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.