guidance regarding rebuttals to CQRS can be found in IRM 220.127.116.11.1, CQRS Defect Rebuttal Procedures.
The manager will share the review with or without defects with the employee. When sharing reviews with employees it is a good idea to have the e-help Phones Job Aid available. The job aid can be found on this link http://eq.web.irs.gov/jo/00Jo.aspx.
EPSS training requirements can be found on the EPSS Training SharePoint at https://organization.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/WICASEpss/Train/default.aspx. Each site has a Training Coordinator who is required to complete the following:
Submit an initial training schedule to Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality (WPTQ) analyst by July 1st.
Notify WPTQ Analyst and SA staff of any and all changes to training by sending an updated meeting Invite to the *W&I EPSS Training mailbox. Include a revised class roster.
Verify that all required courses are listed as completed in their employees’ training history on the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS).
The WPTQ Analyst will monitor the training schedule to completion. The analyst will pull random samples of employees' training histories in ELMS to ensure training has been delivered timely and as required. When there are discrepancies an email is issued to the specific site, and the following guidelines apply:
If your site is not listed, you did not have any training scheduled for the month.
Ensure that the information reported is accurate (i.e., training dates, training hours spent, number of employees trained, and type of employee trained).
Submit new training dates for all courses that are in "incomplete" status.
Managers are expected to provide timely training that an EPSS assistor will need to be proficient in their job.
All front line managers must take all of the courses with employees. Attending the training on an annual basis will ensure that you are proficient and will enable you to appropriately coach and monitor employees, handle elevated customer issues, and address problems that may develop.
Managers and/or their technical lead can perform non-evaluative monitoring on the following:
Paper Inventory reviews
Specific issues (e.g., Disclosure)
The primary purpose of a non-evaluative review is to help the employee develop and enhance their job skills. Effective non-evaluative reviews foster open lines of communication between the employee, the manager, and the technical lead. This enables the manager and/or their lead to receive or provide employee feedback and transfer operational goals informally.
Non-evaluative or coaching reviews do not contain a written rating. Share the results orally. Some documentation is appropriate to establish it actually occurred. EQRS or Contact Recording may be used to track employee development for this purpose. Have the employee initial and date the document. Provide one copy to the employee and retain the other copy in the employee's drop file.
Non-evaluative or coaching reviews have a significant impact on how our callers are treated, since our employees can take immediate advantage of our experience. The manager or the technical lead will conduct the review; however, occasionally delegating these duties to a skilled journey level employee, for training purposes, may be appropriate.
Non-evaluative reviews are conducted for a number of reasons (e.g., identify training needs, improve performance).
Non-evaluative target reviews help focus on issues causing high error rates.
When implementing major procedural revisions, non-evaluative reviews can help managers determine if additional procedural reviews are needed or discussion during team meetings may be needed.
Non-evaluative reviews can help the manager and employee determine progress as a result of training and coaching conducted as part of a performance improvement plan.
When an employee is having difficulty dealing with a caller, non-evaluative monitoring allows the manager to assist the employee, if needed.
You can accomplish non-evaluative monitoring by utilizing periodic side-by-side reviews, when deemed appropriate, or requested by an employee. Use the optional telephone jack (double plugging) on the employee's TeleSet. Apply this technique when circumstances merit an in-depth discussion for training purposes.
You may delegate this non-evaluative review to your technical lead or an On the Job Instructor (OJI). Periodically, delegate this non-evaluative review to an experienced assistor to foster the team approach to improve your group's performance. This approach will ultimately improve the work process.
An Operational Review is an in-depth review and analysis of a particular program or function.
Reviews are conducted by the Operation Support staff (analyst).
Operations Support Staff (analyst) conducting reviews will:
Evaluate and assess
Identify areas to improve
Establish target dates for improvement
Identify and praise accomplishments
Provide a follow-up on action items
The review will address:
Workload management practices
Personnel management practices
Compare the above practices to the following:
Policies and regulations
Memos of Understanding (MOUs)
Business measures and goals
Prepare a schedule of planned reviews at the beginning of each fiscal year and no later than November 1st. Provide the schedule to the operation manager, or director, as appropriate.
Request the information needed from the manager 30 days in advance, so all information is available at the start of the review. This may include the following items:
Employee Performance Files (EPF)
Drop Files (including meeting minutes)
Employee Survey Satisfaction results
Work Planning and Control (WP&C) data
Aged case listings
Sample of closed cases
Sample of open cases
Average handle time reports
Totally Automated Personnel System (TAPS) data
Updates on Engagement Strategy (ES) Tracker data
It is recommended when reviewing a Team Manager (TM) that you review a minimum of six EPFs; including a technical lead, one team clerk/management and program assistant and four Customer Service Representatives or tax examiners if applicable. Also, try to review EPFs of employees with different levels of experience.
