Supporting Your EROs as a Service Bureau

by | Jan 31, 2024

In this episode of The Service Bureau Accelerator podcast, we delve deep into the critical topic of how service bureaus can best support tax preparers, also known as EROs (Electronic Return Originators).

As your hosts and successful service bureau operators ourselves, we break down the common issues EROs face and emphasize how having strong communication channels and response systems are key for providing excellent customer service. We share the different platforms and tools service bureaus can utilize, from email and ticketing systems to training videos and community groups, to efficiently solve problems and empower their preparers. You will learn best practices for setting clear expectations, gathering the right information, and continually improving your support operations.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your existing service bureau to the next level, this episode is packed with tangible tips and insights you can implement right away. Tune into The Service Bureau Accelerator podcast now to learn how to build a loyal base of preparers by providing phenomenal support. Don’t miss this valuable resource that could transform your business!

Other subjects covered on the show:

  • The common mistakes new service bureaus make when supporting EROs and how to avoid them.
  • Why you should have a dedicated communication system vs texting or calls.
  • How to correctly diagnose and resolve bank enrollment issues.
  • When to escalate problems to get the fastest solution for EROs.
  • The power of using visuals and videos in your support process.
  • Setting up helpful training webinars and group calls for your preparers.
  • Building an online community for EROs to connect and get peer support.
  • Key support tools every service bureau should have in place.
  • The business impacts of poor vs robust customer support.
  • How to drive retention and growth through phenomenal service.
  • Plus lots of real-world examples and stories from the hosts’ experience.

 

AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe to YouTube.

You may also follow the Service Bureau Accelerator team on these platforms:

Transcription

[00:00:00] Baldeep: I just started recording,

[00:00:01] Ross: Keeping the same t shirts.

[00:00:03] Baldeep: I just started, no, I just started recording cause I wanted to see,

[00:00:07] Tia: I don’t know.

[00:00:08] Baldeep: Alright, well anyway, we started,

[00:00:11] Tia: you

[00:00:12] Baldeep: Laughing on the phone and we’re recording Tia,

[00:00:15] Tia: Oh, sorry

[00:00:18] Baldeep: We just dove into it, I was listening to the pre show ritual there, but alright. So, welcome everyone to episode, the next episode, I think we’re on 13, 14, 12. One of those in the teens supporting for Service Bureau Saturday podcast. We’re going to be talking about supporting your ERO’s as a Service Bureau.

[00:00:38] We’re going to talk about a lot of different topics about supporting your ERO’s. It’ll be a long one.

[00:00:43] Ross: Supporting your ERO’s and

[00:00:44] Baldeep: And getting support as a Service Bureau. But before we dive into the episode. Reminder, follow, like, subscribe, if you’re watching on YouTube subscribe, like, comment, if you’re listening somewhere else, I don’t know what you do on those platforms, [00:01:00] do one of those things that it tells you to do, subscribe, rate, whatever. If you’re been watching a couple episodes, I know some people have commented or said, oh, I’ve been watched all of these, it’s really entertaining, apparently. Go ahead and just check out our website, join our waiting list if you’re not a member. Since right now at the time of recording, enrollment is closed, we’re in January 12th, 2024.

[00:01:23] So nobody can sign up right now, wait till the spring. But let’s just go ahead and dive in supporting your, Oh, before I dive in, we’re here with Tia, the tax goddess. Ross, daddy Ross, uncle Ross as well. No relation. He’s from Canada, not Alabama. Alrighty. I’m just kidding. Let’s go ahead and dive in supporting your ERO’s as a Service Bureau. Who wants to kick it off?

[00:01:50] Ross: Yeah,

[00:01:51] Tia: Can we just talk about support in general?

[00:01:53] Baldeep: Yes, we’re gonna talk about everything.

[00:01:55] Ross: Go ahead.

[00:01:56] Baldeep: We have a list of items.

[00:01:58] Ross: Start broad.

[00:01:58] Baldeep: And we’ll get, yeah.[00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Ross: Go ahead Tia. Take it away. The audience is waiting.

[00:02:03] Tia: Yes, so support is any level of assistance that you provide to your clients. Any You ok Baldeep?

[00:02:14] Baldeep: Coughing a little bit. It’s alright.

[00:02:20] Tia: So sorry any level of assist

[00:02:26] Baldeep: Alright.

[00:02:29] Tia: No, the way your shoulders just I said, oh he’s choking let me stop.

[00:02:35] Baldeep: This will probably not get edited out, we’ll see. We don’t even spot check these anymore, so if it makes it.

[00:02:42] Tia: I’m sorry. I really thought you, was going through some shit over there. Okay, so support is Any level of assistance that you provide to your clients to get them through most of the time a problem, whether it’s technical or non-technical, that’s what we’re getting to in regards to support.

