Accountants’ phone manner leaves callers cold

ACCOUNTANTS may be good with the numbers and making sense of Gordian tax knots, but their telephone manner is leaving their clients less than satisfied, a new survey reveals.

It found that under a quarter (22%) of the 1,000 British consumers quizzed in the survey, are happy with the way accountancy firms handle their phone calls.

Such a woeful response placed the profession among the lowest scoring industries, marginally above printers (18%) and Arthur Daley-esque car dealers (21%).

Dentists performed twice as well as accountants – the only profession to pierce the halfway mark at 52% – but the overall satisfaction level across all British businesses was consistently poor at 23%.

“Poor call handling is a constant bugbear for the British consumer but, despite this, it appears accountants have still not risen to the challenge of achieving best practice,” said Mark Williamson, sales and marketing director, at PH Media Group, which commissioned the survey.

“If only 22% of customers are pleased with the way their calls are being handled, this means there is an even larger number who have generated a negative perception through bad caller experience.

“There is perhaps a tendency among companies to focus their attention and budgets on visual marketing and internet presence but the telephone remains a crucial aspect of branding, marketing and sales.”

Women were especially disgruntled, with just one in five (20%) claiming contentment with how their accountant handled their calls, compared to 25% of men.

Older callers also appear to be unhappy with their experience, just nine per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds claiming to be satisfied.

“The fluctuation in satisfaction levels suggests both women and older customers feel their needs are not being catered to and this should raise questions about the tone of firms’ audio branding,” added Williamson.

“But regardless of the industry differences, satisfaction levels remain low across the board, so there is an onus on businesses to address this by improving overall caller experience.

Responding to calls quicker and establishing a set practice for answering the phone are both sound ways accountancy outfits can improve their performance, but “implementing tools such as on-hold marketing to establish top-class service and a congruent brand across all touchpoints with customers”, is the best way forward, the report authors claim.


Related reading