Christy Pepper, Director of Primary Tax Services
I am sure that most people don’t call a fast food restaurant and tell the manager what an excellent burger they just had or what wonderful service they received at the drive-thru. No, they call to say that the person was rude and “you forgot to put cheese on my sandwich.” The same holds true for any business, including JK Harris and Company. The perception of what I read on the Internet and when I talk to some of the clients is that we are not providing the kind of customer service they expected. Unfortunately, most clients don’t call me to tell me what a wonderful experience they are having with our company and how we saved them from their overwhelming tax dilemma.
It goes without saying that every case is different. Where we feel we have been very successful at resolving a client’s tax problem, the client may not be satisfied with the results at all. I remember us helping a client settle a $100,000 tax debt with an accepted offer of $50,000. Despite cutting the liability in half, this client was absolutely dissatisfied with the settlement and, in fact, requested a refund. However, just recently we settled a client’s tax debt of approximately $35,000 for $10. That’s right Ten Dollars. Of course the client was absolutely ecstatic, and it was worth the tension and frustration along the way.
What many people may not understand is that settling a tax liability is not a quick and easy task. In most cases, we are in negotiations for many months. I think clients can get worn out and tired of gathering all of the mounds of documents that the IRS requires, and they get frustrated. A lot of times, we’re there for them to vent their frustrations. It can take its toll, but we know we have been hired to represent our clients’ best interest.
For the most part, clients aren’t taking time from their busy schedule to flood us with complimentary phone calls. Over the years, I have had a few clients call to make sure that upper management knew what a “gem” so-in-so is and we better keep our eye on that person. We also get written testimonials, singing our praises on a consistent basis. I’ve also seen clients send their Case Specialist gifts over the years, such as flowers, ties, candy, money (which we promptly return back to the client), ‘Thank You’ cards, and even a box of AFLAC talking ducks. The weirdest gift was a box of smoked salmon we received recently from a customer up North.
It can be perceived sometimes that our hard work goes unnoticed by the uninformed, but tensions are high and we do work under extreme deadline pressure every hour of every day. Everyone around here celebrates when a client goes out of their way to say “thanks for all your help.” In the end, the relief we provide our clients is our biggest source of satisfaction.