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!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Just trying to help...

I had a woman call today asking to lower her interest rate on her credit card. She had an outstanding balance close to $5000, with an APR of 17.99%...slightly above average. Because of the high balance, I had to request a rate review from a manager, but in the meantime would she mind if I discussed some other opportunities on her account?

You see, I'm looking at the big picture here, and there's more than one way to save money.

She had some 0% balance transfer offers that would save her interest on other accounts, but claimed she didn't have any other credit cards that she was paying interest on...okay, scratch that, moving on...

I could see that not only is she paying off a high balance, she's continuing to use the card, charging several hundred dollars each month. She pays the minimum due or slightly over; even if I can lower her rate, she's still digging herself into a hole. So I offer her this:

I can take the remaining available credit on this account and use it to open up a new card. You still have the same amount of total credit with this bank; it's just split between two cards. You stop using card A and begin paying down the balance without being charged any additional interest.

Because card B is a new account, I can offer you the promotional rate of 0% (ZERO!) interest on all purchases for the first 15 (FIFTEEN!) months. Therefore, you have a credit card to use for your daily needs...without being charged any additional interest. After the promotion has expired, the APR will be 14.99%, which is considerably lower than your current rate.

She completely flipped her shit. 

Apparently this was a terrible idea because then she would have two separate payments and that is just ridiculous. Even though those two payments combined would be much less that what she's paying now. My manager was able to lower her rate to 13.99%, which is great, but let me just recap real quick what she turned down:

I gave her an opportunity to use that credit with NO INTEREST for fifteen months. By the way, I also explained that the existing balance would still be lowered to 13.99%...I was simply offering her an additional opportunity that would allow her to make new purchases for zero interest.

She would rather pay the 13.99% than have a second bill.

I don't even know what to say. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Had to report a co-irker

I know I complain about my customers as much as the next CSR, but the truth is: I love working in customer service. I love feeling productive and useful when I help people, and I will bend over backwards to do so for the majority of my customers.

I had a gentleman call in who had received a phone call from Bank B, alerting him to some suspicious charges on that credit card. When he checked his online banking with us, there were pending charges from the same merchant on our credit card. He and his wife have never heard of this company and did not authorize these charges. 

Normally, we advise customers that we are unable to do anything with the charges until they have posted and settled to the account, but I felt bad that they had been alerted to this by another bank, causing them more concern. Our fraud protection is supposed to be top-notch. I decided to conference over to our fraud claims dept and see what we can do to reassure the customer and resolve the issue.

I also normally do not stay on the line beyond providing fraud with the customer's information. I decided to remain on the line, and stated this with the fraud rep on the line, so that I could process a request to have the replacement cards mailed out priority overnight. I had noticed that these customers use their card on a daily basis, and wanted to provide that courtesy to them. I also knew that fraud would just send them out regular mail or charge for the overnight delivery. I have the authority to waive the fee and wanted to make sure it was done correctly.

From the beginning, this was a terrible conference. First of all, she answered the phone, very curtly, "Card services, Jane.*" That's it! They're supposed to identify themselves as working in the fraud department, but ok. I was more disturbed by the lack of, "How can I help you today?" or "May I have the card number you're calling about?" or even, "Can I have your name, please?" So there was a bit of a pause as I waited for her to say something else, anything, before I finally said, "Yes, hi...This is Headset Hellion from customer service. I have Mr. Smith* on the other line, who would like to initiate a claim against some fraudulent charges."

The conversation went downhill from there. 

She asked me three times what I had verified to authenticate the cardholder. If she had bothered to check the comments on the account, she would have been able to see exactly what had been verified, so this is annoying. Then I brought the customer on the line for her and it just got worse.

She was so incredibly rude and nasty to this man that I just could not believe it. Despite the fact that I had him fully verified, she began asking him for additional verification as if he was a suspicious caller. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe that's their policy, to get an addition verifier for security purposes. It's more the way she did it, the way she was speaking to this customer. Her tone of voice was just...nasty. Even when I have transferred a legit suspicious caller to the fraud department for verification, I have never heard someone speak to a customer this way. It was just uncalled for.

