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Some Of You Have Worked In A Call Center And It Shows

, , , , , | Right | January 25, 2022

I work customer service for a credit card company. A customer calls, and I look him up and authorize him so I can help him.

Caller: “Yeah I just got my bill and it looks like I had a late fee from last month?”

That’s not a good start. Customers are never happy about fees or admit they did anything wrong to earn them, so I’m already a little apprehensive responding to him.

Me: “Yes, I see that. It appears you didn’t make a payment last month. Unfortunately, there is a fee of [amount] if a payment is not made for a given month.”

Caller: “Yeah, I know, it was my fault. Too disorganized to remember to make the payment like I usually do, sorry.”

Me: “Oh, I understand. That’s perfectly fine.”

Caller: “Anyway, I know it’s my fault, but you see, I’m a cheap b*****d and I’d prefer not to pay for my own incompetence anyway. Rather than me acting like a jerk about it, how about we save time and just pretend that I yelled and screamed and threatened to cancel my account while implying it was somehow your fault that I screwed up, and you somehow endured all my terrible behavior and, because they won’t let you tell me off as you would prefer, you end up promising to remove the fee as a courtesy because supposedly I’m a valued customer?”

Our policy is to allow removing one late fee a year if asked, so I can do that without needing a manager’s approval or escalating the call.

Me: “Oh, um… okay. I see you have reliably paid your account off in full every month for the last year, so I can make a one-time adjustment to remove that fee for you.”

Caller: “That would be great, thanks.”

Me: “The fee has been removed. Since you already made this month’s payment, the difference will be credited back to your account shortly. Anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “Yes, actually. I’m still cheap, so can I ask that you remove the interest I was charged for the month I forgot to send in the payment since I would have paid the amount off in full? Paying interest on a credit card is against my religion of Cheapeanity… honest!”

Again, our policy allows us to do this, as well, in this situation; obviously, we don’t volunteer to remove interest unless explicitly asked.

Me: “Yes, I can certainly do that for you, because, as you said, you are a valued customer.”

Caller: “That would be great. Thank you so much for your help.”

Me: “No, thank you for only pretending to yell and scream at me.”

Caller: “Yeah, I had a job like yours to pay for college. I figure you get enough screaming customers without my adding to the pile.”

Me: “Sadly, I do, yes, but it was a pleasure to help you. Is there anything else I could do to assist you?”

Caller: “Nope, I’m good, at least until I manage to forget to send in a payment next year. Luckily, I’m just barely organized enough to usually manage to go a year between forgotten payments so I can get them removed. I promise when I forget a payment and have to call in next year, while I pretend to yell at whoever answers the call, I’ll pretend to complain that they are less competent than you were.”

While I’m sure my company would prefer he didn’t understand our policy for removing late fees quite so well as to be able to exploit it like that, I’m personally just thankful he figured out you don’t actually have to curse at us to get things fixed. One can only hope more people can figure that out in the future.

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