Monday, December 2, 2013

Deathmatch: Visa Vs Mastercard!

I had another childish customer today who did not give us permission to convert his credit card!

Very similar situation to my linked thread. We issue and administer credit cards for a popular sporting goods store. Originally, these cards were under the Visa network. However, the store made a business decision to end their affiliation with Visa and convert their accounts to Mastercard. Letters were mailed to notify customers about the change in March. A second batch of letters with more detailed information was mailed in April. In June, we mailed out "welcome" letters, the cards themselves, and benefit information kits.

Fast forward to today when I got a call from a man who was irate over the fact that his card is no longer a Visa. He accused us of never sending him any notice about the conversion. I read him the mail dates of every letter that had been sent out. "I never received any notification. And I know if I got a certified letter, I would remember!" I got him to verify that the mailing address we have on file is correct; that's where the letters were mailed. So I asked him if he normally has problems with his mail being delivered and I shit you not, he informed me that as a matter of fact, yes; his mailman was caught stuffing a bunch of mail in his trunk because he didn't feel like delivering it! Well that's a shame, but the fact remains that we did mail you out multiple notices about this account conversion.

Strangely enough, though, he did receive the replacement Mastercard. Apparently he didn't think it was a valid credit card because he never ordered a Mastercard, so he'd never called in to have it activated...yet he held on to it for six months, why? He claimed that he had only called in to find out what was wrong with his Visa because he tried to use it today and it was declined and he was very embarrassed.

He also claimed that he had just spoken to another rep, ten minutes earlier, who assured him that the account number for the Visa and the card itself were still valid, and that was obviously a lie because he tried to use the card and it was declined and he was very. embarrassed! While I apologized for the misinformation, I know he's the damn liar, liar, pants on fire because that rep was smart enough to comment the account that the customer had requested a note be made about his Visa no longer working due to the account conversion to Mastercard.

Here are some highlights of his complaints:

  • He didn't give the store permission to change his credit card.
  • The bank didn't notify him of the changes and we're supposed to send him this information via certified mail... BWAHAHAHAHA! Where is he getting this idea that we're required to send out letters via certified mail?
  • He doesn't want a Mastercard because he only uses Visa and he's never had a Mastercard and he doesn't know anything about Mastercard and he doesn't want to deal with Mastercard because he knows Visa and he's used to dealing with VISA!
  • He didn't give us permission to change his credit card!
  • He doesn't care that Mastercard is as universally accepted for payment as Visa, because he doesn't "take" Mastercard. He only "takes" Visa.
  • He's a Visa guy! His words, not mine.
While he was busy ranting and raving about the glory that is Visa, I did some poking around in his account. There hadn't been any activity on that card for over six months!

I tried to explain to him that his account and his credit line had been and would continue to be issued and managed by The Bank; nothing in his credit card agreement with us had changed. I tried to explain how Visa and Mastercard are just networks that process payments for merchants; nothing in his credit card agreement had changed. He was like a small child who squints his eyes shut and jams his fingers in his ears: Lalalala, I can't hear you! It was ridiculous.

I asked him if there was a particular benefit or feature that he had enjoyed with the Visa and was concerned that it might not be offered with the Mastercard. No, that was not the concern. He didn't know anything about any benefits or features; that is not the concern! He just doesn't want a Mastercard because he doesn't "know" Mastercard! At my wits end with this idiot, I did something I'm not even supposed to do. I offered to escalate his complaint to my manager and request that his account be converted to a standard, Bank-branded rewards credit card. It would no longer be associated with the sporting goods store, but it would be a fucking VISA, and this would maintain his account history and extremely low APR.

This ungrateful bastard turned down my offer and told me that he didn't need my help to change his account. He could do that himself any time he wants. I told him in no uncertain terms that while he is welcome to apply for a new credit card at any time, which is guaranteed to have a much higher APR, there are no "self service" options to convert his existing account to a different credit card product. He turned me down again and I almost lost it.

"Then what would you like me to do? What can I do to make this work for you?"

"Nothing. I don't want you to do anything for me. I'll figure it out on my own. I don't trust you to do anything for me after all of the things you've already done to my account without my permission. I'll fix it myself. Ok, I'm going to hang up now."

"All right then, you have a great day." 

Am I missing something? If you're not concerned about benefits and features, then what the fuck is so special about a damn Mastercard?!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No, YOU'RE childish!

Months and months ago, we went through an upgrade campaign for one of the credit cards we service for another bank. Letters were mailed out back in January to let customers know that the upgrade would happen automatically unless they called in to opt out. It detailed the changes to the rewards program, additional benefits that would be received, and the fact that card numbers would change and replacement cards mailed. Automatically on such-and-such date. Unless you call in to opt out.