[00:02:58] So, we’re going to start at the [00:03:00] highest tier Service Bureau, and then work our way down to ERO. So you do want to start with the support that we provide, or the type of support that should be provided in general.

[00:03:11] Baldeep: Good question. I don’t know.

[00:03:14] Ross: That is a good question. I mean, we could do both. We can talk about I mean, if we just talk about what we provide, it’s what you should provide, because that’s what we do. But we could start about, yeah. How we support our service bureaus.

[00:03:25] Tia: Oh, Ross, I’m sorry. I want to bring up a kind of overarching, a thing that, of course, because I talked to everyone that comes through. So, even though you are part of the service accelerator, that does not mean that, just because you have an ERO they cannot transfer to a another service bureau that is also a part of our community. It happens all the time, and one of the biggest reasons that it happens, and the feedback I get is your support.

[00:03:54] Baldeep: Wait, are you talking about people that leave like a Service Bureau? That’s maybe with us and go to another Service [00:04:00] bureau that’s with us, or us directly or something like that?

[00:04:04] Tia: So, some of them will leave one service bureau and come to us, or some of their ERO’s will leave one service bureau and go to another service bureau. That’s still within our community and the biggest reason is

[00:04:18] Baldeep: That is the huge reason. Like during the process of transferring an EFIN from a service bureau to a service bureau. Like, in our support process, there’s a ticketing system and all that, we look up where are they coming from? Do we have them in our system? We don’t necessarily let anybody know.

[00:04:33] It’s not our business to let them know, unless it becomes like a game of seesaw, like, Hey, tug of war, somebody saying it. So then we have to figure out whose customers this really is. But a lot of the times that we see, one of the server, the service bureau that’s requesting it doesn’t know that the other service bureaus in the group.

[00:04:49] And they’ll make the comments like, yeah, such and such can get in touch with the service bureau, they can’t get access to their software, they have no way they can mainly it’s hey, I can’t get to my software and their [00:05:00] service is not picking up the phone or they don’t have a system to support them, they’re not getting help. That’s the biggest one.

[00:05:06] Tia: And we can’t intervene in that because we are just the, yeah, we can’t do that.

[00:05:13] Baldeep: It’s not our job to. The only time that’s happened, I could probably count on one hand where tech support reaches out to us and saying, Hey, this customer can’t get access to their location such and such and such. They can’t get in touch with the service.

[00:05:29] We try and call the service bureau. No response. Then it’s like, all right, well, let’s go and service the client and get them what they need. Right? And then, but that doesn’t look good for the service because now they have to go sit and wait days going through these tech support channels to just get a simple thing done.

[00:05:48] Right. So it’s not that we don’t or we can’t. It’s we don’t like to because it’s your responsibility as a service bureau to support your people when it comes to access and set up [00:06:00] and all that stuff. But yeah, that’s the common.

[00:06:03] Ross: Yeah. And support is not the hardest thing, it’s just having communication channels. Like, I saw a post in our group the other week. I don’t remember the specifics of it, but it was something along the lines of what the heck I was just going to set someone up, or like re-enroll someone in the software. And they’re not in there anymore, and they didn’t even tell me anything. It’s like, well, when was the last time you talked to your customer?

[00:06:26] But you probably haven’t talked to them the entire year. And now, you know, end of December, early January is rolling around. And you’re like, oh I better go in and roll everyone in the banks. And you haven’t even talked to them since you sold them software in the first place and they went somewhere else.

[00:06:40] Baldeep: Because maybe you’re used to enrolling and

[00:06:42] Ross: And you didn’t even realize because you never even talked to your fricking customers. So, are you going to blame the customer for them shopping elsewhere? Because you’re not helping them, you’re not re you’re not communicating with them, you’re not reminding them.

[00:06:55] Hey, here’s the important dates coming up. Bank enrollments open, let’s jump on a call, let’s get you [00:07:00] re-enroll. Let’s get your software set back up early ahead of time, instead you’re waiting to last minute. And this person already took off and went

[00:07:06] Baldeep: There’s typically two types of customers that you’re going to get, the ones that may be like you waiting until December 31st to enroll and get set up. But then there’s the customers that want to enroll the second the bank opens because they’re trying to get money. And if you’re not available to help them enroll, because you’re used to taking a break until January, you’re going to lose a client.

[00:07:25] They’re like, all right, I can’t get in touch with this guy. Oh, this guy’s got the same software, let me go get it from him. They seem responsive, they have a lot of people, right? They have these support channels. Like, it’s easy to get in touch with somebody, let’s go try them out.

[00:07:38] And yeah, we’ve seen that quite a few times on the moves where most of the time I see, oh, they’re coming from this person. This person didn’t even roll their service bureau yet, and it’s November 15th. So, they’re probably not an active service bureau focused on their service.

