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Firm Management

Financial Worries are Making Accountants’ Phones Ring More

Real financial uncertainty is translating into a greater volume and length of calls to accountants and financial consultants, stressing already taxed staff resources.

By Eric Schurke.

Real financial uncertainty is translating into a greater volume and length of calls to accountants and financial consultants, stressing already taxed staff resources.

From its position answering outsourced calls and Live Chat for thousands of businesses across the US and UK, the statement Moneypenny hears most from clients is, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” The pandemic shifted consumer communications with its “always on” expectation, leaving many financial professionals stressed and burned out.

From a practice management perspective, Moneypenny recommends five strategies to managing the load of customer support and getting the work done:

  • Dedicated support. The pandemic made financial businesses realize the importance of improved accessibility and the need to offer extra support during times of uncertainty. Put dedicated telephone support in place to help customers facing financial difficulties.
  • Do an empathy check. The people answering calls need to have empathy. Especially in times of worry, people want to feel heard, understood and supported. This will likely mean longer call times as people have more to explain and potentially more complex needs. Give your team the bandwidth and skills to support customers fully, rather than rushing them off the phone.
  • Answer calls quickly. When people are anxious, their patience is often compromised. Make sure that calls are answered quickly and put extra resources in place if required, be that in-house or outsourced. Also, remember that customers expect support outside of traditional office hours – so call handling teams should have capacity in the evenings and early mornings as well.
  • Consider other tools to help ease the pressure. Not all issues require a phone call and the use of other channels such as Live Chat can help to triage inquiries quickly and keep volumes away from the phones. Knowledgeable Live Chat operators will also know how and where to signpost people for help and be able to book call-backs for complex matters. Customers appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, in real time, while browsing online. Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and favor the messenger-style experience Live Chat offers.
  • Create helpful content. Many of client calls will be around similar themes, such as “How will this new regulation affect me?” Choose the most commonly asked questions and create easy-to-follow website content to provide the answers. This will help clients self-serve and provide Live Chat teams with helpful content to signpost people too.

“Economic uncertainty makes the phone ring,” said Eric Shurke, CEO North America of Moneypenny said. “We saw it during the pandemic and with each interest rate increase, and we expect the phones to keep on ringing. Professionals need to ensure their client care is on point. Done well and it presents a real opportunity to create meaningful client relationships, solve potential issues quickly and build loyalty. Done poorly, and clients will be left confused, vulnerable, or looking elsewhere for support. “


Eric Schurke is the CEO of Moneypenny Group in North America, a leading provider of call answering, outsourced switchboard, live chat and customer contact solutions, handling over 20 million calls and live chats for 21,000 businesses across the US and UK.