Thursday, March 10th, 2016 | 4 min read
March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but the opposite is true for tax season. It begins with a false sense of calm—you know that you have to file your taxes, and you have plenty of time. It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it.
Weeks pass, and the feeling of serenity begins to wane. You remind yourself each day that it’s probably time to take the deadline seriously, and the stress begins to mount. Before you know it, the dreaded day has arrived and you’re scrambling, begging anyone you can think of with #adulting experience to help you fix the the problem.
If this is how tax season usually goes for you, you’re not alone. And this year, you’re in luck, because Sprinklr has your back. We’ve analyzed social conversations for the past 12 months to figure out how customers feel about the most popular tax services. Now, you can choose a company whose customers love them to take care of your taxes for you before last-minute filing anxieties set in.
Positive brand sentiment is highest at TurboTax. Their customers view their service as simple and cost effective. Brand perception is also positive at Liberty Tax. They offer fast turnarounds to customers seeking general tax help.
Customer satisfaction came down to the proportion of customers who report being satisfied with their experience and their tax returns. TaxSlayer had the highest percentage of customers who were satisfied with their returns. This is likely due to their accurate refund calculator and tiered offerings—customers can also begin filing their taxes for free.
The way that customers perceive the value of services goes beyond how much the service costs—it’s the extent to which they felt they were getting their money’s worth. TurboTax did well in this category, with 75% of their customers feeling that the money they spent was worth the experience and tax return.
Seventy five percent of the comments about the online tax service options were positive, where 44% of comments about brick-and-mortar were positive. Similarly, 71% of online customers would recommend their experience to friends and family, where 42% of customers who had a brick-and-mortar experience would recommend the service to their peers.
Though the numbers indicate that online services take the cake, it’s important to recognize that there may be some sampling and response biases at play. People who filed their taxes at brick-and-mortar locations could be less likely to report moderate feelings because they’re not sitting in front of their computers immediately after the experience (while the online service users are). This could lead to proportionally-increased, more reactive responses.
The customer-brand relationship is especially complex when there’s money involved, and it’s even more sensitive when the brand doesn’t have complete control over the outcome (like with a tax return).
Brand perception, core service offerings, customer service interactions, tax return prediction accuracy, and value perception all interact to determine the way that customers feel about tax service brands. With so many factors coming together, brands should be able to quantify what their customers think in more nuanced ways than with the number of likes, clicks, or impressions (regardless of their industry).
Nuanced insights provided by qualitative data can help brands strengthen their offerings, and their marketing messaging—and ultimately provide customers with positive experiences they’ll want to share with their communities.
About the Author: Shauntle Barley is a Content Associate at Sprinklr, based in New York, NY. She recently graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in German.