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A CPA’s Take on Extreme Customer Service

By Stacie Clifford Kitts CPA

Ya that’s right.  I am a CPA and I’m in the customer service business.

In fact, I’m in the – work all night into the next day and then into the next night if that’s what it takes to meet customer expectations – business.  Frankly and as a general rule, the IRS just doesn’t give a good gosh darn if I have the flu or my child is missing his Easter pageant.  The work must be done and since I have committed to doing it accurately and on time – well duh that is what I am going to do even if I need to miss a few nights of sleep.  And yes as unfortunate as it is, over the years I have had to disappoint a pageant participant or two.

But I think I can take this even further, because  it’s fair to say that as far as customer services goes,  I am in the “extreme” customer service business.  And just like other extreme activities, like skydiving or base-jumping, I’ve experienced my fair share of adrenalin heightened heart pounding moments where I thought I might not make it. 

Oh the rush – can you feel it- a major tax deadline is fast approaching – will – YOU- make – it? 

The nature of a CPA’s work requires courageous customer service.  However, there’s also that smidgen of trepidation weaved in.  It is this combination of emotion that truly makes the level of customer service provided by a CPA extreme.   

However, maybe it’s also that investment of conflicting emotion that makes me so frustrated by businesses that can’t seem to pull off even a moderate level of good customer service.  Believe me; high-quality customer service can be done.  All you have to do is do it.

Today is March 15, our first major tax filing deadline and I’ve strapped on my tax knowledge safety-chute and jumped.  And as I hurdle toward the end of the day, I know that at least this time I am going to make it. For now, it’s time to pull the ripcord and float smoothly in for a soft landing.


2 Comments

  1. mlawver says:

    Great post!

    “All you have to do is do it.” Sounds so clear, it’s amazing how few people seem to understand that concept. Your clients are fortunate you do.

  2. Thanks Monica

    Because we sacrifice so much to get the job done, I think we have the right to judge with a critical eye the customer service we receive from others.
    Some companies who have failed in dealing with my customer needs lately are

    1) Lowes – my kitchen remodel was a disaster, a cabinet actually fell off the wall, some trimming fell off and the job was not completed.

    2) Office Depot shipped an order that had been cancelled within seconds and I mean seconds of placing the initial order but then customer service was unable to stop the shipment – ya what the heck is up with that?

    3) The KFC aka Kentucky Fried Chicken down the street from my house can’t ever seem to get an order right and when you mention it, they are all put out about it.

    4) Lacerte – yes our tax prep software company couldn’t seem to credit my payments to my account properly and continually denied me access to the software.

    5) Pizza hut – store was open but nobody was there to take an order – I mean it was empty – where did they all go? Finally a gentleman yelled from the back that he would be there to help me in a minute…urgh..of course I left before he ever made it out to help me.

    6) Cox phone service- continually going down and takes hours to correct

    7) Blue Cross – had my health care account confused with my husbands’ ex wife – hello how the heck does that happen – customer service kept referring me to their computer programming department who were clueless – I never did get online access to my health care information.

    8) Empire Today – you know the guys who say they can install the next day – well ya because they continually cancelled and rescheduled the initial appointment – the birthday surprise I had planned for my hubby was spoiled.

    9) Chase Bank – rearranged the order of my daughters banking transactions so her deposit posted after her withdrawals causing an overdraft. You know what, that is just plain sick and wrong – that type of business practice is so crooked that it’s just pure evil.

    10) And that reminds me, Wells Fargo changed the interest rate on my credit card just because they were pissed about being regulated – I never did anything wrong to them, I hadn’t violated the terms of my agreement and had made my payments on time. How wrong was that! When I called customer service they were unapologetic and could have cared less if I pulled my account.

    Although most of these companies have probably provided adequate customer service over the years, what is it that I remember? What else but the bad experiences.

    These are experiences that were not resolved to my satisfaction – by the way. Everyone makes mistakes. I get that. However, it’s how the company handled it once discover that landed them on this list.

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