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! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I would not take your financial advice!

I took a call one day from an elderly customer. Very sweet woman. After I got her security info verified, she asked me if she could put her financial adviser on the phone because she didn't understand her accounts and he was helping her get her finances sorted. I asked her if she was giving me permission to speak to this person about her account information (we're required to get verbal confirmation if said individual isn't listed on the account) and she said yes, so I gave the go-ahead.

This guy gets on the phone and instantly I do not like him. He has that sort of smarmy attitude that just gets on my nerves. It's also pretty clear that he's a shitty financial adviser. I can understand asking for clarification about something specific to this account, but this jerk didn't even have a basic understanding of credit reporting, interest rates/APRs, or bank lending practices. He was asking me to do things with her account that are prohibited by federal banking regulations! We went around in circles because he could not grasp that this is not a "bank policy" or a lack of authority on my part; it's against the law! 

Another one was a customer who called in to request a credit line increase. He was also very cocky and insulted that we had only offered him a credit line of $5000. He claimed to have cards with other banks that had limits of $20,000 or more. His stated occupation was also Financial Adviser, working for a very well-known firm for ~25 years IIRC. His request was not approved.  

Upon checking his account history, I saw that he's paid over 30 days late on this credit card over a dozen times, and over 60 days late multiple times as well!