[00:07:53] They’ll still be technically active, but maybe not focused on it. Right? And that’s where we see a lot of moves happen.

[00:07:57] Tia: And for support some of the [00:08:00] communication channels. I mean, I know we have a few, but even something as simple as I’m assuming just an email. A designated email or phone number that they can reach out or text at minimum.

[00:08:12] Baldeep: We think email is the best. We don’t like, well, first starting up service bureaus, right. Email is probably the easiest way. Once you start getting some scale, you need some type of ticketing system to track and there’s free ones out there. Definitely don’t support on cell phone, texting messenger, like all this stuff.

[00:08:29] Ross: Baldeep.

[00:08:30] Baldeep: You’ve seen it’s faded away, right? There’s only a handful of people that do that still. And I’m like, Hey, go open up a ticket, reason why, is because somebody is texting you, then you’re going to forget. They have no context, right? On a ticketing, like in our ticketing platform, the way ours is set up.

[00:08:47] If somebody opens up a ticket, we know what your service bureau master EFIN is, we know which software you’re on, we can go look at other details that would help us in helping support you. Right.? Like, so[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Ross: Readily

[00:09:00] Baldeep: Available. If you text me, it’s like, who are you? What’s your, like, I don’t know your, the numbers, I’m like,

[00:09:06] Ross: Comment us on our facebook group. It’s like, all right, well, your Facebook group, your name on Facebook doesn’t even match your name that we have in our account. So now I got to go through multiple different troubleshooting to try and figure out who the hell is this and what software are they on.

[00:09:18] Tia: I just had a bad experience with just dealing with clients on Facebook in general. I learned a hard lesson. Don’t deal with clients on Facebook and messenger. If something happens, if that system shuts down, then that person is, those messages, everything is gone.

[00:09:35] Ross: Gone. Yeah. The other thing too, that’s really important. Why? Like, Baldeep mentioned, there’s a lot of ticketing tools and solutions and support solutions that are free to use. There’s a lot of great ones that you can just Google search, you know, support to any system, whatever.

[00:09:49] But the other reason too why you’d want to move to that sooner than later, at least start with email communications because as you’re growing your business, it’s really hard to move your customers away from something that they’re [00:10:00] used to doing all the time. Say, Oh, now you’ve got to do it this way.

[00:10:02] They’re like, well, but I would, I did this all this way the whole time. Right? Oh, well, I would just text Baldeep whenever I need an issue. I get it, but now we need you to use this platform. So it can create a little bit more challenges to get all of your old customers to adopt new systems. So the sooner you can get something up and you can get people comfortable with it and you get them to actually adopt using that system, using that tool.

[00:10:24] Now, everyone’s going to do it, everyone’s going to be doing it the same way. And now you can actually scale because like scale your support, because when people would just text me directly, I now basically just respond, Hey that’s a great question. Please go open up a support ticket. Because if you text me and I look at it, but I don’t respond, and then maybe I’m out of office for like a week, right?

[00:10:46] Guess what? Your message is not being responded. So it’s not that I don’t want to text with you directly. It’s just that if you open a ticket, now it’s a system and a tool, and we have a team that will make sure that question gets resolved, right? That support that you need, [00:11:00] we will help you the fastest way possible by using that ticketing platform.

[00:11:03] So it’s twofold, right? It’s like, you end up getting your customers to have a really great experience where they know every time they have a question, they go to one spot, they open a ticket, it gets responded usually the same day, sometimes within a couple hours, sometimes within a few minutes. If we happen to be in there and we see a ticket come in immediately that I can answer, I just respond to it.

[00:11:21] So it’s a very short turnaround, but then again, it allows you to actually have a system in place where now you can put team members in to handle some of those, you know, the standard support questions that come up very often. So it’s a big part of it, and we do, I know a lot of times, like even in our program, we’re like, guys, it’s not that hard to support people on your software and it’s not, but just having some basic things set up like that and just having some ongoing communications with your customers. That’s all you got to do.

[00:11:47] Like, that’s the bare minimum. That’s really all it takes to properly support a customer. You don’t have to go above and beyond in every aspect, but just have some basic things in place so that when someone needs help, they can contact you and [00:12:00] you actually respond.

[00:12:00] Baldeep: Or somebody on your team response.

[00:12:02] Ross: It has to go both ways.

[00:12:04] Or someone on your team responds, right?

[00:12:06] Baldeep: Our ticket response time is pretty fast, like most tickets were responding to within 5, 10 minutes, at least this time of year, right? Like, especially like during enrollment season, and now I remember one dude commented in the group. Hey, I had this question, I didn’t get a response, it’s been over two hours.

