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IRS On-Hold Time Virtually Eliminated By New Tech Startup

February 22, 2017

Beatrice, an accountant in Camden, NJ, missed her daughter’s violin recital because she was on hold with the IRS. Again.

“I work a flexible job so I can fit my kids’ events into my schedule. I’d helped Molly practice every evening after supper for weeks. But the concert was during tax season and I needed an answer on this client’s question that day, before I left the office.” So, like many working parents, Beatrice broke her promise to her daughter and missed the recital. “You should have seen her face when she walked into the house, carrying her violin. I apologized but she was crying and she stomped right into her room without saying a word. It was awful.”

Like Beatrice, Andrew Valiente is a busy professional and a parent who was fed up with waiting on hold. But Valiente, an inquisitive engineer decided to find a solution for those maddening wait times. Valiente’s startup, enQ, is that solution. enQ’s product can be best described as a “telecommunications teleporter”that allows paying customers to skip the on hold time when calling the IRS or Social Security. The new venture launches on February 1st.

The numbers reflect the magnitude of the problem. The U.S. Government Accountability office found that between 2014 and the first week of Feb 2015, the “…level of service decreased from 64.1%…wait times increased from 18.7 minutes to 34.4 minutes…demand for assistors increased from 11.3 to 11.6 million calls.”[1] Bloomberg Politics reports that the IRS hung up on 8.8 million taxpayers last year, calling the phenomenon “courtesy disconnecting,” and only 37% of taxpayers actually reached an IRS representative. The piece revealed that only 45% of accountants got through after waiting an average of 45 minutes.[2]

How does enQ do the seemingly impossible?

The company pre-emptively calls the IRS call center and establishes lines on hold. enQ then sells its queue position to customers who wish to skip the hold time.

Valiente, and his lawyers, say yes. “Uber and Airbnb didn’t ask permission, and neither did enQ. We created a perfectly legal solution to a problem of massive proportions and we’ll launch like any other startup.”

enQ’s current market is U.S. based accountants, lawyers, and even individuals who phone the IRS or Social Security. However, enQ’s ultimate mission is to be the largest customer service call center in the world. Valiente: “It’s about giving people back their most precious resource: their time.”

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