Fast forward to yesterday, November 4th. A man calls in for one of those cards but gives me the old account number. When I advise him that his account was converted due to the upgrade and that the old credit card number was no longer valid, and asked him if he had the new card, he flipped out.

"I never gave you permission to upgrade my account! I never gave you permission to change my account number!" and so on. He claimed he never received any replacement card and wanted to keep the old one. When I explained the details of the upgrade and that it was an opt-out campaign, he just kept going on about how he never gave us permission to change his account and wants to know how this happened without his knowledge.

So I'm looking at the comments on his account and his wife called in to activate the new cards back in September and there has been activity from that card number several times since then. When I tell him this, he insists that only his wife got a card, not him. This is not possible, since he is the primary cardholder. I really wanted to ask him, where did they think this extra credit card came from? He only has one credit card with this bank. They didn't think it was a little odd that they suddenly have two different credit cards with two different account numbers, but haven't received a billing statement with the old account number on it in months

I also noticed system-generated comments documenting every letter that was mailed out in reference to this upgrade. There were five letters between January and September: notification about the upgrade, reminders about the opt-out deadline, a conversion notification, and a welcome package that was sent out around the same time as the new cards. But somehow this guy had no idea that his card was changing. 

He starts up again about not giving us permission and I explain to him, again, how an opt-out campaign works. "There were several letters mailed out prior to the conversion. The upgrade was processed automatically because you didn't call in to opt out."

His response? "That's just a childish response!" 

No sir, what's childish is the belief that if you just ignore official notices that the changes won't take place!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why do I bother?

Yet another incident involving our online banking "tech support". 

Very similar to the linked thread: customer calls in to make sure that a balance transfer he set up online is pending. Once again, there is no transaction pending on the credit card but there is a system-generated comment on the account that the customer made the request online. No confirmation that it is processing, and no rate information.

I put the customer on hold and call over to online banking and was yet again stunned by the complete lack of professionalism. I must be more gullible than I thought; I don't know why these people surprise me any more. The rep finally got around to asking me for the account number of the credit card or debit card for the account. Keep in mind that I just told her that I was calling from Card Services for a customer who had requested a balance transfer...

She seemed very confused and asked me if this was a credit card, which I confirmed...multiple times. Then she advised me to call the credit card department... "That is the department from which I am calling, and what I need is for someone in online banking to verify if this balance transfer was set up correctly online and at what rate. Once again, it is not showing as a pending transaction on his credit card but I understand that this may be because he just requested it earlier today."

Cue more hemming and hawing, so many "um"s and "uh"s, followed by the rep informing me that she does not have access to the customer's credit card information, only his deposit accounts (never mentioned previously when she was verifying whether this was a credit card or a debit card!), and that she does not have access to his online banking profile at all. When I asked her who I might call who would have access to his profile, she was absolutely clueless and again recommended that I call my own department for information on balance transfers. 

Let's just make a long story a little bit shorter and concede that we round in circles a bit more with her unable to provide me with any information leading to a department with access to actual online banking support and me getting more terse in my replies...ending with the customer hanging up because he had been on hold for far too long. 

The kicker? Just as I realized that the customer had disconnected, the other rep said, "I'm sorry, but I will not be able to assist you with that information today."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Training Fail and A Lesson Learned

Even though I have been doing a lot better with my sales performance, there's still room for improvement. This is 100% due to my anxiety and confidence issues, which I am working on in therapy, but of course I'm not going to tell this to my manager. So he set me up for some additional "coaching" today by having one of our top performers sit with me and listen to my calls for 30 minutes.

A customer called in to close his account. When I asked him why, he said that they were consolidating and no longer using this card, so they need to get rid of it. This man has been a customer since 1998. His credit line was $30,000 with a $0 balance, and his APR was 7.24%V. Basically an awesome customer that we do not want to lose.

I showed appreciation for his business and flat out told him I didn't want to lose his business. If he's looking to consolidate his debt and pay off balances, I can help him do that by using this account. He had an excellent promotion for 0% interest on balance transfers until February 2015. The transaction fee, which is normally 4% of the total, would be capped at $199. He politely declined.

I checked under the new promotions window. "What if I could extend that 0% out until May 2015?" He was really nice, but he declined again. I thanked him for his time, told him I would need to transfer him to an account manager to handle the account closure, and transferred him to retention.

So what did our top performer have to say about all this? "I never would have thought to transfer him to retention. After he turned down those offers, I would have just gone ahead and closed the account." 

Believe me when I tell you that he learned more from me today than I could ever learn from him. If a customer is "retention eligible" and wants to close the account,especially for a customer with this status, you always transfer to retention. That is the whole purpose of the retention department: to retain the customer's business!

