Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Just because it's been so long - Or why the numbers are driving me insane

There have been questions asked as to why we have not updated in awhile. Well, the answer is simple. Beth recently got promoted to Supervisor (yay, Beth!) and is no longer taking escalated calls. I am still in the same job and, while I do run into the occasional moron, the calls aren't that interesting. However, yesterday I got three calls in a row that made me want to scream "Is everyone an idiot?"

You all strike me as reasonable, intelligent people. So, when I explain that we have an automated system that asks you to enter your account number or social security number into the phone and that information will be displayed on my phone when I answer your call, you get that, right? Please don't make me get technical. I'm bad with technical descriptions of any kind.

The rest of the world doesn't seem to get it. Here are my calls in no particular order.

I know it's been awhile but the things I say in my head or while pressing the mute button are in italics. All numbers entered are not real account or social security numbers.

The phone rings. I look at my screen, fingers poised over the keyboard to enter in the number I see displayed. It is neither long enough to be an account or social security number.

DM (That's me!): Thank you for calling Stock Transfer Services. This is Dana. How may I help you?
Jerk who Annoyed me Rapidly (JAR (Hey. It's my acronym and I'll shorten it if I want to. You would shorten it too if it happened to you)): Why did I get this letter?
DM: I'd be happy to help you with that, sir. I am showing you entered in the number 2657843 (fake number, not that it would do anything).
JAR: What is that?
DM: I'm not sure, sir. You're the one that entered the number in (Moron).

Mr. JAR then launches into a five minute tirade about how all the people that I work with are idiots because he filled out his forms incorrectly. Yes, sir. You are absolutely right. We should process things the way you want and not follow the guidelines of the Stock Transfer Association. Why, the fact that we could end up with huge fines is silly. You are so brilliant by calling me stupid. Thank you.

I am finally able to convince Mr. JAR that he would be better off following our instructions then submitting his information incorrectly over and over again and having it rejected each time.

The next call I took was from a little old lady. Again, there was information entered in on the phone.

DM: Thank you for calling, etc.
Little Old Lady (LOL): I need information on selling my stock.
DM: Okay, I'd be happy to help you with that. I am showing you entered in account number 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (raising my voice): I am showing you entered in account number 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (practically yelling into the phone while my coworkers laugh): 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (Hit mute button. Sigh deeply): May I have your account number please?
LOL: I entered it in. Didn't you get it?

Needless to say, this call was an exercise in frustration.

The last call was from a woman whose shares had become escheated. To put this as simply as possible, escheatment means that you had shares, we lost contact with you (9 out of 10 times this is because you moved and didn't bother to give us your new address) and we are required, after a long time frame (typically at least a year), to send the shares to the state.

DM: Thank you for calling, blah blah blah blah blah.
Save Our Shares (SOS): I have old shares for Small Bank that went through a name change and merger and I need to convert them to Large Bank shares but they are held with the state. How do I do that?
DM: If the shares are held with the state, you would need to have them issued in your name again and then contact us to do the exchange. I'm showing you entered in 123-45-6789 (it looked like a social security number) but I'm not pulling up anything.
SOS: That's my checking account number with Large Bank.
DM: Your checking account number.
SOS: Yes. Do you have my account information?
DM: No. Could I please have your social security number?

Why, why, WHY would you call a stock transfer department about stock and enter in your checking account number? How does that make any sense at all?

Anyway, when I get three calls in a row from three morons, I know that it's a sign. Thanks for reading and for your patience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What the heck is with all of these crazy people?

Going through the account and I found that I never published this call. I have no idea what the other calls were about, I only wrote about the one. This post was started on October 1, 2004. Hmm. Not quite a year.

Anyway, sorry we haven't updated in awhile. Beth recently got promoted to a Supervisor (Yay Beth!) and doesn't take escalated calls anymore. And, while I occasionally get a crazy person or two, they aren't that interesting, just insane. Hopefully we'll have more calls in the future. And hey, tax season is less than 3 months away. Oh, my God.

Okay, yesterday was my last day taking escalated calls at NABABNA. It seemed like the powers that be wanted to really reinforce my decision to leave this glamorous job where people screamed at me a lot was a good one because, in the four hours I was scheduled on the phones, I got some of the oddest calls.

