I have really enjoyed learning about tax preparation, and welcomed the opportunity to meet with clients face-to-face. The past few years I have been in a call center environment, and though that is still customer service, you miss the interaction and facial expressions you just cannot achieve over the phone.
Everything had been going okay; all my clients were happy and no drama. Then, this past Saturday, I was working and a previous client from the year before had come in with his wife. He had been in the day before and was confused about the return and his wife was equally confused, as she did not know how he finished their taxes when she hadn't even given him her W2.
As we proceeded to have a conversation, getting to know their situation, I learned he had just spent 103 days between the hospital and a nursing home. They thought he was gone. They brought a priest in and gave his last rights and everything. Miraculously, a doctor realized he was having a reaction to a drug he should have not been given after his quadruple bypass surgery and it was killing his lungs. Within 12 hours of being taken off of the medication, he was lucid, upright and knew he was going to be okay.
He is an 80 year old man, he has a 61 year old wife and they are absolutely adorable. They bicker back and forth that reminds you of Archie and Edith, or George and Weezie.
They never had itemized before, but he never spent almost 6 months on a death bed before either. So as we were talking, we were discovering things they spent thousands out of pocket for. The wife was fascinated and getting excited about trying to find more and more things that may be able to itemized. He kept trying to talk to me, but every time he did, she would cut him off and he would look at her. After about the 3rd time, he said "Hey, can I say something to Michelle? Can I get a word in edgewise?" (in his upstate NY accent) I could do nothing but smile. By the time they left, they were the happiest people I had ever seen coming out of a tax office. They both said they never wanted to speak with anyone but me and would send other clients.
To some this may seem like a non-consequential incident, however, this is to the contrary. You can never discount how a chance encounter, no matter how brief can affect someone. They left out of the office, happy, smiling and excited about their experience, which they are going talk about with friends. But beyond that, they said they felt listened to for the first time, and were very happy to have met me.
I was very happy to have met them also. They gave me a great feeling about life, and for the first time all season, even though I filed many returns and connected with my clients, they were those special clients that make you feel like you made a difference in their life. I know that I will continue to come back for many tax seasons, listen to my clients, get to know them so when they leave they know they have someone who cares, is treating them like a person and not just another return to meet our goal, and (they) feel like they can trust Liberty Tax.
We have to grow the culture of Liberty Tax, and we do that creating positive experiences with our clients that they cannot get from a computer or by going to anyone else. And maybe, if you are as lucky as I was, you will meet that special client that will touch your heart and leave you smiling and happy you have this job!