The Most Important Skill to Look For in a Tax Preparer

By Chuck | October 10, 2019

We’re four months out from the 2020 tax season. Are you recruiting tax preparers for the upcoming season? Hiring new tax preparers can be challenging. For one, there always seems to be a shortage and for two, how do you know the person you’re hiring has integrity or can prepare taxes properly according to the new tax code?

It’s a tough one. One that we’ve faced year after year hiring season preparers for our sister company, Peoples Tax. What we learned early on was this: hiring from an ever shrinking pool of tax pros who probably already have bad habits is not the best approach. So, we took a page from the big tax firms and train tax pros in house.

Instead of hiring for experience, we look for this one important skill that ensures our employees are the best at what they do: customer service. Tax preparation is a people business over a numbers business. Sure, you have to know the tax code and how to fill out forms but ultimately your job is to serve others. So if we staff our business with people who have strong customer service skills and are passionate about helping others, then we know we’ll have a sustainable business because people will want to come back every year. They’ll also refer us to others. You can teach taxes. You can’t teach empathy and customer service.

Did you know that “7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.” According to Vonage, “After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again.”

How to Hire for Customer Service

As you can see, customer service is important. So how do you hire for customer service skills? Here are a few tips.

Think outside the box

Look for people who’ve worked in customer service roles is an obvious first place to start, but it definitely shouldn’t deter you from others. What about that awesome server at your favorite restaurant who knows everything about you? Or the barista at your local coffee shop who knows exactly how you like your latte? The people you encounter in everyday life who have made an impact on you because of their thoughtfulness or attentiveness are a great place to start. Those people may be looking for a new opportunity and would be the perfect candidates.

Communication Skills

Listen to how your interviewees speak. Do they have good diction? Are they pleasant, concise, and easy to talk to? Can they explain things clearly? Communication skills are important in customer service.

Personality

Is the candidate eager, pushy, and anxious in their answers or are they calm, pleasant, and considerate with their responses? Your ideal candidate should be hardworking, thoughtful, upbeat, patient, easy to talk to, and passionate about helping others.

Ask Questions

Ask your candidates what customer service means to them. Ask them to give you an example of how they serve others in their daily lives. How they respond can give you a good idea of how they approach customer service.

Recruit and Train Your Own Tax Preparers

Have you begun the recruiting process? Why not recruit and train your own tax preparers this season? We have a turnkey solution that makes it easy. Learn more here.

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