Listen To The (In)Voice Of Reason

, , , , , | Right | September 3, 2019

(Part of my job is going to customers’ offices to have invoices countered. This particular run, my manager is heading to the banks near a customer, so he offers me a ride. Since I usually just take a minute, he waits in the car while I go into the office. This happens after I’ve submitted the invoice for countering.)

Customer: “Your invoice is wrong. I’m not signing it until you fix it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. What’s the matter?”

Customer: “Your price for [product] is too high. We’ve never paid that much.”

Me: “Oh, I’m really sorry about that. I’ll take it back to the office and have it corrected.”

Customer: “No, don’t bother. Just change the price there and I’ll sign it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t have the authority to do that. Only one of the people who signed off on the invoice can correct it, and it’d need to be countersigned.”

Customer: “Okay, go. It’s your problem if this is late.”

(I take the invoice and go back to my waiting manager. When he asks me how it went, I tell him the customer refused the invoice because the price is wrong. He checks the price and says it is correct, and that he was the one who informed this particular customer that there was a price hike. He takes the invoice and tells me to come with him back to the customer.)

Manager: “Ma’am, my assistant here tells me you have a problem with the price. I have to tell you that this price is correct. We changed it last December, and I told you about it right away.”

Customer: “No, you didn’t. We’ve always paid [price] for [product].”

Manager: “You did until last December. Ma’am, this isn’t even the first invoice we’ve issued at this price. Your order last January was at this price, and you signed the invoice then.”

Customer: “No, I don’t think so. We’ve been ordering [product] from you at [price] for years.”

Manager: “Yes, ma’am, you have. That’s why I informed you of the price increase last December and asked if it was okay.”

Customer: “I never heard about a price increase.”

Manager: “Ma’am, I can show you our text exchange on my phone. If you have a minute, I can even call the office and get them to send me a picture of the last invoice, which you countersigned. The price is correct.”

(My manager and the customer get into an argument because the customer refuses to accept that she was informed of the price increase. When my manager shows her the text exchange in which she was informed of the new price and even confirmed it, she insists she be given the old price for just this order, insisting her loyalty means they deserve a discount. My manager stands his ground, giving all the reasons the price went up and even insisting that the customer’s loyalty is the only reason it didn’t go up more. She finally decides that if that’s the case, she doesn’t want the goods anymore and demands we take them back, which we cannot do because the goods are at their warehouse, not office, and we would have to schedule the delivery team to do it. The whole thing would also require approval from the sales director, who probably wouldn’t give it because of the size of the order. She finally angrily signs the invoice, but of course, has to give the classic:)

Customer: “Just so you know, we’re not ordering from you again. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Manager: *smiles acidly* “Ma’am, given how small your orders are, I really don’t care. We’ll be back for your last check, then.”

Customer: “I’m not paying!”

Manager: “Then our lawyers will be in touch.”

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