I think I took a total of 15 calls. At least 9 of them were escalated. I'm not going to list them all, not all of them were that odd but there were a few that made me want to reach through the phone and stab all of these people with a fork.

Let's visit the madness, shall we? And again, what I'm thinking or what I think the customer is thinking is in italics.

Website Woes

DM: Help Desk, this is Dana, how can I help you?
Babbling Banker (BB): This customer is driving me crazy, they won't shut up and listen to me talk. I'm the star here! I am! I'm trying to explain this procedure to him and he just doesn't get it (She outlines the procedure she is talking about. She's wrong).
DM: Oh, okay. I'd be happy to help you with that. You idiot. Look in your manual. It's right there (I explain what she needs to do).
BB: (Dead silence)
DM: Was there anything else I can help you with?
BB: Well, yeah, he wants to talk to my supervisor. Duh.
DM: Ah. I'm sorry, you didn't mention this was an escalated call.
BB: Yeah, I did. Bitch.
DM: No, BB, I'm sorry. You did not. You said you were trying to explain the procedure to him. I would be happy to take the call but would you be willing to, in the future, let us know right away that it's an escalated call? Otherwise we think you're asking us how you should handle the call and don't realize the customer is holding for a supervisor.
BB: Fine. I'll do that. Can I bring him on the line? You bitch! How dare you talk to me like that. I'm the star here!

She brings the customer on the line, I introduce myself.

DM: I understand you have some questions about overdraft fees.
Internet Genius (IG): No. I have questions about why your online banking site. I checked this site at 10:00 PM, right before I went to bed and I had money in my account. Now I am overdrawn. How is this possible? Your site is wrong. This is horrible.
DM: I'm sorry you feel that way, sir. Are you referring to the fact that you did not see check #123 on your account yesterday?
IG: Yes. Why couldn't I see that item? You people! Ripping me off! Monetary Money!
DM: I'd be happy to explain this to you. The reason you could not see this item is because it is a check. The online website will show you any electronic item that is coming through your account. It will not show you paper items until we finish processing them.
IG: You haven't finished processing by 10 PM? How slow is that?
DM: Actually, sir, you wouldn't be able to see paper items until the following day, after our systems have completed updating.
IG: I checked at 10 PM! That's really late!
DM: I understand that, sir. However, as I said, our systems do not update until the following day.
IG: So you're saying that this item came through today.
DM: No. It came in on yesterday's business.
IG: What time? Before 10 PM? I checked at 10 PM!
DM: I realize that, sir. However, our system does not update until the following day. My God, how many times do I need to explain this to you?

I'll tell you how many times I had to explain it to him. 5 times. 5. Five. He did not get it. At all. I finally, in a fit of frustration, said "Look. You're a good customer. You're upset about the fee. I understand that. You made a mistake. It happens. You didn't have the money in your account for all of your purchases, including this check. You probably wrote something down wrong. Or added wrong. Whatever. But don't blame this on our website. Don't accuse us of stealing your money. We can't update our system everytime something comes through your account. It wouldn't work. We'd have to charge you a $100 a day just for having an account with all the extra processing we would do. Okay? Dude? Do you understand me? Just keep better track of your account and Life will be Good again." Okay. I didn't exactly say that. But I was pretty damn close to it. I used a much more customer friendly version of the above speech and reversed his fee. Because he was a good customer and he finally realized that he couldn't blame us for his mistake.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What's Your Name, Little Girl?

My name is Dana. Dana. D. A. N. A. It’s not that difficult. But apparently, no one can it straight. Here’s my conversation today with a stock owner that was completely in love with the sound of his voice. He would not let me get a word in edgewise.

DM: Thank you for calling Shareholder Relations, this is Dana. How many I help you?
Mr. I Love Me (ILM): Xana?
DM: No. Dana.
ILM: Zana?
DM: No. Day. Nuh. D. A. N. A.
ILM: Oh. Jana.
DM: No. D as in David. A. N. A.
ILM: Donna, I have been on hold for one full half hour. I have to let you know that this is very disturbing and I am very upset about this. I should not have to wait this long.
DM: I am sorry about the hold, sir, this is…
ILM: Donna, don’t apologize, it’s not your fault. I’m not angry with you, Donna.
DM: Sir, my name is Dana (Now, I will pretty much answer to anything that starts with a D but it’s important that I make sure he knows my correct name in case my call is being monitored).
ILM: Donna, I want to make sure I let you know, because I know this call is being monitored, how upset I am that I held so long. This call is being monitored, correct? You can confirm that, Donna? Will you confirm that?
DM: Yes, sir, I can confirm that. Sir, my name is Dana.
ILM: Anyway, Donna, I am very upset. I am calling because I want to find out some information and it is ridiculous that I should have to hold this long. Donna, I am letting you know this because I want someone to hear me say this on this recorded line. You will confirm that this is a recorded line, right, Donna?
DM: Yes. Sir, my name is Dana.
ILM: It is hard to believe that in this day and age I should have to hold this long. Donna, I want to tell you this because I want a supervisor to hear this on the recorded line.
DM: Yes, sir, the line is recorded. My name is Dana. Not Donna.
ILM: Donna?
DM: No. Dana. D as in David. A as in Apple. N as in Nancy. A as in Apple.
ILM: Oh, Dana. Okay (You know that tone people use when something has finally sunk in? That’s the tone he used. Sort of an “Eureka, I’ve got it.” Which makes, of course, what he said next even more amusing). Donna, the reason I’m calling is because I had a question about my 1099 forms. These are tax forms. Are you aware of what a 1099 form is, Donna (Since he has acknowledged my name, I’m not going to try to get him to call me Dana. I have given him my correct name)
DM: Yes, sir, I am. If you could provide me with your account or social security number, I could…
ILM: A 1099 form is provided when there are dividends paid.
DM: Yes, sir, I know that. If you could…
ILM: I did not receive my 1099 form, Donna. I need to have one sent to me.
DM: Yes, sir. I will be happy to help you with that if you could…
ILM: Do you have my account pulled up, Donna?
DM: No, sir, I don’t. If I could have your…
ILM: I’m sorry. Your name is Dana, isn’t it?
DM: Yes, sir…
ILM: That was very rude of me, Dana. I apologize.
DM: That’s fine, sir. May I have your…
ILM: Why do you not have my account pulled up yet?
DM: Sir, I would be happy to help you, if I could just get your account or social security number.
ILM: Of course. It is 123-45-6789.
DM: Thank you.
ILM: Now, Donna, I would like to know why I did not receive my 1099 form.
DM: May I have your name…
ILM: It is very important that I receive a 1099 form. I need to pay taxes. Are you aware of the importance of paying your taxes, Donna?
DM: Yes, sir. If I could have…
ILM: Oh, I’m sorry. Your name is Dana.

I spent well over an hour with this man. It took me over 15 minutes to get him to shut up long enough to identify him. The reason he didn’t get his 1099 was because he did not change his address with us. It took me another 15 minutes to change his address. The remaining half hour was spent listening to him routinely call me Donna and then realize my name was Dana and apologize for calling me Donna. Then he would call me Donna all over again. I also got to hear about his grandchildren, his view on politics and how he was having health problems.

All I have to say is thank God tax season is over. This year. Not looking forward to next year. The main call center gets the weirdos every month on the nights of a full moon. We get them from February 1st-April 15th.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I Can Explain...

You know it's been an odd evening at work when six of the nine bankers ask you, "Is it a full moon?" I've been working at the NABABNA call center for over five years and spent many a Saturday night scratching my head in wonder, but this past Saturday night is one I'll remember. I've taken the calls from customers who couldn't withdraw money from an ATM because they were too intoxicated to realize the card has to at least touch the machine to work. I've dealt with men calling and working their arm muscles while talking to a sweet, young female voice on our end of a toll-free number. Fraud cases and scams? Don't get me started. I've dealt with racial slurs, far-fetched stories from employees about their tardiness, people showing up inebriated, and witnessed violent threats being made from customers AND bankers. But this past Saturday night, I felt like I entered the Twilight Zone.

