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I'm sick of being stuck in the middle.
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:41 AM
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Default I'm sick of being stuck in the middle.

So yesterday I talked to the nicest lady whom I feel sorry for because today I talked to her boss. This guy owns a small investment firm so you figure he should be good with money. Nope. He has a credit balance on his credit line because for some unknown reason he throws extra money at that. Meanwhile his lease contract has a bunch of late fees.

I didn't used to believe it but now I realize one of our senior account managers is right: it actually is the customer's fault most of the time. We go to the trouble of printing remit stubs on invoices not for our amusement but for good reason. Payments are scanned into a computer and it reads the coding on the bottom to know exactly which account, division of our company, contract, and invoice to post the payment to. It says right on the invoice to include it. If you are not sending a check you don't need it. You can pay online at our website where you're signed in and it knows who you are. You can even do auto-pay.

But some customers want auto-pay at their bank and that works out OK for most of them even though in that scenario their bank does not present the remit stub to our bank's system. It will not work for this account because it's in California. The tax laws on leased equipment are different. The contracts are classified differently and they have a different electronic lock box at our bank. No, I don't know why and that's the extent of my knowledge. I just know it's true and that the coding for that is on the remit stub. I can visually pick out the number sequence for it. The customer's bank has no way to put that into whatever form they use nor on the check they send. (Some bill pay programs send paper checks which this guy's does and he was totally unaware.) The payments sit on account and don't apply right. Is it fair? I don't know, but it just IS.

Arguments from this guy I'd like to shoot down:

1. It's not his problem how payments are posted. We need to fix it. OK, he's half right. It's not his problem. However, it's our bank's software. This is how it works. We don't need to "fix" anything. He needs to either send in the remit stub, pay online, or pay over the phone. He has 3 choices which bring me to

2. He doesn't want auto-pay through our website because he doesn't want us taking the money from him and would rather his bank push money to us. Dude, either way your bank or credit card information ends up at our bank! It's the same thing, just a different method. And I never said that he had to set up automatic payments. He can do it manually. But he doesn't wanna.

3. He brought up that our company stock has gone down. That's neither here nor there. It's not relevant to his account. It's an insult to the company that I have to sit and listen to when I'm just trying to help.

4. I explained 4 times that the totals he's seeing in his online account will change as soon as there is an update. My invoicing system is real time. I told him how much he owes which isn't due yet and that the late fees I waived have to UPDATE. At one point I said "I just put them in literally 2 minutes ago..." Also understandably frustrating to him is he has a small credit on account but it's only visible to me. However, talking down to me about it is not appreciated. Try listening. to. what. I. am saying. I can see it. "It's right in front of me" I told him. I said he doesn't have access to it which made him mad. He will see it reflected when it's applied. Again, I did not choose the programs nor do I know how to make software do whatever it does. If I did I'd be making more money. People, you need to trust me if I'm going to help you. Not only that, but be aware if I were not an honest person I could wreak havoc in your account.

He did do that thing where they say "you're a nice lady" and "you're doing a good job" but it doesn't help. You still made me feel 3 inches tall. I've had people with really screwed up accounts who were so humble. They asked "What can I do to make this work better?" or have admitted they didn't follow the process correctly, are resolved to follow my advice going forward, and have apologized. I always reassure them that mistakes are understandable and that I'm happy things are getting fixed. I'm so full of grace for them. But today the empathy I expressed was half-hearted.

I even had a more irate lady right before him but she didn't make me feel the way he did. She was just frustrated about the situation and kind of yelling but once I advised her why these things were happening she was grateful for my help, eager to make payment, and resolved to follow my advice to prevent the issue from happening again. I was even wanting to waive her fees but she was ok with paying them. Such a difference. I wish she'd been my last call of the day.
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:45 PM
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Update: got an email from his assistant apologizing for his behavior. It made me cry. I feel bad for her.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:10 PM
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Old 06-28-2018, 02:21 AM
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Stuck in the middle with you...and I'm wondrin' what it is I should do...

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