So what did I learn from this experience? If that jackass can be a top performer, then so can I! The only thing this idiot does better than me is be persistent and consistent in his offers to the customers.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Please Pay Attention

Why can't people pay attention to the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Every day, I have customers who answer the question, "May I have the last four digits of the card you're calling about?" with the last 4 digits of their SSN. Sometimes I have to ask, "What is your credit card number?" and they give me just the last 4 digits of the card; then they get upset when I have to repeat myself and specify that I need the full account number.

I just had a call that I answered with the usual, "Thank you for calling card services! This is Headset. May I have your full name please?" The caller gave me his name and I said, "Thank you, Mr. Customer, and what is your credit card number?"

"My credit card number?!" 

"Yes, sir; I need your full account number, please."

"I'm not calling about no credit card!" 

"I apologize, sir; it appears that you've been routed through to the wrong department. What type of account are you calling about?"

"I'm calling about my truck!" Okaaay...maybe he has an auto loan with us?

Nope. When I asked him which department he was trying to reach so that I could transfer him, he answered, "The Department of Motor Vehicles!" His tone of voice implied that I was a complete idiot and he just could not believe how stupid I was. I was too happy to inform him that he had dialed the wrong number and reached Big Bank by mistake.

Call me crazy, but the last time I called the DMV, I'm pretty sure that the greeting did not include the words, "card services." I've also never waited on hold to speak with someone at the DMV and listened to messages advertising banking services the entire time, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!

I recently passed my one year anniversary at the bank, and no one was more surprised than me.

Back in July, I was placed on a written warning. Even though my numbers had shown improvement, I was still not meeting expectations. I was extremely discouraged and started feeling really sorry for myself, like I just could not do this, I'm not good enough, I'm never going to "get it," and so on. I was crying at work over stupid shit and my anxiety was getting out of control. It was not cool.

I sat in a closed office with my team manager and our department head, where they asked me, "What do we need to do to help you succeed?" My answer was that maybe I'm not cut out for this type of work. My department head looked me in the eye and told me I was wrong, that he and my manager really believed in me and my potential. That they had spoken with other managers who had overheard me on the phone and were impressed by my skills.

Well damn.

So I had to admit that as far as training and assistance was concerned, that my manager had already gone above and beyond what could be expected to help me succeed. My manager is fucking awesome; he is hands down one of the best people I have ever worked for. I cannot blame him or the company for my failures. My biggest barrier at this job is my own anxiety and that is something that I need to work on myself.

It was not easy to say that out loud in front of two people for whom I have a great deal of respect. I don't want to be seen as the office nutcase.

After signing the written warning, I did get some additional coaching and picked up some great techniques from one of my co-workers. Nothing drastic, just a slight change in tone of voice. I had been trying to speak in a very upbeat, cheerful voice. It's hard to explain, but for some reason I've found customers to be more receptive when I speak in sort of a soft, soothing voice instead. Silly, but it's working pretty well so far. Mostly, though, I've been making a huge effort to slow down, swallow my anxiety, and to the customers.

Speaking of my anxiety, I started seeing a therapist once a week. This was a huge deal for me. I've had some very negative experiences with mental health "professionals" in the past. We're still in the "getting to know you" stage, but so far it's going really well. I think I can trust this guy, and I feel like he understands me. It's been very helpful; I feel a lot more positive in general lately!

I've also been taking St. John's Wort daily for about a month now, along with some vitamin supplements. While I'm not noticing a huge difference, I am feeling a little better. It's definitely not making things any worse, so I'm going to keep taking it. My only complaint about the St. John's Wort is that is smells fucking gross. Like moldy dirt or something. Even though it's in gel caps, I end up tasting it later. Nasty.

Aaanyway, by the end of July...I was a "meets expectations" for performance! Just barely, but who cares! At least I wasn't getting fired, right? I started to relax a little and feel a little bit better about my abilities at work. Then, I made expectations for August, too. 

Maybe I can do this shit, after all.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lost or Stolen? Who Cares!

If we change a customer's credit card number because someone stole their card and racked up a bunch of fraudulent charges...and that customer calls back to ask how much longer it's going to be until they should get that new card in the don't activate that fucking card! But hey, at least you didn't fuck up as badly as the next rep this customer spoke with...

If the customer calls back a week later to say, "Hey, I still haven't received that card in the mail. What gives?" and you simply mail out an additional copy of the same are a dumbass and you suck!

WTF! Seriously?! The icing on the cake is the fact that the rep actually typed in the comment, "never received card," as the reason for mailing a new one. With the same exact account number. For a customer who has already experienced fraud on their account!

Do you know how easy it is to report a card as lost or stolen, have the number changed and simultaneously mail out a new one? It takes, literally, two seconds. That's it! You click two buttons in total. It does not require any comments to be entered. Zero keystrokes. Two seconds!