[00:12:21] And then I go, look, I’m like, what do you mean? You got a response in four minutes. Like, you just gotta go back and check your email and look like the ticket response time on our group and our team is fast. Right. So,

[00:12:33] Tia: And people get spoiled. It’s like three o’clock in the morning and they’re like, no one’s responding. It’s three o’clock in the morning and no one’s responding.

[00:12:42] Ross: 24 hour support.

[00:12:43] Baldeep: And then there’s the, I don’t know if we want to dive into like the different other tech support stuff that, that comes up or how do you want to keep going like frontline support.

[00:12:54] Tia: What’s the minimum support? Yeah, what’s the minimum front end and back end [00:13:00] support that your average service bureau should be providing to their ERO’s?

[00:13:07] Baldeep: Well, they should be showing them how to use the software, right? Setting them up on the software and rolling them on the bank, showing them how to use it, whether they do it one on one or they do one to many on group, like, we actually have training videos. We have people on our team do live calls that our group can invite their customers to help them on the software training.

[00:13:25] But the downside to that, this is supposed to be a supplement, not a replacement of you. The downside to that is, if the person asks you a question, I was just having this conversation with somebody yesterday. I’m like, if you don’t learn the software and you go sign up 10 people, when they have a question, they ask you now, all of a sudden you’re not the authority.

[00:13:41] Like you need to learn it. Right? You need to learn what you’re selling at some point, like the ones that are the most successful actually learn what they’re selling. Right? It doesn’t mean they need to use it, and especially if you’re not going to do taxes, like a lot of some people in the group don’t do taxes anymore or trying not to do taxes. You still need to know how to like,

[00:13:56] Ross: I don’t do tasks.

[00:13:57] Baldeep: But you know how to show somebody where to go to start a [00:14:00] return. Like, this is where you got, like, we’re going to show you what to do in it, but here’s how you start one, like,you’re the expert, you should know how to do a tax return.

[00:14:07] So the bare minimum, being able to effectively set them up on the software, give them their credentials, enroll them in the bank, and then having a way for them to reach out to you, right? Because software tech support lines are not going to be able to answer every question for them, right? Some things are going to be specific to how much access you gave them, how you built them out, like other scenarios that they’re not going to know.

[00:14:29] Ross: Yeah. And to add onto that as well, this is something that like, that we always look at in our businesses, what can we improve on and support, not just on the software, but for our program, for the Service Bureau Accelerator Program, a big thing that we are looking at increasing our support on, is training our members who become a service bureau.

[00:14:49] On how the software works more than what we have been doing historically, so that they understand all those baseline things so that they can support their [00:15:00] customers better. So we had a concept, like I think it was when we were planning for the 2023 year that we were wanting to do some sort of like a certification program where we actually move people through where like we, you now become a certified service bureau.

[00:15:12] And I think a big goal for this next year is to actually implement that where we have multistage steps where our members book in with our team. They go through a series of training, then they schedule their first call with our team, or we go through, make sure they’re set up on the software, they understand all the different areas of the backend software, because when you become a service bureau, it’s a totally different like platform that you have access to than what most people are used to typically.

[00:15:39] So, there’s a lot of a decent learning curve and the more time we can spend, I think with our clients or like with our service bureau salary members to get them trained up and support them on really learning the platform as a service bureau, will enable them to have more confidence and more competence within the software, so that they feel better about going out and actually selling it because they’re [00:16:00] like, Oh, now I actually understand all this stuff. I have a much better understanding, I know how to do all this stuff.

[00:16:05] Now I’m more confident in supporting people. And I think that’s probably why a lot of people do fail at the support is because like you said, Baldeep, they never learned the shit themselves.

[00:16:13] So how are they going to support if they don’t even know it themselves? So I think that’s a big thing that we’re also going to be focusing on is how do we better train up our service accelerator members so they can better support their customers as well.

[00:16:24] Baldeep: For sure.

[00:16:25] Ross: But there’s also a couple of things like, we’ve got, so maybe we can dive into some things that a service bureau should be able to support their ERO’s on. Like, the banks, like the ERO problems that they typically have, like trying to get enrolled. I know there’s a lot of things that come up with that. Is there anything top of mind, Baldeep, Tia, that you want to dive into on those?

[00:16:44] Baldeep: I think, for new service bureaus, the most common discrepancy we see is, hey, you didn’t enroll your service bureau with this bank. Why are you trying to enroll an office with that bank? Like, just trying to understand the hierarchy [00:17:00] is where they always get lost, like newer service bureaus. But as we dive into some more specifics, like now, hey, maybe you’re like, you’re setting up an ERO and there’s a bank rejection, right?

