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Mystery Shopping City Hall (Part 4)

We sent shoppers to test the city’s customer service. This is how the city did when our shopper tried to file their business taxes.

Several weeks ago, Citizen editor Larry Platt asked, “When was the last time you encountered the city bureaucracy and said to yourself, ‘Wow, what great customer service?’” As a result, we’ve taken a page from private industry and unleashed a team of mystery shoppers to interact with city service providers and report back on their experiences…the good, the bad, and the disfiguring. Stay tuned for more.

Mystery Shopper Test #12: Filing Business Taxes

Steps Taken:

  1. Went online using Google Chrome on my Mac to phila.gov.
  2. Under PAY box, used pulldown menu to click on Pay and File taxes.
  3. Got an error message: “This site can’t be reached. Ework.phila.gov unexpectedly closed the connection.
  4. Repeated same process with Safari, with same results.
  5. Repeated same process from Revenue Department’s main page, with same results.
  6. Repeated same processes several days later, with same results.
  7. Called the Revenue Department. Waited on hold for six minutes. Representative forwarded me to Shawn, in the Office of Innovation and Technology.
  8. Shawn tried to open the page in both Chrome and Safari. “It works for me,” he said.
  9. After several minutes of trying to assist me, Shawn gave me the number for Toni, a manager he thought could help me.
  10. Left two messages with Toni, who did not call back.
  11. The next day, woke up to find this note on the Revenue Department’s website: “Note: Currently our Revenue Online Services site does not support Windows 10/Internet Explorer Edge, Safari, iMac or Macbook. Please use Chrome, Firefox or another version of Windows/Internet Explorer. Please accept our apology for this inconvenience.”

Time Spent: 40 minutes

Result: Can’t file my taxes electronically, even though I have done so for the last two years.

Takeaways: The city’s onerous business tax system just became more onerous for those of us who use Macs—approximately 10 percent of computer users overall, but the vast majority of those in the creative economy—and also for anyone with a newer version of Internet Explorer.

Lightning Bolt Rating: Zero

Photo: Flickr/r. nial bradshaw

Previous entries in this series:

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