SECURE ACCESS VIRTUAL ASSISTANT TEAM

The IRS’s identity verification and authentication process, known as Secure Access, is the gateway to login to several of the online self-service tools. The IRS follows rigorous security and privacy protocols based on NIST Digital Identity Guidelines. The self-service registration process can frustrate taxpayers if they’re unable to verify their identity, but the IRS isn’t able to provide live assistance for these online registrations. People who are unable to register online may revert to traditional channels, such as calling the IRS to speak with Customer Service Representatives, which is no longer a self-service experience. The IRS team identified that a “virtual assistant” could provide support to people who ran into errors, increasing success rates and maintaining a self-service digital channel.

 

With COVID-19 creating workforce challenges, and with legislation directing the IRS to issue Economic Impact Payments, it was important to identify ways to further support self-service online tools. It was also necessary to use and configure software that the IRS already had, rather than developing anything new, due to information technology constraints. With just four months from the proposal to launch, the IRS deployed a pilot virtual assistant to the public, providing additional registration help to people who have trouble during the Secure Access registration experience. This virtual assistant uses industry best practices and provides the most common troubleshooting solutions right on the page when a user receives an error while maintaining a self-service registration experience. Analytics are collected to determine whether the guidance provided helps users overcome their identity verification errors and increases registration success rates.

 

Since Nov 23, 2020, the virtual assistant pilot has provided help to close to 150k taxpayers (as of March 31, 2021) who experienced difficulty during the Secure Access registration process. This success has led to fewer phone calls and high satisfaction scores from these taxpayers. The potential phone assistant labor cost-avoidance, which is calculated assuming that the taxpayers will most likely call the IRS if unable to register with Secure Access, is around $1.3M (as of March 31, 2021) with more and more taxpayers finding the assistance they need via the Virtual Assistant.

NOT PICTURED:

KIRK CRAWFORD
Product Development Specialist

MATTHEW LEIBNER
Product Development Specialist

ALCORA WALDEN
Technical Project Manager

PAUL WIGHT

Supervisory Mgmt. & Program Analyst


ADRIENNE SMITH
Management And Program Analyst

JENNIFER AMARANTE

Supervisory Program Analyst

MONNAE MARKHAM

2021
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNERS

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JORDAN YAPLEE JACKSON

Product Management Fellow,
Internal Revenue Service

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SARVESH SHAH

Product Development Specialist,
Internal Revenue Service

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DAVID J.
LUNSFORD

Product Manager/Development Internal Revenue Service

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ERIC KNEELAND

Management And Program Analyst,
Internal Revenue Service

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JULIAN CHARLTON

IT Project Manager,
Internal Revenue Service