[00:17:11] How do you diagnose that? Right? What does it mean? Right? Depending on the software, they give you info or they give you numbers, like numbers, meaning nothing. Cause you don’t know what they mean. If you Google sometimes you’ll get the answer to what those rejects mean. But like the escalations is I think where people get lost.

[00:17:28] So no, this year there’s been quite a few, just like little things. Not big deal things, but just like, things that if we were made aware sooner, we could have helped you sooner. So for example, there was one member,

[00:17:43] Ross: One customer, one client.

[00:17:45] Baldeep: So this is the one that actually happened the other day. Right? So they got a new EFIN, right? Sometime over the summer, the IRS, you know, compromised EFIN. They give you a new one. So, sometime in the fall, they enrolled their new EFIN with Refund Advantage, [00:18:00] right?

[00:18:01] And they went, called up Refund Advantage and said, Hey, I want to get a loan, but I had to get a new EFIN. So then they collected all the information for the prior year funding, all this stuff from their old EFIN. Oh, that was your old EFIN. Okay. And they gave them an ERO loan. So now, January 11th or whatever, yesterday, right?

[00:18:22] I think it was yesterday or the day before, they’re like, Hey, it’s saying I can’t do preacts, but my funding rate is this, I’m like, well, give me some more info. Right? So finally I got the EFIN and then I’m just like, okay, let me just make, let me just send it up. I ended up making a phone call about it.

[00:18:37] This person, mind you, has been contacting customer support for like two days. Right? They’re like, how come blah, blah, blah, blah. So I call up and then I find out, oh, well they got a new EFIN and it just seems that whoever did the loan application to give them money did not give the other department, not the prior year history, so they could qualify for the preacts [00:19:00] and frontline ERO customer support. They don’t have a clue how to look that stuff up. They’re typically seasonal, they’re typically temporary.

[00:19:09] Ross: Probably.

[00:19:10] Baldeep: Don’t even have access to look it up. But then if you don’t even know how to properly give them the info, like properly say, Hey, this is what I need to do so I can resolve this problem.

[00:19:20] Like, if you don’t know how to resolve it, you can’t formulate the question and the solution. Right? To them, they’re not going to be able to help you. They’re just going to send it somewhere, it’s going to get lost. Right? So scenarios like that, it’s good to have the members of our group, whenever a situation like that come up ,we help those issues get resolved and Ross, you made a comment earlier this year, when tickets started coming in about banks and this and that.

[00:19:43] And you’re like, no, why are we doing this ERO bank support stuff? Shouldn’t we just tell them to call the banks? Like you made some type of comment like that. Remember that?

[00:19:52] Ross: Yeah, it was just a bunch of stuff where they’re like, Hey, I need to get this done with refund advantage. I’m like, well, why? We’re software. Why are we doing the [00:20:00] bank’s work?

[00:20:01] Baldeep: So,

[00:20:02] Ross: Yeah, that’s what my thought was like, just call refund advantage,

[00:20:04] Tia: Advantage and TPG comes on to our platform gives you all of their information.

[00:20:11] Ross: That was my thought.

[00:20:12] Baldeep: But then.

[00:20:12] Ross: But, it’s because they don’t know what to actually ask and how.

[00:20:16] Baldeep: What I said was, look, the problem is when they call up refund advantage or TPG, right? Or whatever bank they’re speaking to somebody that is there seasonally temporary or deals in this one department, and that one department doesn’t know if they don’t know the answer, they’re just telling them to contact the software.

[00:20:36] And then if they call it software tech support, they’re going to tell them, call and contact the, like, there’s just this whole back and forth. Let’s blame the software, let’s blame the bank. The customer, our customer is sitting there like what’s going on. They don’t know, like, not their fault. They may not know how to properly ask it or the person they’re talking to on the consumer support side is just a fucking idiot.

[00:20:55] One of those two, right? Like, it’s usually the latter, right? Like, Hey, this is should be simple. Why is this so [00:21:00] complicated? So when Ross said that, I’m like, look. All I get right now is our customers are calling up the banks or whatever. The banks are saying, Hey, the software has to handle it.

[00:21:09] My 9 times out of 10, our service groups have access to handle it, they just don’t know how to do it. So it’s like simple enough, let’s just eliminate that problem. If you have a question, just put in a ticket, I don’t care if it’s a bank thing that has nothing to do with us. If it’s something that we can help diagnose and resolve, we’re just going to resolve.

[00:21:24] Like at this point, we can’t just be pushing people off to shitty customer support. We need to say, all right, cool. We’ve done this enough where we know like how to solve 95 percent of these problems and escalate it when it needs to be escalated.

[00:21:37] Ross: And if it’s the 5%.

[00:21:38] Tia: Deep 2024.