She asked him what employer his wife had listed on the credit card application back in 2007. Apparently the wife has been working freelance for some time and he wasn't able to remember what she had written on the application...six years ago! So Jane gets very irritated and says something to the effect of, "Now this is going to take longer because you're not able to verify the employment information. I'm going to have to place you on hold!"

She kept us on hold for over 5 minutes. I don't know what she was doing or looking for. I've never had this happen before! The entire time, I was trying to figure out a way to hang up on her but keep myself and the customer connected. No dice; you have to ask the third party to disconnect...and I didn't see that going very well. I apologized to Mr. Smith, assured him that I would remain on the line, and hoped for the best.

LULZ! I should have known better. When Jane finally got back on the line, she had apparently decided to throw decent customer service completely out the window. Without any explanation, she immediately started asking him more security questions. She asked if he could verify the DOB of a family member. Not normally a problem, except that this family member has a unique Asian name...and Jane could not pronounce it correctly. Mr. Smith became confused and asked her if she could spell it because he has two relatives with names that sound similar (when pronounced badly, I'm sure). Of course Jane refused to do this for him. She moved on to another family member. This time she spoke the name as last-name first...on a name where both the first and last names could be used interchangeably as first or last names! Thankfully Mr. Smith figured out WTF she was talking about and was able to give the correct DOB.

When he asked why he had to answer so many questions in order to report to us fraudulent activity on his which he had been alerted by another bank...she snapped at him that it was his fault because he hadn't been able to verify the employment question! She gave him no explanation of our fraud protection guarantee, just informed him that the charges would be refunded, the cards blocked, and replacement cards sent regular mail...expect delivery in 7-10 business days.

Of course the customer started to protest. I interrupted and said, "Mr. Smith, I'm sorry. This is why I've remained on the line for you. I noticed you use your cards on a daily basis. I can get the replacements sent out overnight for you; I just need to confirm some information first." Somehow I finally got Jane off the line and launched immediately into damage control.

I don't think I have ever apologized more profusely and more sincerely for the sins of another. Seriously, it was ridiculous. I was upset on a personal level because this bitch is giving a terribly poor representation of the bank, at a time where a customer needs the most reassurance that we are going to take care of them! In the end, the customer seemed satisfied and actually stated that he was very happy with me and my customer service, but he didn't understand why the other rep was speaking to him like he had done something wrong.

I promised him that I would be forwarding a written complaint to management, to be reviewed for a reprimand or at the least, a "coaching opportunity." And that is exactly what I did as soon as I got off that call.

That's right. I logged off the phone for 10 minutes to type up a very detailed letter to my manager, including Jane's information. 

I might complain about some of my customers, but if you want to act like a bitch, treat a nice customer like shit for no reason and make the rest of us look bad...I will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat!

*Names changed, obvs.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More Financial Mis-Advice

I had the displeasure of speaking with another "financial adviser" today.

This one called with "our mutual customer" on the line, to discuss a balance transfer promotion "they" had been offered earlier. There was a lot of "us" and "we" used during the conversation. It seemed a bit too personal to be professional, in my opinion. It also bothered me that the "adviser" monopolized the conversation. I don't think she understood that while she had my customer's permission to remain on the line during this exchange, she is not authorized on this account...therefore I will need verbal confirmation and permission from my customer.

In any case, I was able to offer the same promotion which "they" had rejected earlier today. Given that her "financial adviser" was making such a show of working to reduce "her client's" debt; the customer currently revolves a balance higher than $40,000 with my bank; and the customer's profile showed external revolving balance in excess of $10,000...I thought surely we would be using the remainder of her rather large credit line to pay off this external balance at a lower rate.

The balance to be paid was a little over $1200.  

I asked whether this amount was the statement balance or a payoff amount. First, the "financial adviser" told me it was the amount on the bill. When I informed her that it might be wise to account for any additional interest which has accumulated since that billing cycle closed out, she was thoroughly confused. 

When I asked her what date the billing cycle closed, she said, "Well, this bill was due July X, so that would be the same day."  More confusion as I tried to explain thatno, that is not correct.

Next she changed her story and claimed that this amount was a payoff. I asked her how long that payoff estimate was good for, and she flat out said, "I don't know what you're talking about." Cue additional confusion as I attempted to educate this "financial adviser" that a payoff estimate is not extended permanently...there must be a date after which additional interest will be charged if payment is not received.

She had no idea what I meant and made a poor attempt to mask her ignorance in condescension and disdain. Lovely. 

I just really want to know where these people get their "qualifications" can you give someone advice on credit cards if you don't know how interest is calculated and charged? The worst part is that we devote half a page on every billing statement to the explanation of these charges!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sucky Training

We do weekly training sessions where we're supposed to learn and discuss any new policies and procedures, sales techniques, etc. They usually are pretty informative, plus it gives us time off the phone, which is always a welcome break!

Today we got on the subject, yet again, about dealing with customers who are upset because they had to wait for a representative. I'm not talking about customers who want to speak with a rep for problem-solving and are upset about the hold time. The bank I work for has a very "interesting" marketing strategy wherein they select customers to be routed through to a rep, whether they like it or not. For the most part, this selection is based on the customer's relationship with the bank...namely their credit rating and available credit line.

When these customers call in to, say, make a payment...they do not get a menu option on the phone to select to make a payment. As soon as they enter in their account information, they are instructed to hold for a rep. So of course by the time they get to us, they are a bit perturbed...they want to know why they had to hold for a rep...What's wrong with my account? What's wrong with your systems? Etc etc.

We have received extensive, continuous training on dealing with these calls. I have become an expert at stroking the ego. We explain that we want to provide excellent customer service...that they are a preferred customer who is very important to us...anything to get this person calmed down and make them feel better so that I can service the call and then segue into any promotional offers available on the account...because this is the real reason why the customer was placed on hold and transferred to my line in the first place. 

I am fully aware that this is a sales-based position, and I do really believe that we have some excellent promotional offers with fair terms, but FML I hate this strategy! It creates such a barrier to gaining the customer's trust...but mainly I feel like it's a bit unethical. Our marketing/advertising team basically sucks balls, and can't figure out a way to make people want to call us for these offers, so now we're going to hold someone hostage on the phone and force them to speak to a rep? 

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that we also do this thing where, when a customer calls to activate a credit card, the automated system will ask if they'd like to complete a balance transfer. Even if they select the button for "no," the customer will be routed to a rep. I'm sure you can imagine how pleased these people are to speak with me and what their response is when I offer them said balance transfer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Team Player

I took a call today that I had to transfer to our fraud department. Apparently one of our customers needed to order a replacement social security card, and after searching for "ss replacement," clicked on the first ad that popped up, completely ignoring the officially Social Security Administration website. They not only charged some bogus fee to their credit card but also gave up a lot of personal, identifying information in the process.

I warm transferred, as always. While I was in the process of introducing myself to the other rep, she said, "I'm having a really hard time hearing you," I said, "sorry, hold on," and suddenly I was completely logged off of my phone as I was reaching for the volume button. System error. Shit happens. I confirmed that the customer had transferred through and commented the account about my end disconnecting. If it had been just me and the customer speaking, I might get permission to call them back, but since 1) I have no way to get back into a 3-way conference call with the customer and that fraud rep, and 2) the whole purpose was to transfer the customer to fraud anyway, I moved on to my next call.

 A few minutes later I received an email from my "teammate" in the fraud department. This shit pissed me off so bad that I actually had to log off my phone and take an unauthorized break. I had to take a walk.

Basically, this bitch said, "While we here in the fraud department are happy to assist you and your department with your needs in verifying customers (No shit? Do not act like you're doing me a fucking favor when that is your job description!)...I do not appreciate the way you transferred that call...without giving me your name or your [employee code]...I asked you for the [employee code] but you weren't there and it was only the customer. Our [employee code] is private bank information which the customer is not supposed to be aware of (if you say so...). This created a very uncomfortable experience for me and the customer, and I feel it's very unprofessional to transfer a call like this..."

I thought of a few responses but decided to forward the message to my manager instead. "Not sure how to reply to this, I was disconnected due to a system error."

My manager knows that I am not a fucking idiot but I am a consummate professional so his answer was, "No reply needed." Now, I don't know if this means that he's going to handle it, or just telling me to calm the fuck down, but I don't need to defend myself against this bullshit. 

How fucking stupid do you have to be to not realize that the call got disconnected? I was literally in the middle of a sentence when I dropped off the call. If my intention had been to do a "blind" transfer, then I would have done a blind transfer, pure and simple!

I get enough shit from our asshole customers every day. I do not need to be lectured about professionalism from a "teammate." You are not my manager. Go fuck yourself.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Performance Problems

Well, I was right. I signed my written warning today. Despite repeated coaching, I have failed to meet expectations for performance standards.

I have shown consistent improvement, and that was acknowledged and praised, but it still falls short. I was asked what else management can do to help me succeed and I really didn't know what to say. They have already provided me with a ton of additional training, which I do make a concentrated effort to implement. I said that I feel like no matter how hard I try, it's not good enough, and maybe I'm just not cut out for this work.

The response from management was that they do not believe that to be true, that they feel like I know the job really well and have a lot of potential. They can see/hear how hard I'm trying. We just need to find the key to get past this barrier where my cash sales are not successful.

The problem is that I don't think there's anything else they can do to help me. The barrier that I'm facing is that I am afraid to talk to some of these customers. It gives me anxiety to have someone on the phone who is rude and nasty because they prefer the automated system and get pissed because they were transferred to a rep. My mind goes blank and I can't keep them on the phone to attempt a sale; sometimes I don't even try because I'm so scared they're going to flip out. Why do I even care? Good question.

If someone calls in with a problem, I'm good to go, even if they're yelling and angry. For some reason I'm okay with those calls because it's something I can solve and I like to fix things. But these people who are pissed because they'd rather talk to a robot? It's like my fight or flight response kicks in and I can't get them off the phone fast enough. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach.

I honestly feel like the only way I'm going to work through this is on my own. This isn't a bank problem or a training problem. This is a personal problem I need to get over.

I'm looking into herbal/holistic remedies for anxiety. I should probably meditate or something but I wouldn't even know where to start with that. I just need to figure something out that prevents me from getting so upset with these calls. The only way I can describe it is that it hurts my feelings, seriously. Like, why are you being so mean to me when I'm being so nice to you and I didn't do anything wrong?

I know, logically, that there is no reason why I should even care. I know that whatever irritation these customers are projecting is not directed at me personally and I will never speak to them again anyway. I wish I could just brush it off, but right now it really gets under my skin.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It was a scotch and water kind of day

So, today was the last day of the month. My last day to bring in some sales and make my quotas for June. Of course, it would have been nice if I hadn't had so many shit calls last week to cause me to be stressing out at the last minute...

I showed up to work this morning full of caffeine and good cheer and I was pumped! Ready to provide outstanding customer service with a smooth transition into sales!

And then I spent all day fielding calls from complete assholes who wants to argue with me about transaction fees as if I am personally responsible for setting the amount, or yell at me because they prefer the automated system, or flat out hang up on me while I'm trying to explain the benefits and features available on their brand-new account. I actually had a lady yell at me that she could not believe I wouldn't lower her APR...with an outstanding delinquency on the account. Fucking douche-nuggets and twat-waffles.

I can't even properly vent because I can't take the risk of revealing my place of employment; despite the fact that I left work in tears today, I really do like my job and would like to keep it. Unfortunately, with my low sales, I fully expect to receive a written warning for performance any day now. I got my verbal back at the end of April/beginning of May.

I'm just feeling so completely discouraged, like no matter how hard I try, maybe I am just not cut out for this sales bullshit. I don't even know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reason #5,621 Why I Could Never Work in Tech Support

Working in a call center has given me so much new-found respect for tech support. If we get a call about online banking and it's something "simple," we're supposed to talk the customer through the process. For example, if they just need to know how to set up a profile or where to click to get to Bill Pay or something like that. We're only supposed to transfer to Tech Support if they need to reset their password or something else we just don't have access to complete.

I spent over 40 minutes the other day helping a customer get to our main site page to log in.

A brief synopsis of our conversation:

Me: It sounds like you're looking at the results for a search engine page and not our main site. Can you make sure you've typed into the address bar?

SC: How do I do that?

