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How to Tell Clients Bad News Without Losing Them


Although you might not always think of it this way, as an accountant, you're a customer service professional. At times, your job will involve delivering bad news, whether it's telling a client you don't have the bandwith to help with their belated tax planning or explaining why you can't help a client with certain financial goals. Here's how to do this well and keep the person on as a client.

Jul 2nd 2021
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Your accounting practice grew one client at a time. Accounting professionals, by nature, are service oriented. You realize the importance of delighting your clients so they continue to work with you over the years and refer new clients to your firm.

Does Your Customer Service Policy Create Burnout?

Overall, clients possess a wide variety of needs. Some requests easily fall within scope. But, every now and then, a client asks you for something extra.

  • Work outside of scope.
  • Tasks which don’t interest you.
  • Activities with a short deadline that interfere with your planned work flow.

Many of my clients find it hard to say no. To avoid confrontation, they immediately say yes even when they mean no.

There’s a hidden cost to this standard of customer service. Pleasing everyone causes you to stretch yourself too thin. Resentment sometimes flares up, especially when you experience burnout. Saying yes to all requests isn’t sustainable.  

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