[00:21:39] Ross: Yeah no, it’s a 100%. And I’m glad you brought that up, cause that was like, you know, I had not been as involved with the ticketing and a lot of that support stuff. And then this year I’ve started to be a little bit more involved with it. Just looking at all the other kind of tickets that come in and we had, you know, that other girl the other day called up right with the, what was it?

[00:21:58] The EFIN was enrolled [00:22:00] already with refund advantage with another software. And so it’s like, well, how come this one isn’t going through? And it’s, pretty easy thing to identify with the air code, but when she’s spending hours and hours on the phone with the banks and the software, no one seems to be able to, they’re like, oh, well, this is it.

[00:22:14] And it’s like, okay, well, what’s the resolution? And there was no guidance on the actual resolution and until it comes to, we’re like, all right, we’ll take a look at it. And I think we had to escalate it, but like by the end of the next day, it was done, there you go. Go enroll the person.

[00:22:27] Okay. Go ahead. So, I think that’s another big thing, too, is when it comes to support, like, there is a lot more involved in support than I think most people would like to believe, I guess, for like a lack of a better way of saying it. And I think if you are looking at getting into or becoming a service bureau or selling your software, those are two important things. Think it’s a very important thing to understand. It’s like, what kind of support do I get? Who do, how do I get support? Is it some? I’m through this mentioned this together the [00:23:00] other episode, I’ll say it again, is it a discord server that like, no one’s there.

[00:23:03] Is there an email that I don’t get a response back from? Like, for three days, or is there a ticketing system? Do I have a rep? Like, how do I get support? And it’s very important because even if you’re software direct, I don’t know what their support looks like. Other companies, it’s really hard to tell what the support looks like until you’re in.

[00:23:20] I know for us, whenever we look at any other software tools or systems or whatever, it’s like, how is your support? Because when I have an issue, I don’t want to wait three days to get a resolution, right? I would like a resolution, hopefully that same day if possible, or if not sooner, but I don’t want to have to wait three, four days a week with no response. And if I get that type of support, I’m very quick to leave that company.

[00:23:43] Baldeep: Right.

[00:23:44] Tia: So let’s talk about, we’re talking about how do we get support. How do you give support as a service bureau, technical and non-technical? I think one thing we always talk about with the non-technical side [00:24:00] is, at the very minimum provide some type of, coaching call or support call at minimum. If we’re talking non-technical why do you all think that is like, that’s the standard if you’re a service bureau to your ERO’s?

[00:24:19] Ross: What’d you mean with, like a support call, like doing a call with someone over the phone? Or.

[00:24:23] Tia: No, like the group calls, like, you know, one thing we always say, okay, if you’re going to do, I mean, a bare minimum offer.

[00:24:30] Ross: Okay. Got Yeah.

[00:24:31] Tia: Group, you know.

[00:24:32] Baldeep: A lot of the reasons we recommend that is because most service single like single owner operators and they don’t have the bandwidth to do. The type of support that,

[00:24:42] Ross: Ten one hour calls.

[00:24:43] Baldeep: It’s just the bandwidth thing.

[00:24:44] Ross: You know.

[00:24:45] Baldeep: Which is like why we do webinars because we don’t have the bandwidth to do 100 individual sales presentations a week. Right? We’d rather do the sales presentation and then do the 30 minute call about signing up. [00:25:00] That’s why we do group coaching calls because we don’t have the bandwidth to show 600 people how to do the same thing, individually, right?

[00:25:10] So it just comes down to bandwidth and a lot of the times it’s with a single operator. Right? Maybe you have a 1 or 2 other team members. It’s still doing 1 on 1 kind of non-technical walkthroughs and stuff like that. It adds up if you start growing, right? You need to be able to formulate that group process and then build out the support team to handle any questions that come from that.

[00:25:32] Ross: I think another to add onto that as well as minimums that’s more like group, like I would say, I’d say maybe not necessarily support, but maybe like training, right. Or like, Hey, we’re going to do, let’s jump on. We’re going to do like a group call and we’re going to get everyone enrolled, or we’re going to make sure everyone can log into the software.

[00:25:47] And we’re going to demo, like doing a return just to support everyone, to make sure you know how to get into the software and everything like that. On the other side, on the actual direct customer support, I think for like just bare minimums, I [00:26:00] think we’ve mentioned this before, but just having some sort of a platform, an email address, ticketing system, whatever.

[00:26:04] To give someone support, there’s a really amazing tool that we talk about all the time. It’s called loom, loom.com. It’s free to use, a little widget, it just records your screen when you are servicing or supporting someone when it comes to like tax software, whether, you know, they’re trying to, they’re adding a prepare, but they don’t know why the repair kit, like, or they’re trying to add a prepare, but they don’t know how to remove the permission.

