Despite our best efforts, the “Vast Majority” of our Company Stores do not have customers lined up around the building waiting to get their tax returns completed. The anecdote below, however, could certainly change that.
Doing the right thing is not always the easy thing to do. Rarely is it convenient. But doing the right thing, especially when no one is looking, can have the power to define who we are. It can define us as individuals. It can define us as a company.
On 3/10/14, Nicole Hammond, a 1st year LTS tax preparer didn’t have any customers in the office. Instead of talking on the phone, posting on Facebook or using this free time for her own personal gain, Nicole was using this time to call prior year customers who had not yet filled. When Nicole reached a Mrs. Carolyn Bratlie, Mrs. Bratlie told Nicole that she was recently widowed and she has moved into an assisted living facility. Mrs. Bratlie had relied on her late husband to do their taxes but “Now that he is gone”, she said, “I didn’t know what to do with our taxes”.
Nicole, without asking and on her own time, drove out to the nursing home to meet with Mrs. Bratlie. Nicole reviewed the process thoroughly with Mrs. Bratlie and obtained the necessary documents. Nicole stayed with Mrs. Bratlie for a while just to visit, talk and spend some time with her. She took Mrs. Bratlie’s documents back to the LTS office and worked on them there. Once completed, Nicole drove back out to see Mrs. Bratlie to give her the completed return. Nicole explained what had been done with her taxes and what to expect moving forward. Mrs. Bratlie got a bit emotional when Nicole returned and it certainly wasn’t because her taxes were complete. It was because someone took the time to notice her, to listen, to help, to validate her. She wasn’t treated like a patient or a number. To Mrs. Bratlie, Nicole was someone who cared. She was her friend.
Before leaving again, Mrs. Bratlie told Nicole how thankful she was for her and that she would call us every year to do her returns. In addition, Nicole nor the Office Supervisor reached out to me to let me know any of this was happening. It was only after the call center contacted Mrs. Bratlie that I learned of what was going on. Nicole didn’t do this for recognition or a raise. Nicole helped Mrs. Bratlie because she is a good person with a kind heart.
A raving, fanatical fan was certainly made. It wasn’t $50 cash. It wasn’t a free return. It was so much more than great customer service. It was taking the time to listen. It was taking the time to care. It was doing the right thing – even when no one was looking.
Thank you, Nicole for all that you do for Liberty Tax Service®.