Friday, January 11, 2013

Did I stutter?

This is a typical phone call in Card Services:

"Thank you for calling Card Services, this is Headset. May I have your name please?"

"John Doe."

"How are you today, Mr. Doe?"

"Fine." Nine times out of ten, this is said in a tone which indicates that my question is somehow offensive. One customer out of ten will return the pleasantry by asking me how I'm doing.

"That's great...and what are the last four digits of the card you're calling about?"

"1 2 3 4," usually accompanied by one of those huffy sighs that lets me know what a huge inconvenience this is. 

This is where it gets fun! After I match your name with that account number, I still need to verify your identity. If you're calling from a phone number associated with your account, that's verification #1 right there. If you can give me the card's expiration date and CVV (security code), we're good to go.

However...if the phone number doesn't match, I'm gonna need your date of birth, mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your social. 

After that, I still need you to verify the expiration date and security code.

When I ask you, "Do you have that card available?" the last thing I want to hear is:

"Ugh! I have my statement right in front of me!" This is always said in that condescending tone of voice that's supposed to make me feel like a complete idiot for asking such a stupid question.

First of all, lose the fucking attitude. I'm just doing my job, and verifying your identity is a pretty big deal in the banking industry. I don't know what kind of rock you've been living under to not understand what a huge problem identity theft has become in the US, but I kind of wish you'd crawl back under it.

When you snap at me that you're looking at your statement (always with that snotty attitude like I just asked you the most ridiculous question you've ever heard because I should know that you just read the last four digits of your account number off of the bill!) it is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

I don't give a fuck about your statement! Did I say anything about your statement? Did I stutter?  Shit, maybe I did stutter...

That's okay, though, because I am a true professional.

"Mr. Doe, I see that you're calling from a telephone number we have on file, so I only need to verify one more piece of information for the security of your account. One moment, please..."

If you don't have the card to read off the security code, I have to verify something else. There are a whole list of items that we can accept, and FYI, your full social security number is not one of them. These are things that the average thief would not be able to identify if they had stolen your wallet.

Except, people are paranoid that the bank is going to sell their information and spam their inbox, so 9 times out of 10 there is no additional information on file.

"I just want to make my payment!"

"I'm happy to assist you with that, sir. I just need to verify that you're authorized on this account first. If you're not able to provide the expiration date and security code on the card, I have to ask you an additional security question."

Down the list of possibilities we go, with nothing that I can verify because you're too fucking paranoid to give us your email address or attach your cell phone number to your account. What do you think I'm going to do, send you a text message at midnight?

I'm only allowed to ask you three questions before I am required to transfer your call to the fraud department because you are now a "suspicious caller." I'm not allowed to tell you that I'm calling fraud, though, so I have to say something like, "I apologize for the delay, Mr. Doe, but I'm having some difficulty accessing your account. Can you please hold for a moment while I get some assistance?"

"Ugh, fine! I can get the card. It's upstairs in my wallet!"

FUCK. YOU. You lazy mother-fucker. Actually, I don't even give a shit about you being too lazy to walk across the room and get your fucking credit card. If you'd rather answer security questions, I have no problem with that. What pisses me off is the fact that you just spent three minutes acting like a cunt because you think you're fucking special and shouldn't have to verify your identity.

Oh, you're special, all right. You are a special kind of asshole.

Also, I dare you to hang up on me during the verification process. I wish you would. It takes me 30 seconds to put a fraud alert on your account. Let's see how special you feel when your credit card is declined.

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