Monday, December 15, 2008

Customer service and Wells Fargo

I think I worked with this guy

I spent a year in college working IT for McDonald's. Specifically, I took care of the in-store processor, the main computer that keeps track of things like sales, ingredients, inventory, payroll, scheduling, and in the past few years, credit card transactions. I dealt with every kind of customer: the ones who are panicking because their store can't open at 6 AM, the ones who want to yell at you because the issue they called about two days ago still isn't fixed, the ones who are calm despite not being able to take an order and the ones who are about to start crying because one of the twelve registers stopped working.

I learned a few things from this job:
  • New Yorkers are the most high stress people. If one thing goes down in their store, no matter how minor, you will be yelled at, mostly because they're being yelled at by customers.
  • Hawaiians are the exact opposite. Even when they have priority 1 issues -- the literal "store cannot operate" kind of problems -- they're relaxed, calm, and never mind waiting 20 minutes. Half the time they'd be the ones causing the delay because they'd stop to talk to someone. They just don't rush. I liked them.
  • Yelling at a tech support or customer service rep will get you no where. It's not their fault that your stuff is broken or isn't working and yelling at them as if it were there fault will only make their day suck more than it already does. Chances are it'll also make them annoyed with you to the point where they'll just try to get rid of you as fast as possible even if your issue isn't resolved.
  • If you're friendly with the other person and let them know what's wrong in a calm manner, they're far more willing and happy to help you. People who were nice, who explained their issues in detail, who were patient, who let me know that even if they were upset it wasn't at me and that they were grateful I was helping them and who sincerely said thank you at the end are people who make me happy to be at my job. They're rare to find, but when you get them, they make your day so much better because they remind you that you're actually helping people.

XKCD has a comic for everything

It comes down to the saying "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." While I can't speak for the aphorism exactly -- different sites claim different things online; it seems that distilled white vinegar repels flies while balsamic reportedly attracts them -- the intention is true. If you're friendly with someone you're more likely to get your way than if you're harsh and angry. Working in IT and having worked phone support, I can attest to that completely.

This ties into what happened to me last week. I didn't get paid on Thursday. I don't know why, but I didn't. I called my supervisor and he said my time sheet was submitted on time and properly, but for some reason payroll didn't get it. Because I didn't get the paycheck I was expecting, the bills I was going to pay overdrew my account.

Fees hurt

And then the gas I bought did that. And then the lunch, the groceries, the book, and the game did so as well. In short, I ended up in the hole and with about five overdraft fees.

I know I should be more fiscally responsible and not cut it so close every two weeks, but I do. I'm working on not doing so, but there are times when I still do. This was one of those times. And it came back to bite me.

I spoke with my payroll about this and they claimed that since they didn't get my time sheet it's not their fault and so they're not responsible for these overdrafts. I called my bank and they said it's my companies responsibility and not theirs. The best they could do was return half the fees. Half a penalty is better than a whole penalty so I accepted this. I spoke with my supervisor some more and some friends and they said that if the company isn't going to cover it I should ask my bank again. So I called them back again. This was about the third time in two days.

The nice guy I spoke with said that they can refund the penalty fees because it was a direct deposit issue but that I need to get the paycheck in first before they'll return the fees. This was great news. All I needed was my paycheck and that was being sent to me overnight.

Deposits feel good

Saturday morning I got my paycheck, deposited it, and the called the bank. A nice girl named Michelle helped me and said that unfortunately since I had half the fees refunded already they could no longer refund any more of them -- the system actually locked them out once the refund was given. The apologized and said she was sorry that she couldn't return the whole amount, that she understood what happened but that she actually could not do so. I thanked her for her efforts and for trying and hung up.

A friend of mine mentioned that I was too nice and that I should have demanded that I get my money back. While it's not a critical amount of money I lost due to overdraft fees, I did want it back since it amounted to roughly 10% of my paycheck. That can make a difference, especially when you're paying bills. I called Wells Fargo again (fourth time) and asked to speak to a supervisor this time, making sure to explain to the rep I'm not upset with him or with my service but would just like to speak to someone who might be able to help me because I was told the reps could not. He said thanks for letting him know and transferred me to his supervisor. I began by telling him that I was happy with the service I've received from Wells Fargo in the past and that the reps I've spoken with have all been very helpful but that I wanted to see if he could help me. I explained my situation calmly to the supervisor, said that I understand the fees had been locked and that they couldn't be reversed and then asked if there was some way they could simply credit my account.

Refunded in full

I told him I know it's not required by them and that I was simply asking for a small token of kindness during the holidays from a bank I've always been happy to be with. When I finished speaking he asked me to hold on a few seconds. He said he looked over my account while I was talking to him and he understands that these things happen, then said he just submitted the paperwork for my account to be credited for the full amount of the penalty fees and that it would post to on Monday.

Thank you, Wells Fargo

I told him thank you and asked that each rep I had spoken with be commended for helping me out and being as sympathetic as they were. I know it was in many ways my fault. As I said, I should be more careful with my finances so that I don't scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get by. I know that. I learned that and I'm not going to let it happen again. Still, I'm very happy with Wells Fargo and their customer service: they were happy to help me and I was happy to work with them. It wasn't always fun, but they were always helpful, even when they couldn't actually do anything.

No comments: