Above the Forms: Client Obsession and Tax Reform

Client Relationships tax reform

On a long international flight last summer, I chose to watch the live action film “Beauty and the Beast” and was captured by the lyrics in the song “Be Our Guest” and the incredible customer obsession these lyrics demonstrated as Ms. Potts and Luminaire sang to Belle, the heroine in the film. There is a lot of talk about customer obsession these days, and for good reason. Customer obsession is different from customer service. Customer service is an aspect of serving customers and clients when they have a need. Customer obsession is a shift in mindset to thinking about the customer in everything we do and anticipating their needs … being there before they ever need to ask.

I was curious to learn from the best in customer obsession to improve our journey, and I reached out to learn from Disney. As you may know, over 20 million people visit Disney every year, and 70 percent return – an outstanding return rate for theme parks. So, I brought Disney to the Intuit® ProConnect™ Plano office for a day to share their story with our team.

One of the stories was about a little girl whose ice cream fell off her cone onto the pavement of Main Street. As the little girl’s lip began to quiver and her mother tried to soothe her while also caring for her younger brother, a cast member kneeled down to the little girl’s eye level. The cast member could have done several things: cleaned up the ice cream, given a free cone for their next visit or even just replace it. The cast member did none of those things. Instead, he told the little girl that this ice cream cone wasn’t the one meant for her and that he would be right back with the right one. He came back with a cup of ice cream and two cookies so the new treat looked like Mickey Mouse, and because it was now in a cup, would be more comfortable for the little girl to enjoy.

The quivering lip went to a broad smile. The mindset of the Disney cast member and the lesson I learned was powerful … it may not be my fault that this happened, but it is my problem. Let’s say that again: it may not be my fault, but it is my problem to solve.

What does this have to do with tax reform? Tax reform and issues, good and bad, create an “isn’t our fault” narrative. But it is our collective problem. As you enter this tax season, your clients will have questions about the current tax season, but also certainly about the impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to their future tax obligations. This maze of new rules creates a unique opportunity for you to guide your clients … for you to take this on as your problem, as their trusted advisor, to help them plan for the future and build loyalty.

One way you can be proactive is to set up dedicated tax planning appointments with your clients later this year, after tax season, and offer more individualized planning and advice. You will have opportunities to coach clients on planning strategies like income allocation among entities, grouping itemized deductions to take the standard deduction every other year, property tax and many other topics. This is a great year to embrace change! The tax law change is not your ownership, but it is your opportunity to reinforce your value as your clients’ trusted advisor.

We will provide tools and resources to help you provide value in these individualized planning meetings. Our Tax Planner, available in Intuit ProConnect Lacerte® and ProSeries®, enables you to easily project your clients’ future tax liability under multiple scenarios, and will be updated and available by end of January. And, we are adding a new Tax Planner to Intuit ProConnect Tax Online, targeted to be available by the end of February. Additionally, in every product, there is a new 2018 Estimated Tax Worksheet that can be used for every client to respond to the question, “How does the 2018 tax change affect me?”

To help you prepare to answer questions as you bring your expert value to clients, we will also be offering three new courses covering the Tax Law Changes for 2018, Tax Planning Strategies, and Estimating 2018 Taxes across all of our products – ProConnect Tax Online, Lacerte and ProSeries.

Of course, our team will continue to anticipate what you and your clients might need, listen to your feedback and take steps that we hope will help you make a difference for your clients.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we are on a journey, living customer obsession, and being there before you need to ask us, and our commitment is to ensure we help you do the same for your clients. We will embrace the Disney lesson: it may not be our fault, but it is always our problem to solve together.

Comments (3) Leave your comment

    1. Hi, Mollie! Yes, I’m based in Intuit’s Plano office, which is located just north of Dallas. Thanks for being a customer!

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