Me: If you go to the top left-hand corner of your browser, there should be a long box you can type the address in.

SC: It just says Mozilla Firefox and then Yahoo but I can't type anything on it!

Me: How about below that?

SC: Below that it says File...Tools...etc...

Me: Is there a box below that line?

SC: Where it says http:// www .yahoo .com?

Me: Yes! That's the address bar. Ok, click on that, and type in

SC: Okaaay...and I leave the letters that are already there, right?

Me: No, no, no. Delete all of that. Delete everything, and type in www dot thebank dot com.

SC: Okaaayyy...

Me: OH! And make sure you don't have any spaces between the words. Just, "wwwDOTthebankDOTcom" with no spaces at all, ok?

SC: Ohhhkay...OH! There it is! Why did you guys change it?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tough Love

Why do people think that if they refuse to verify account information I'm just going to let that slide? Like if they yell at me or threaten to close their account I'll just suddenly bypass all of the government-regulated security measures and do whatever they want to the account?

This lady called in today who claimed to be the authorized user on the account. The phone number she was calling from was not on file for the account, so I have to ask a security question. I asked her for the DOB of the primary cardholder, which was 2/4/1956.*

"2/8/1956," she says. Keep in mind that the authorized user on this account is the WIFE of the primary cardholder. 

I asked her if she could verify the last 4 of his SSN. She cannot. As I'm reviewing the account to see what else I can use for verification, she blurts out his mother's maiden name.

Why oh why do people do this? I cannot accept any piece of information which is offered by a caller. So now we are down to virtually nothing that I can use for traditional security verification...and I haven't even asked her if she has the card to verify the CVV. If she doesn't have that, then I'll have to verify a non-traditional question as well.

She makes some comment about how she doesn't understand why I'm asking her so many questions when she already gave me his birthdate. I apologize and explain that it didn't match the DOB on file.

"2/4/1596?!" she exclaims.

"That is not what you told me earlier, ma'am," I deadpan. 

"Oh, I'm sorry! I'm just so nervous!" she's suddenly trying to be meek and mild. Please explain to me why the wife of a cardholder, who is herself authorized on the account, would have any reason to be nervous.

"I apologize for the delay, but I'm going to need to place you on a brief hold while I bring an associate on the line to assist me with the security verification." When I can't authenticate a customer I have to conference in someone from the fraud department, but of course I'm not telling her that. I just say I need assistance.

She gets very aggravated and informs me that she'll just have "him" deal with this later. Then she hangs up the phone. 

Whatevs, bitch. I take account security very seriously. Account documented and frozen for potential fraud. 

Then there was the alleged wife who was not authorized on the account and became so angry when I politely informed her that I could not perform account maintenance or release account information without speaking to the cardholder that she yelled, "That's fine! We'll just call back later and close this account, how about that!"

First of all, cuntmuffin, I don't know who this "we" is of which you speak. There is only one person listed on this account and he is not you. Secondly, if you think that I personally care whether or not your husband maintains a credit card with a $5000 limit, you have huffed too much paint thinner today. Zero fucks were given about this conversation, although I did comment the account that an unauthorized person attempted to get account information.

This is getting into TL;DR territory, but maybe tomorrow I will tell you the tale of the "cardholder" who was unable to verify her own DOB correctly...and told me that she would have to retrieve her tax records to give me her SSN. 

*Not his real DOB, in case you thought I was completely insane.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Technically Not Supportive

I had an experience today with a "coworker" that still has me shaking my head.

Customer calls in who is an authorized user on the account. I get her fully verified with no problems whatsoever. She explains that she had set up a direct deposit online and wanted to know how much longer it was going to take. There is no direct deposit on the account. I check the comments and can see that it was entered through online banking enough days ago that it should at least be showing up in a pending status. There are no notes following the initial request; nothing to indicate it had been rejected due to a bad checking account number or anything like that. 

After scouring the account for clues and coming up empty-handed, I place the customer on hold and call over to one of our tech support departments which specializes in this area. First, our lovely phone system kicked me over to deposits even though that associate confirmed I had dialed a completely different phone number. She was kind enough to transfer me directly to the correct department, and this is where the real fun began.

