Technology at Work
Rashad Phillips of Phillips Tax Group shares how he uses mobile technology to improve his customer service
Whether it’s tax time or not, an accountant’s clients’ needs are 24/7. Rashad Phillips, principal of the Charlotte, NC–based Phillips Tax Group has been a personal tax consultant and small business adviser for 13 years, and in that time has seen first hand how technology has changed customers’ expectations of service. In addition to his clients expecting him to check voice mail's and emails after business hours, Rashad gets posts on Facebook from his clients.
“It used to be very difficult for me to get out of my office,” says Phillips. “I was tied to the phone and the fax machine. Not only could I not go on a vacation, but I rarely got to meet a client at a restaurant.”
Today, not only does Phillips get out of the office, but his clients are able to do business at their convenience.
The need for speed
File-sharing programs like Drop box have helped render the fax machine completely obsolete. For a tax accountant, quickly sending large documents back and forth with clients is a daily need. But without a high-speed connection, Phillips’ time would be consumed with waiting for downloads and staring at hourglasses on his computer screen. “Internet speed is essential now,” says Phillips. “People send me large documents to work with, and trying to download them with a slow connection over DSL was very inconvenient.”
Getting out of the office
Sitting in the same office all day everyday can get tedious. During tax time, it was nearly impossible for Phillips to leave his desk, even to meet with clients. Now, Phillips uses cloud services to store and access any files or documents he may need, on the go. As long as he has his laptop and a WiFi connection, Phillips can visit clients at their businesses and pull up any important information or archived documents.
Reducing response time
When a client needs to reach his accountant there is often a sense of urgency. Even if Phillips has clocked out, his clients know they can still reach him with pressing issues. Phillips can access his voice mail messages by email, and get alerts to his personal smartphone. “Being able to access voice mail online means I can leave my office and still respond to clients in a timely manner,” says Phillips. “I get emails as soon as I get a voice mail and can respond right away, no matter where I am."