It's been quite some time since we checked in with our friends across the pond and since many of you may be dealing with client relation issues yourself, this seems like as good of an opportunity to discuss all the fun you're having.
I know it's our busiest time of year and maybe that's making me a bit more sensitive than normal, but I can't help feeling that clients are becoming more & more demanding.For example, a client who phoned this morning was told by my assistant that I was in meetings until 4pm, but assured them that I would call back after 4pm. They tried my mobile twice before 4pm and then called the office again at 4:15 irate because they had tried to get hold of me "several times". Thing is, they were third on my call back list when I started making them at 4pm and I'd only got to number 2!!Then had a calls from two clients with December year ends asking why their accounts weren't done as they had seen houses to buy and the mortgage brokers needed the figures NOW.It seems to have gone crazy just at the moment, or is it just me?
Fact pattern 1: Okay, we have a busy accountant whose assistant assured a client that he would return a phone call ASAP after a specific time. But because this particular accountant was stupid enough to give a client his cell phone number, the client badgered this poor bastard prior to his availability. This was followed up with a call 15 minutes after the prescribed available time. If we are to believe this accountant with delicate sensibilities, his very next call was going to be the anxious, needy client who had been hasseling him all day. Got it? Great.
First, it should be noted that the assistant made the mistake of giving the client a specific time. Under no circumstances should you (or someone speaking on your behalf) ever tell a client that you'll be available at/after a give time. Why? Well, because humans like to think they can keep rigorous schedules that never deviate from their intended path and this is bullshit. Meetings go long. You get caught up working on something else. That Thai lunch combined with your fourth cup of coffee turns your intestines inside out and you have to take an inordinate amount of bathroom breaks. I'm not saying you shouldn't keep a schedule, you absolutely should, but it didn't fall from the heavens like manna. Your schedule is a guide for your day. And a rough, unreliable guide at that. It basically amounts to a map with no names. Anyone that holds you to it is a certified lunatic. The client is a dick.
Fact pattern 2: Let's say for the sake of argument that documentation is due to taxpayers by January 31st and that tax returns are already being accepted. (I don't know much about the deadlines these wankers have but just work with me.) It's January 25th which means that lots of documentation has been sent out and, accordingly, the impatient types who want returns turned around in the last two weeks of this month will take every opportunity to remind you that "you should have everything you need" and can't imagine "what the holdup is." Throw in a new house that Mr and Mrs Smith are coveting like a swing night with the neighbors and you've got some very impatient people on your hands.
This strikes me as typical anxious client behavior. Many a CPA (or CA, in this case) have had to deal with clients that all of a sudden need a copy of their tax return RIGHT FUCKING NOW and have miraculously complied with the request. Whether you promise the return to them in the next 24 hours or an estimate/best wild ass guess in 20 minutes, this type of unreasonable demand is more or less the norm and accommodations are made regularly. The accountant is being a sensitive Sally/Sully. But not this Sully, he's a badass.
What's the feeling out there, this last full week of January? Are your clients' risking a beatdown or is it the typical busy season rigour? Share below.