How to Handle Phone Calls During Tax Season

Most tax professionals are busy all year long, but when peak tax season starts, things can get especially crazy. You end up dealing with an overflow of calls during peak season, but at the same time, you need to focus on preparing taxes. To provide excellent customer service, you might need to look into an answering service for financial companies. Here are some tips that can help you handle higher-than-normal call volume without impacting your workflow.

Figure Out When Peak Tax Season Starts for You

One of the first things to do is to figure out when you have a lot of callers. Not every tax office will be busiest at the same time of year. If you do residential taxes, your peak season is probably in March and April. However, certain types of corporation and other business taxes come earlier in the season. And if your clients tend to file for extensions, you might not even be busy until October.

It can be helpful to look at past records to find your busiest time of year. This can show you when you had the most work to do and when you were meeting with the most customers. Discovering your busiest time of year is important because it helps you plan ahead. If you know exactly when you will get an overflow of calls during peak season, you can go ahead and start finding strategies for dealing with the extra work.

Tax Time Concept. Us Tax Form, Tax Income, Tax Refund Concept

Create a Plan for Times With High Call Volume

One of the most important parts of dealing with tax stress during the busy season is simply planning for high call volume. You want to go ahead and anticipate issues so you can come up with solutions before they happen. If you work with others, you need to discuss the situation with your team members and work together to find the right plan for days when the phone will not stop ringing.

Different tax preparer offices may have different ways of preparing for tax season. In some businesses, it might make sense to delay actual tax preparation and focus on phone calls during peak tax season. Some tax preparer companies may want to just let an answering service handle calls while they fill out tax forms. Other companies might want to try multitasking, though this can get tricky if you need to focus on complicated financial work. Whatever preparation plan for tax season you pick, make sure it solves your company’s main problems and lets you prioritize your most important tasks.

Help Clients Develop Clear and Realistic Expectations

When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it might be tempting to just hide from clients altogether. However, being deliberately vague about deadlines and communication options just leads to more frustration. Though everyone is busy dealing with tax stress, most clients are just reasonable people who want to know what is happening with their taxes. An important part of preparing for tax season is just letting people know what to expect.

Being honest and upfront about how your business works can greatly improve client attitudes. In addition to giving accurate estimates for how long their taxes will take, it is also a good idea to manage expectations about communication. Try to let them know your phone might be constantly busy during tax season, and provide alternative means of communication during times with a high call volume. You may also want to look into an answering service for financial companies to help with the influx of calls.

When you’re busy filling out hundreds of tax forms, you don’t have the time to personally answer every client query. Menu automation can provide some assistance with an overflow of calls during peak season. Of course, most customers will still want to talk to a live person about their tax return. However, automation can help with things like sharing your business hours or telling customers whether you accept new clients at the moment.

If you are new to designing a business menu, remember to keep things short and simple, though. No one wants to sit through minutes of recorded messages when they just want to talk to a real person. Instead, your best option is a short and friendly greeting, a direct link to your customer service department, and a brief list of relevant information

Use an Answering Service for Financial Companies to Handle Overflow

Woman Picking Up the Phone

All of the above strategies can help reduce the amount of stress you might face, but they do not automatically solve all of your tax stress problems. The most effective way of dealing with a call overflow is to get an answering service to handle calls for you. Tax preparer companies end up with too many phone calls happening at once because they usually do not have employees whose main job is handling calls. An answering service ensures that there is always someone present to answer your phone.

Companies like AnswerHero are set up to make your life easier during the tax preparation season. When you work with an answering service, all your calls will be forwarded to a team of agents. These agents are highly trained in both financial matters and customer service. You can give an answering service any custom instructions you desire, such as answering with your company’s slogan or telling customers about a new service you provide.

The agents at an answering service assist in all sorts of ways. They can schedule appointments for interested clients or take down information for new clients. An answering service can also transfer customers directly to you or one of your employees if the person needs more specialized help. If no one in your office is available to speak directly to a client, the answering service can even take messages for you.

Answering services for tax professionals have all sorts of benefits. First of all, they take over customer service for you so you can focus on highly detailed financial tasks. Next, an answering service ensures customers don’t get frustrated by constant busy signals. Finally, an answering service can help provide a personal connection which is important because the majority of
people prefer live customer service. When clients can talk to a real person and get help right away, they feel more satisfied with your business.

Are you ready for a busy tax season? We hope our tips make it a little easier to deal with all the customers calling you during this time. And remember, AnswerHero is always here to help if you would like a little extra assistance. Our highly trained telephone operators provide friendly, reliable customer service, and they are all fully bilingual too! Give us a call today to sign up for your free seven-day trial.