Friday, December 21, 2012


This actually happened yesterday, Dec. 20. I'm still processing what happened and writing it all out. Here's Part 1...

I let a customer make me cry today.

To be fair, it was a string of shitty customers, all morning long, and by the time I answered that call my nerves were already worn thin. 

Before I had even finished my standard, cheerful (ish?) greeting, he launched into a tirade about some mistake that had been made on one of his accounts (which account? I don't know because he hadn't even given me his name let alone his account number) and he had to wait on hold for 20 minutes to get a person on the line who finally told him that she would fix the issue (not even close, bitch) but then for some reason told him that she would need to transfer him to another associate (lucky me!) and "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?!" 

I don't like being yelled at, and I certainly don't appreciate being yelled at for absolutely no reason. I could feel heat on my cheeks and a slight tremor in my hands as I informed him that I would not be able to give him any information about this account without first verifying his identity. He was completely hysterical, yelling that he had already given me that information (sorry I missed those four digits somewhere in the middle of you screaming at me!) and making a huge deal out of "repeating" himself to me like I was a complete moron.

"Do you need my full social security number? Would that help you to be able to do your job?" followed by more of the same, with me unable to get a word in edgewise.

I pulled up both of his accounts, identified the problem immediately, and went to work rectifying the issue while listening to him complain to someone in the background, insulting my intelligence and accusing the bank of depositing into the wrong account on purpose, hoping that he would just forget about it until we could steal his money. The whole thing was just fucking laughable, but laughing at a customer and calling them out on their stupidity is not actually permitted in this business. I did try, as tactfully as possible, to explain that what he was suggesting is illegal on a federal level and simply not possible under current banking regulations, but that only brought forth more yelling, because, "WELL THEN HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!"

Nothing I said had any effect on calming him down, which wasn't really a surprise since he wouldn't allow me to finish a full word before interrupting me to yell some more, let alone complete an entire sentence to speculate what may have happened and offer to research the issue with the assistance of a manager. When he finished his third outburst with a condescending, “You probably don’t even know anything about this, but I really would appreciate an answer!” I replied, “I can get you an answer, but I’ll have to put you on hold for a moment while I research this for you.”

The truth is, I already knew exactly what had happened: a simple and honest mistake involving a merchant issuing a refund credit to his old (now closed) account number, the only number that the merchant had on file. Normally that refund would have automatically transferred to his new account, but shit happens. Computer systems are not infallible. There was no nefarious plot by The Big Bad Bank to defraud him of approximately $200 by hiding it in an old account that he’s still able to view online.

Thankfully my manager was nearby and I was able to get his attention pretty quickly. Fighting to maintain my composure, I could hear my voice waver and go up an octave as I asked him for clarification on this issue. Don’t you dare cry; get your shit together! Manager was a bit distracted and basically confirmed what I already knew. Suddenly I couldn't face the idea of getting back on the phone with this customer. I could feel my resolve crumbling as I begged, “Then can you please explain that to him? I can’t take any more of this guy screaming at me. He’s angry and he’s accusing us of stealing his money and I just can’t take this right now,” and then I burst into tears. “I can’t take it!”

To my manager’s credit, he finally made eye contact with me and rushed a supervisor over to help me as soon as he saw my face. She told me to take a deep breath and transfer the call to her phone as soon as she got back to her desk. I struggled to calm my breathing while I waited for her to log in, and in that 30 second time-frame that motherfucker hung up the phone.

I could not stop crying, and I was mortified at my lack of self-control. I hate myself so much when I get that emotional, and the fact that there were witnesses only made it that much more humiliating. 

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