I explained to my "coworker" that I was trying to verify whether or not this direct deposit was going to be processed. As soon as he learned that I had the authorized user on the phone, and not the primary cardholder, he refused to give me any information. I am fully aware that our online banking support will not speak with authorized users, but I didn't need him to talk to her or process anything. I just need to find out the status of this transaction. We circle around for a minute before he finally agrees to check the account for me, as long as I agree not to reveal any of this information to the customer. Right, okay. 

Despite the fact that this individual works in online banking technical support, and the account comments are clearly stamped by OLB, he keeps asking me if I'm sure that there was a direct deposit processed online. FTR, he has access to the same system I use, which he confirmed and was allegedly using to review the account. Then he "informs" me that there have been a lot of problems for customers trying to process balance transfers and direct deposits online. O RLY? This is news to me. He says, "We really don't recommend that customers process those transactions online (bullshit!), because we have a special department that handles that. That's really who you need to talk to."

 "I happen to work in that department, and that transaction is not pending in the system. I need to know if it was cancelled before I can process a direct deposit for her over the phone." Technically, this is not true, but it is what was right for the customer. I didn't want both transactions to suddenly process at the same time, depleting their available credit and putting them in a position where they have to call back again try to have one or the other reversed.

After being placed on hold multiple times and experiencing further examples of this "coworker" trying to avoid doing any actual work, he comes back on the line and tells me that the direct deposit requested online was not going to be processed. "It looks like it backfired for some reason." I found his choice of words to be extremely odd. It backfired? Is this a new technical term with which I am unfamiliar? Because it sure as hell is not banking terminology! He can't give me any particular reason why itbackfired, either. Nothing wrong with the checking account information. It's just not going to go through.

Ultimately it all worked out for the best. I was able to process the direct deposit for the customer and ensure that they got the best promotional rate available. I was able to discuss the terms of the transaction and make sure everything was processed correctly. Thankfully the customer was very patient and understanding throughout, but I am still left wondering, "WTF?!" about the whole exchange!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Escalating a call for the right reason

I was talking to a customer the other day who had a lot of questions about her account and different services we offer. She was really nice, and kept apologizing for taking up so much time. I told her, "Don't worry, it's no trouble at all! We can take as much time as we need to get this sorted out."

Then as we're wrapping things up, she asked me for my name again and said, "When we're done I want to talk to your manager." 

I just said, "Oh...ok..." because I was thoroughly confused. I mean, I thought I was doing a good job and everything was going well! 

"I just want to let them know what a good job you do and how much I appreciate you taking the time to explain all of this to me. I know that when people have complaints, those certainly get heard, so I like to make sure to give compliments when I get good customer service!"

I couldn't believe it; I almost got teary-eyed. Definitely one of the best customers ever! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

We didn't take your money!

I took a call from a customer today who had paid off the balance on her credit card last month. During that same billing cycle, a second payment came through, which caused an overdraft on her checking account.

She had that checking account linked to this credit card for overdraft protection. $100 was charged to her credit card and the funds were transferred into her checking account to cover the overdraft.

She wanted the charges removed because "the account was already paid off. I really didn't think you guys would take a payment for an account with no balance!"

There are a number of things wrong with this argument:

  1. The account did, in fact, have an outstanding balance after the first payment had posted. She had paid the statement balance, not a payoff to include residual interest.
  2. That account balance had never been paid in full before and she never requested a payoff estimate. What reason would we have to assume that she was suddenly going to stop using this card?
  3. We did not "take" the second payment. She had her checking account set up to transfer a set amount of money to her credit card on the same day each month.
  4. $100 was transferred into her checking account. It was never returned to the credit card by deposits or paid back by the customer.
  5. The last associate she spoke with about this had already credited her account for the ODP transaction fee, as well as the interest she had been charged, as a courtesy.

Me: "Ma'am, that payment was not a debit from us. That was a monthly transfer that you set up with your checking account. You have to stop those transfers through your checking account."

SC: "I know but I don't understand why you didn't stop the transfers after I paid off the card! Why should I have to call someone about my checking account to stop payments to a card that's already paid off?!"

Me: "We don't have access to your checking account, and even if we did, we can't make those types of changes without your permission."