It is recommended when reviewing a DM that you review at least half of all EPFs of those who directly report to the DM, plus samples of employees' EPFs from teams within that department.
Obtain assistance, as needed, on completing technical portions of the review such as the closed case reviews. Operations managers may also obtain assistance from the Operation Support staff to assist with department reviews.
Allow sufficient time for performing the review, writing the report, and giving feedback from the final report to the manager or director as appropriate.
Promptly document the operation review in a memorandum to the appropriate manager or department head. Include the following in the memorandum:
Summary of the observations (positive and negative)
Recommendations and action items
Maintain a copy of the memorandum in the office files and one in the manager's EPF. Be sure to follow-up timely with the manager on action items. Document all follow-up actions.
The Operational Review will cover the following:
Personnel management practices
Workload management, administrative, privacy, security, and safety practices
Review personnel management practices of maintaining Employee Personnel Files (EPF), Drop files and Personal/Training files for the following:
Critical Job Elements (CJEs) and Form 6774, Receipt of Critical Job Elements and Fair and Equitable Treatment of Taxpayers Retention Standard
Seasonal agreements (if applicable)
Training and OJT documentation
Evaluative reviews, including content, scope and amounts (front line manager)
Mid-year progress reviews (front line manager)
Performance reviews (department manager)
Operation reviews (department and operations manager)
Poor performance handling
Non-evaluative reviews and coaching
Communication including team meetings
Review Workload Management Practices for the following:
Quality of work performed in function (phones and paper). For example, acknowledgement and follow-up of Form 3210.
Timeliness of work performed in function (paper)
Expectations for phone functions
Utilization of lead employee
Review Administrative, Privacy, Security, and Safety Practices, including the following:
UNAX completed or scheduled for all employees
Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) completed or scheduled for all employees
Release/Recall correctly updated
Rules of Conduct meetings held
Correctness of TAPS information
Review Manager's organization effectiveness:
Timeliness of controlled responses
Effectiveness of method for managing tasks or assignments
Completeness, thoroughness, timeliness of reviews, projects, etc.
EHSS is a tailored version of HP Service Manager software. It is utilized by the e-help Desk, e-services Level 2, TSO, various internal policy owners, and other support personnel. The system contains:
Downloaded select customer data from Third Party Data Store (TPDS)
All electronic product types supported by the e-help Desk and TSO
Problem types associated with each electronic product
A knowledge database which guides an assistor through issue identification and resolution
Formal tracking and reporting of issues (which includes information about the customer, problem, and resolutions (both successful and unsuccessful attempts)
Downloaded select customer data (Form 1099 data) from Transmitter Control Database (TCB) and Special Projects database (Form 8027 and Form 1042-S).
EHSS allows for:
Documented completion of issues
Analysis of documented issue type in order to improve offerings and service
Alternative communication methods (i.e., email for external customers)
There are four physical servers in the production environment:
Two physical servers each have a logical web server and an application server.
One physical server has a logical application server.
One physical server has a logical database server.
The embedded BEA Tuxedo Server Software load balances the work among the three logical application servers. Automatic load balancing between the web portals is employed through the use of F5 load balancer located in Martinsburg.
There are two physical servers in the development and test environment. One contains the logical web servers and application servers, and the other is a database server.
Contingency plans have been created for disaster recovery and fail-over.
The system is configured with multiple web and application servers. If an application or web server fails, the system will continue to operate without interruption.
Online 5081 is an automated way to request access to Information Technology (IT) systems and applications. It provides faster access and automates the process of annual re-certification. To use Online 5081, click on the OL5081 link: https://ol5081.enterprise.irs.gov. View the Online User Guides. If you have questions, call the Help Desk at 1-866-743-5748.
To provide support to electronic product users, the assistors use the following systems:
e-help Support System (EHSS) – The tool for customer interaction and ticketing.
Aspect Telephone System – The method of delivery for phone calls to EPSS functions.
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.
Electronic Management System (EMS) – EMS provides protocol translation, telecommunication structure, security, and data management support for electronic commerce, including e-filing of tax returns.
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.
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.
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)).
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.
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.
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.
Transmitter Control Database (TCB)– The TCB contains data for transmitters/payers of information returns filed electronically.
TSO assistors use various menus on the IRP Home Page system.
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:
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)
In addition to the above EUP roles, managers must ensure employees have these appropriate roles as well:
Roles System Comments (Site) Control– D Web CTDWA Control D Web Access OIRSC Control–D Web CTDWA Needed for Assistors working Form 1041 e-filed returns. EMS HELP DESK EMS Electronic Management System IDRS–(SITE) IDRS Integrated Data Retrieval System
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 18.104.22.168.1, Reviewing the Worklist, for assistor instructions.