[00:26:29] So they can’t transmit, or they’ve got a data entry purse. They don’t know how to do this, whatever it may be in the software. And again, what was mentioned earlier, sometimes people don’t know. The right question to ask, or like how to ask the right question. And so if you can encourage your members is what we do in our group all the time.

[00:26:45] It’s like, Hey, send us a loom video where you can show on screen. Exactly. What are you struggling with? So we can help you now, that’s a little bit more for like technical support, right? If they’re trying to do something and they’re struggling, like that is a great [00:27:00] tool. And this is like a great piece of information that everyone should take away from this loom, loom.com. It’s a tool, you can just, Hey, send me a loom video, record your screen, so I know exactly what you’re looking at, because the question you asked made no sense at all. I have no clue what you’re talking about.

[00:27:14] Send me a loom video, and now I can see, and then I can send you one back and show, Oh, go here, click here, click that. Now you’re good to go, right? It can be as simple as, Hey, how come I don’t have any bank products in my software while you got to go to your office configuration and select the bank that you want to use, then you’re good to go. So, but just little tools like that to help illustrate, I think, text, like just responding to an email or responding to a tech support with just a text response.

[00:27:40] Sometimes isn’t the greatest, but if you can add images, visual stuff, light, loom, it’s a video. So I think those are some huge things that people can add into their support processes to provide kind of next level. Well, just a nice little.

[00:27:52] Baldeep: Even how to get proper support, right? Give you give more details. Like, we get so many tickets, it’s like, Hey my [00:28:00] office is this is happening to my office. All right. Well, what’s your office? What’s the EFIN? Like, we don’t know any info, right? Like, give us the info, like to get proper support anywhere.

[00:28:09] Give as much information as possible, right? Even if you feel it’s wordy, or you don’t know what’s important and what’s not, just give as much information as possible, right? Because we can’t look anything up without an EFIN. If it’s some type of bank support or configuration support. We can’t look it up, right?

[00:28:26] I’m not going to guess. We need to know this information, there’s a lot of things that I see it’s like, okay, great, what’s the response my response? Cuz I’m very just straightforward. Okay. Great, what’s the EFIN?? Like can’t help you with that until I know this info. So just save yourself some steps.

[00:28:40] Tia: I think for me, if we’re talking about the Service Bureau support to the ERO. My top three suggestions and recommendations would be:

[00:28:48] To one, have that once a month, once a week, I don’t know, once a quarter call, like you guys said, like that group call, group training.

[00:28:58] Two, [00:29:00] to have some type of community, where are, where’s your tribe kind of communing, because a lot of times when they’re in the community, some of those things that you’re supporting they end up supporting each other with naturally over time so that also not like it’s free labor, but it is kind of free support because they’re leaning on each other.

[00:29:21] And then, the third thing would just be to create some type of platform or a what is it called SOP standard operating procedure like where do you go?

[00:29:32] Ross: Where do you get support?

[00:29:33] Tia: To get support and what, who do

[00:29:35] Ross: And what do you put in it?

[00:29:37] Tia: Exactly, and that can just be one email bullet. That doesn’t have to be a camp or anything like that, but those three things I feel like are the top three issues, the ERO’s have when they’re looking for good service bureaus, and believe it or not every ERO wants to be a service bureau.

[00:29:55] They just want to be an ERO. They want to be under a good service bureau. [00:30:00] That’s giving them fair prices and fair fees. And they want to know that you’ll pick up the phone.

[00:30:04] Baldeep: Yeah

[00:30:05] Ross: Yeah, for sure. Yeah and the community thing is a great 1, 2, the only challenge with community sometimes is depending how you are operating your service bureau. You know, some people may not have the same deal points, right? And that can always, you know, if people start looking at each other’s fees and they have that discussion, it can it can be a bit challenging.

[00:30:21] But I will say this having a community is great to have, and you can always set those guidelines. It’s like, Hey, we don’t talk about fees here, we don’t talk about this is just for like direct, you know, if you set those guidelines again, you set those expectations.

[00:30:32] There’s no reason why you can’t have a good community where everyone is kind of, supporting each other. I see that a ton of times in the group the other day I was in and there was a whole thread, someone had a couple of questions and I was writing a response for it and I’m like, well, hang on, there was a bunch of other response and I go through, I’m like, oh, it’s already been I’m like, all right, bet like I don’t have do anything. I love this group. I don’t have to answer to that though is sometimes people give the wrong answer then multiple answers that’s the catch 22.

[00:30:58] Baldeep: Then people will post in that group.

[00:30:59] Ross: You got one [00:31:00] person giving an answer. No. It’s this. And then no. It’s this. And you’re like, okay, we’ll

[00:31:04] Baldeep: somebody asks a question, we, I, we do that

[00:31:06] Tia: No, no one saw it.

