As part of TaxAudit.com’s Membership Services Team, I am often a member’s first point of contact. Every time we pick up the phone ─ whether taking an inbound or making an outbound call ─ we must go in with some expectations. We expect our members to be understandably upset, anxious, or even angry about being audited. Frequently, members call in expecting their situation to be resolved instantaneously. This is where we have the opportunity to showcase what TaxAudit.com is all about; this is where we have the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of our members.
From the get-go, Membership Services Representatives are responsible for setting expectations and informing the member that it could be a few business days before they hear from their assigned professional. Once we explain the reason for the delay ─ being that their tax professional will tailor a personalized plan of action for them ─ we can hear the relief in their voice. During this initial interaction, Membership Services Reps make it a point to provide the member with clarity, empathy, and knowledge of our process. The steps of this process include (but are never limited to) the following:
We are deeply concerned with helping our members, and it’s our goal to make sure our members know that. This is the stage where we establish trust. Our members care that we care. This often leads our members to understand that they need to help us help them.
We make a genuine effort to put ourselves in the member's position. This is beneficial for both the member and the rep. While taking these calls, it’s important for us to remember that going through the audit process is both daunting and scary for a member, who may have never dealt with an IRS notice until now.
We truly desire to understand our members’ situations. Practicing active listening helps us to collect the information that will be useful. Examples of information that we look for include: the agency conducting the review, the year being evaluated, whether the member filed a joint or single return for that year, how many notices have been issued, and whether or not the member has issued a response. This information is critical, and we can often document what we need within the first 60 seconds of a call.
Ending the call on a positive note.
After we have created a case file and provided instructions to our member regarding the next steps in the process, we make sure that the member knows they are in good hands and reassure them that they can expect a caring work ethic from their assigned tax professional.
While taking audit reports is a large part of what we do here in the Membership Services Department, our daily responsibilities include much, much more! These duties include assisting members with logging into our Member Assistance Portal, helping members place orders for audit defense memberships and letter evaluations, responding to member inquiries, creating daily sales reports, and importing orders from TurboTax into our system, all while simultaneously monitoring voicemails and emails.
I love the role that I play at TAC! I feel as though I face new challenges every day, as no member or situation is the same as the last. Our CEO, Mark Olander, once said that if we passed him in the hallway, we needed to be prepared with an answer to this question: "What have you done to make a difference today?" Every day, I leave with a response in mind. The stories are never the same, but the feeling of fulfillment is. I leave at the end of the day feeling confident that I have assisted each member to the best of my abilities and I wake up every workday eager to do it all again.
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