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)
Small Tax Exempt Organizations (990N e-Postcard emails)
Employees in Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) are internal users. They send email inquiries on behalf of external customers.
TSO assistors utilize the email function to resolve tax law or electronic filing questions and problems.
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.
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.
See IRM 22.214.171.124.2, Email Function, for assistor instructions.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Managers/leads must follow all guidance in IRM 126.96.36.199.1, 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.).
Providing quality control to ensure solutions have been input and updated correctly.
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.
The Policy Owner is responsible for writing the EPSS Communication when a solution change requires immediate notice to the assistors.
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.
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.
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 188.8.131.52.5,Customer Engagement for more information.
After new solutions are created, reviewed and approved, the Policy Owner will submit to the Board lead.
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 184.108.40.206.1, Contribute Knowledge.
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:
Leaving messages for employees (each site will have its own policies based on voice port availability)
Monitoring agents (listening in on calls in progress)
Notifying agents (notifying an agent whom you are monitoring to call you)
Monitoring trunks (monitoring conversations on specific trunks)
Monitoring specific Aspect application groupings
Determining the availability of agents
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.
Sign on under your Administrative extension to allow assistors to transfer calls to you when necessary.
The system administrator/telephone analyst (SA/TA) is a valuable resource person regarding the features of the ASPECT system.
Managers must coordinate with their SA/TA on any activity limiting the site's ability to deliver its commitment for scheduled ACD time.
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
Assistance with Enterprise Telephone Data (ETD)
ASPECT equipment repair
Supervisors use the Aspect TeleSet to perform the following tasks:
Monitoring – Monitor a live conversation for review purposes.
Notifying – Alert an employee to a problem during a live conversation.
Making an agent available – Force a user into the AVAILABLE state.
Performing Side-by side-monitoring – Utilize a second telephone jack on the employee's TeleSet.
To monitor a call through Aspect, sign on to your TeleSet and perform the following steps:
Press "SUPERVISOR" key.
Enter the extension of the assistor to be monitored.
Press "ENTER." The display on TeleSet LCD will show "Monitoring Extension 5555 NOTIFY."
Press the "RELEASE" key to end the monitoring session.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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:
Average handle times
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.
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.
Management will use the half-hourly forecast to create individual phone schedules for their employees. Assign the appropriate number of assistors to the telephones.
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.
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.
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.
Managers are responsible for ensuring the required number of assistors are signed on the telephones to meet adherence.
Assistors will sign on when their tour of duty (TOD) begins and remain signed on until their TOD ends.
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.
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.
Individual adherence impacts the entire enterprise adherence. Recognize employees with good adherence. Promptly address employees with adherence problems.
When an employee is not meeting their assigned telephone schedule, take the following steps:
Remember to look at each situation individually.
Address the problem directly with the employee.
Use results of your personal observations to validate your assessment.
Offer guidance as to how to correct the problem.
If the problem continues, take these steps:
Prepare a written assessment of the problem.
Describe exactly how the employee is failing to meet a specific CJE or conduct expectation.
Refer to prior verbal discussions in the documentation.
Offer guidance as to how to correct the problem.
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.
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.
Managers and systems analysts (SA) must determine if the staff is available as scheduled.
Managers must ensure their employees are signed on to the telephone system and taking calls when scheduled. This reduces shrinkage.
Shrinkage is a combination of one or more issues, such as:
Extended read and meet times
Higher than expected attrition for day (e.g., sick leave)
Scheduled breaks not being followed
Extended breaks or lunch periods
The SA must make daily real-time adjustments to the schedules based on the actual demand and actual staffing.
Use the available resources to assist you in scheduling to meet peak staffing requirements.
Use available data to assist in monitoring and analyzing efficiency. This includes
Idle and Sign on Times
Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Wrap Time
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
Possible reasons for high percentages of wrap time are:
Level of training
Extensive research for call backs
Excessive requirements in reporting call backs
Minor illness (e.g., headache) which caused the assistor to take short rest periods between calls
Excessive conversation among assistors
"Idle" is an Aspect status that assistors must use when not in "Available" or "Wrap-Up" status.
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 220.127.116.11.1.1, Reason Codes for Idle.
To ensure adherence, monitor employee statuses using the appropriate system.
If an employee fails to properly use the idle reason codes, counsel them according to the guidelines in IRM 18.104.22.168.3.1,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).
Consider the following when you schedule telephone assignments:
Team meeting schedules
Level of Service
Attempt to assign an equal amount of telephone duty to each assistor.
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.