SC: "Well that just makes no sense! The Bank is The Bank; you should all have access to everything! This is just ridiculous that I have to call someone else about my checking account. You need to remove that $100 charge because that payment should never have been taken from my checking account in the first place to make it overdrawn!"

How about, no? The money was deposited into her checking account and she kept the money. And BTW, I really don't have access to checking or savings accounts, but I can see the account numbers and balances for verification purposes, and guess what? That $100 is gone.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I love feeling successful!

After a week filled with suck, I thought I would share something positive for once. I had an awesome day at work yesterday!

Saturdays are usually terrible. Everyone is in a hurry. They just want to activate their card or get their balance and get off the phone. They get upset that they even have to talk to a rep in the first place, so good luck getting a sale out of these people!

Yesterday, though, I had my game face on. I wasn't afraid to ask my customers probing, open-ended questions. I wasn't afraid to come right out and talk about external debt that showed up on their credit history. By the end of the day, I had 7 (seven!) balance transfers and direct deposits processed for a total of $32,000.

As I was getting ready to log off and go home, my phone system messed up and allowed another call to come through. Crap! Oh, well...

It was a woman calling to activate a card. This card had a credit limit of $25,000 with a zero balance. I flat-out asked her about balances she was carrying with other banks and she said, "Yes, and I do need to transfer some balances over to this card, but I don't have everything ready right now. I'm going to have to call back later when I have more time."

Oh, hell no. 

Because it wasn't a brand new card, the activation didn't come standard with a promotional balance transfer rate. However, we have special promos that we can attach to some accounts but they have to be activated during that phone call.

"I can process that for you in about two minutes and I can get you a lower rate."

"Well, what kind of rate are you talking about?"

"I can get you a promotion for this phone call that will give you zero interest until December 2014."

"...Hang on. Let me get my statements."

20 minutes later, I had processed three balance transfers onto her account for a grand total of $22,000. 

Total cash sales for the day: $54,000
Daily goal for my shift: $15,000

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dirty Liar and a Negative Survey

I answered a call on Monday from a woman who started screaming at me the moment she heard my voice. She was upset because the automated phone system didn't give her a menu option to make a payment and instead asked her to hold for a representative. Lucky me!

I apologized for the inconvenience and explained that I would be happy to process her payment; there is no additional charge for that service. Not good enough. She wants to know WHY. "WHY can't I make a payment through the automated system? WHY do I have to talk to YOU? WHAT is WRONG with your system? Is there a PROBLEM with my account that I need to know about? WHAT is the PROBLEM? WHAT is wrong with my account? WHY did I get transferred to YOU?!

There wasn't anything wrong with her account and there isn't anything wrong with our phone system. Sometimes, accounts are routed to a rep for any number of reasons. In my department, it's normally because they're considered to be a valuable customer because of their positive relationship with the bank. We're trying to give these people excellent customer service, but let's be for real: we know when they have outstanding debt with another bank. We want to transfer that balance over here, and we're willing to do it for 0% APR for up to 18 months.

But I digress. I couldn't get a word in edgewise with this nutcase. It was seriously unnerving to be screamed at like that for absolutely no reason. Did the bank mess up her account? Did we charge her a late fee? Lose her payment? No. She completely lost her shit, simply because the phone system routed her to me.

I finally said, "I don't know!" I did know, but fuck that. I was not about to try to make a sale with someone so unhinged. I just wanted to process her payment and end the call! "I don't know why the automated system didn't give you the menu option to make a payment. I don't have an answer for you. There is nothing wrong with your account. Would you like me to process your payment, or not?"

Suddenly she got very quiet and said yes. I took care of her payment and asked her if she had any other questions about her account. She said no like that was an insane question. I asked her if there was anything else I could help her with, and she answered no again. So I wished her a very nice day and she hung up the phone.

When I got to work today, I had an email from my manager. Guess who got a fucking survey?

That bitch gave me a 1 in every category. In the comment section, she claimed that she asked me several times why she got routed to a rep and I wouldn't answer her. She finally asked to speak to someone else. Then I admitted that I didn't know. "It was weird!"

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Her score brought my customer satisfaction average down to a 75%. I hope it burns when she pees!