[00:31:08] Baldeep: Somebody asks the question, Hey, how do I do this? Can I do this in the software? First of all, they didn’t specify what software. I know what software they’re on just by the name sometimes. And then the response, I’m like, you don’t even have the same software.

[00:31:19] You can’t do that in that one, but you can’t do that in the one they have. And it’s just like, if you have questions, just open up a support ticket. Right? Or call up, like, depending on the software will recommend, just call a tech support. Okay. tech supports better than the other. I think in just certain situations.

[00:31:33] Ross: Yeah, that always.

[00:31:34] Tia: Yeah, even as simple as a group me or like a Facebook, and again, it depends on the amount of clients that you have, because I know some people that have a text, thread and it’s at least really simple. Hey, I forgot my log in, oh, well you can do a reset request, but I think like having somewhere where people feel like they belong, people like belonging. And I think that’s more of a [00:32:00] non-technical than anything. Like, I know this is where my tribe is located.

[00:32:04] Ross: Yeah. And it helps build the community as well. Like it’s, you know, support. Yes there’s pros and cons, right? People, you know, for the simple questions by and large, I think most of those things get answered correctly in our group. Sometimes again, the technical stuff, it’s like, well, you’re responding to a question that is true in your software, but false in the other software.

[00:32:22] And they just honestly don’t know it. Right? So they don’t know that difference, but I think overall, it’s good to have a community as well, just for retention to, like you said, people having that tribe, they got that group to like, okay, I’m a part of this kind of a little more exclusive community. You know, as long as they’re having a good experience in that group, then it’s a great tool as well for retention. As well as potentially support as well.

[00:32:41] Tia: But if they start bashing, just shut it down. It doesn’t kick them Get them , kick them out.

[00:32:46] Ross: Get them out of there. Do that all the time. We do that even on our webinars that someone’s making bad comments. We’re like, all right, get out of here.

[00:32:52] Tia: Just messed up.

[00:32:56] Ross: Awesome. But yeah, all in all, I think that was pretty good. Good little breakdown of support again. [00:33:00] It’s something that everyone should really make some effort, some level of effort on is being able to support your customers. It’s going to go a long way, not only just in helping your clients achieve, but also retention and success long term in your business.

[00:33:14] If you do not put a healthy amount of focus on being able to support your customers. Like I mentioned before, you know, time and time we’ve seen this. Oh, so and so just left my service bureau, they didn’t even tell me. Well, it’s because you probably never talked to them, which means you probably don’t have any good support with them because, you know, they just left and you didn’t, you never even knew about it until January.

[00:33:33] So having support in place will allow your members to have confidence in the fact that, Hey, when I have problems, when I have challenges, I know that I’m going to be taken care of, which gives me confidence that I don’t want to go elsewhere because I don’t know if I’m going to be taken care of like I am here.

[00:33:48] So it’s a really important thing for retention, making them, helping them succeed, making sure that they’re winning in their business. There’s so much other stuff about support with marketing and sales and whatnot, but I think just having a [00:34:00] baseline of, either an inbox, some sort of free ticketing system, maybe a little community.

[00:34:05] That’s really all you need to get started to actually really provide some good support to your ERO’s as a service bureau. So anything else you guys want to add into that? The last little caveats, last little nuggets of information on that?

[00:34:16] Tia: No, I think that’s everything. I would like a follow up episode. You know, bring in the tax nitro guru to, to kind of talk about automations and implementations, how that stuff works out.

[00:34:29] Ross: Of like some. Some cool like tactical trainings tactical podcasts on how to actually do some shit in the business for sure. Now we could

[00:34:37] Baldeep: Then based on our last episode, people will have more ammo and how to actually use shit to copy us betters that we were trying to do.

[00:34:43] Ross: You know, you can copy it’s the highest form of flattery, right? Imitation.

[00:34:47] Baldeep: Alright, well I think, that’s a wrap. Have a good night guys.

[00:34:53] Ross: Yeah, we’ll wrap it up for the episode. Have a

[00:34:55] Tia: To do the closeout.

[00:34:56] Ross: One more time again for listeners. If you guys enjoyed this, if you want to learn a little bit more [00:35:00] about service bureau accelerator like, subscribe, follow us on all the social medias, wherever you’re watching YouTube, listening on Spotify, subscribe in the channel description as well, or in the video descriptions, podcasts, episode descriptions, we’ve got links to our website, ServiceBureauAccelerator.com.

[00:35:13] Check it out, watch one of the replays, depending when you’re watching this, we might just have a waiting list up, or you might be able to actually book a call with us, but either way. Get on those lists if you’re interested to learn a little bit more about how you can become a Service Bureau through Service Bureau Accelerator.

[00:35:26] Baldeep: Alright.

[00:35:26] Tia: Yeah.