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 22.214.171.124.1.1, Reason Codes for Idle. Exceptions to the requirement to sign into Aspect are as follows:
Assistors in all day training sessions will not sign on at all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Type http://joc.enterprise.irs.gov in your browser
Select Call Routing and Processing
Select WebView Reporting 7.0
Select WebView Reporting 7.0 Log In (to log into WebView) or JOC WebView Account Management (to reset/change your password)
Select Real Time or Historical
Click on Submit
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.
To access this report on WebView, go to: Skill Group Enterprise Saved Reports Select one of the following:
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).
To access this report on WebView, go to: Agent By Skill Group Saved Reports Select from the following
Hit "Run" at the bottom right-hand side of the page
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.
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.
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.
There are two types of reports used in e-help:
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.
Aspect Crystal reports give a manager call activity statistics on an individual assistor or workgroup.
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.
The following Crystal reports are available in EHSS:
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.
Open/Closed Incident Report (Telephone Report) - Same as open and closed Interaction report only will show the open/closed Incident.
Open Aged Interaction Report - Shows all open Interactions and how long they have been open by an assistor or provider group.
Open Aged Incident Report - Same as open aged Interactions, only will show open Incident.
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.
Product/Problem Type (Telephone Report) - Shows the number of Interactions opened under each Product broken down by Problem Type.
Closed Interactions with Additional Email Response Report - Shows the email responses that were previously closed however, the customer is responding to the closed email.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Aspect Crystal reports are used by team managers to determine the status of telephone activity. Some reports are received daily and others weekly.
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.
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.
The reports are standardized for all sites. Each manager will receive the following reports:
Agent Performance Summary by Team Report – This report shows general call activity for all agents signed on to the system during a specified period.
Agent Events Detail Report – This report shows events statistics based on Extension groupings.
Agent Performance Detail by Agent Group New Work Time - 707 Report – This report shows performance statistics based on Agent Group 707 groupings.
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.
CE10 Outbound Agent Detail by Team Report – This report shows all outbound calls dialed, grouped by Team.
Messages Detail by Team Report – This report shows message statistics based on Team groupings.
Sign-On Idle Profile by Team Report – This report displays sign on/off and idle statistics based on Team groupings.
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.
Scheduled Interruption of Service:
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.
The e-help Desk or TSO senior manager will notify all site managers.
The JOC will be contacted by the telephone analyst if a routing change needs to be performed.
The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s), if applicable.
Unscheduled Interruption of Service (Site Recognized):
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.
The e-help Desk or TSO senior manager will notify their site managers.
The JOC will be contacted by the telephone analyst if a routing change needs to be performed.
The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s), if applicable.
Unscheduled Interruption of Service (JOC Recognized):
The JOC will enable the current e-help disaster closure matrix.
The receiving site manager will reallocate resources in anticipation of the increased call volume(s).
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
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.
Various miscellaneous managerial functional responsibilities are included in this section.
Organization, Function, and Program (OFP) codes are recorded by employees in SETR to identify work that IRS employees perform daily.
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.
Function Code – A three digit code that is used to describe what (e.g., e-help assistor) is being done.
Program – A five digit code that is used to describe the program (e.g., Form 8453, EFTPS) being worked.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quick Alerts also provide e-file information to assist employees in their job performance and enhance the filing season.
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.
As a manager you will ensure all new employees subscribe to QuickAlerts and verify all returning seasonals still have a subscription to QuickAlerts.
EPSS Communications were developed to keep employees informed of the myriad of policy and procedural changes impacting IRS electronic products such as:
New procedures or information that impact the e-help Desk and or TSO
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.
Subject –This is the title of your EPSS Communication.
Content – Your message should be clear and concise. Remember to check spelling and grammar.
Source – Organizational symbols (i.e., EPSS:OS:PM, EPSS:TSO:PSS, etc.).
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.
EPSS communications are located on the EPSS SERP Portal.
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.
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:
Social Security Numbers
Bank account numbers
Date and place of birth
Mother's maiden name
Biometric data (height, weight, eye color, fingerprints, etc.)
See http://irweb.irs.gov/AboutIRS/bu/pipds/pip/privacy/privacy_art/8352.aspx for a more detailed definition.
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" .
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.
If a laptop or other electronic device is lost or stolen, it must be reported within one hour to:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 126.96.36.199.4.9,Training)
Weekly call volume and Interaction/Incident reporting (IRM 188.8.131.52, EHSS Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery)
Annual Filing Season Readiness Workshop
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.
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.
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.
The average lead time for EPSS is six months for the following tasks:
Technical Support Staffing Analysis
Training Development and Delivery
To begin this process take the following steps:
The policy owner will complete Form 13764,EPSS Customer Engagement Request Form, and send it to designated EPSS staff members.
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.
EPSS will develop a project plan detailing tasks to be completed prior to the support start date.
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.
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.
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.
See IRM 3.8.46, Discovered Remittance, for more information on handling Discovered Remittances.