The Ultimate Question

IRS Notice 134, revision 11-2002, which is attached as a card along with a refund check from the IRS reads:

If you are certain the refund check is too large, please return the check with a letter to the service center where you filed your return and we will send you the correct amount.

There’s more:

If the refund is too large, and you don’t return the check, you may owe us interest.

Wait, did I read that correctly?  If they make a mistake and I don’t notice, I am the one at fault.

Can you imagine a business operating that way?  Unfortunately, many do.  Just search the web for countless rants against (usually large) companies who are so out of touch with their customers that their staff or policies are right up there with IRS Notice 134.

To their credit, the IRS has come a long way in trying to change the public’s perception of the tax man.  I had called them last fall (granted, not during tax season) and both times the representative I spoke with was very courteous, pleasant and, best of all, well-informed.  I suppose getting a notice like this attached to one’s refund check will cover them by law, but the message contradicts my recent phone experience.

What customer service message do you send to your clients?  You can answer this by asking your them one simple question, known in many business circles as “the ultimate question.”

Would you recommend us?

If the answer is “no,” find out why and fix it.  In a turbulent market like this, your reputation as a customer-focused company is critical.

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