At the end of the evening, as I typically do on Saturday nights, I drafted an email to my supervisor. It's usually just an FYI about a call he might hear about or to let him know that a banker may ask him about a situation. He doesn't require the emails and I don't send them every week. It's just if he should know about something. Here, I'd like to try and recreate the email:

To: The Boss Man
From: Beth (Shaking her head in amusement)
Date: Psychedelic Saturday
Re: Just an FYI about the State Troopers

Hi Boss Man,

If anyone happens to ask about why two state troopers showed up in the call center tonight, I can explain.


Tonight I had Jason sitting with our new banker, Ivan. The peer coaching was going well, Jason and Ivan had a lot to talk about and Ivan definitely learned a few new sales techniques and became more comfortable with the system. Everything was going along fine, until I heard the giggle.

Sometimes, I wonder if this job is preparing me for motherhood. I don't know if you can relate, but do you ever find yourself noticing the different sounds people make? Well, Jason's giggle? It wasn't his normal laughter. This was my first clue something was wrong. I asked the guys, "What did you boys do?" They both looked guilty. That's the only way I can explain it.

As it turns out, Ivan was trying to transfer a customer to the foreign language assistance line. He got an outside line at Jason's instruction and then started to dial the phone number. You know, the whole 9-1. Then Ivan asked Jason for the phone number. Jason, of course giving correct information at all times, told him, "1-800-xxx-xxxx."

Do you see where this is going? Well, you're right. Ivan managed to dial "9-1-1." When the operator picked up and said, "9-1-1 Emergency," his natural reaction, being a foreigner and not used to our emergency assistance line, was to disconnect the call.

Yes, he managed to unintentionally prank the police on a Saturday night.

Within ten minutes, two state troopers arrived inside our call center with the security guard from downstairs. Since we're in a call center, the operator couldn't call back and get the banker who dialed. Let's just say the policemen were not happy. I had been on the lookout for some type of response (and their response time was pretty good! I have to give them that). I met them halfway and explained that a new banker had misdialed the phone. Then I had to explain that he was a foreigner and not aware that disconnecting the call was a poor choice. They left without too much problem.

Ivan learned tonight what to do if he ever calls 9-1-1 again.

Throw in an obscene phone call to a male banker (there's a first), the Canadian lottery scam call another banker took, random objects humming throughout the building, Murtle the ghost who resides in the female bathroom, and the escalated call from the "lawyer" who told me, "You ain't got any right to do what you done," and you've got an interesting Saturday night at NABABNA.

I'll see you Tuesday!

Your still smiling and puzzled team lead,


Sunday, March 06, 2005

And now for something completely different

Okay, I deliberated between putting my most recent post here on Moron Mouth or on my regular blog, Green Duckies and other tales of Dana. My regular blog won the fight (and believe me, they really did duke it out. And moron mouth called green duckies all these names and cried because it didn't win and since it's now sulking, that's why I'm doing my own guest blogging. Yeah. I'm bizarre like that) because while this is a post about idiotic people, it's not quite moron mouth material. The people mentioned in this post are not customers exactly.

I am going to warn you right now, this is not really a post for the squeamish. There are swear words and odd phrases and really sick individuals. And when I say sick, I mean they are perverted, not in a hospital.

Anyway, here you go. I'd like it if you would check it out. And please, leave us a comment.

Is that a salami in your pocket or are you just glad to hear me?

We are always looking for guest bloggers as well so if you've got a good customer service story or oh, my God, I cannot believe that idiot before me in line at the grocery store, send it our way.

The email address is

Friday, February 11, 2005

Welcome to Tax Season AKA Hell

Okay, I had to share this with you all. Today was somewhat busy, not too major. Friday's are usually a little bit slower than the rest of the week. Mondays are hell. Everyone is cranky because they've been holding forever (well, they think it's forever. It's more like 20 minutes or so) and dammit, why can't we give them their cost basis?

I've mentioned this before - I work for NABABNA's Stock Transfer Department. It's a nice job and I enjoy it but I have finally realized that there is something out there that may be just as horrible as overdraft calls. I couldn't believe it but it's true. No, seriously.

Imagine, if you will, that you hold stock with a company. We'll say it's Big Business. Well, Big Business doesn't want to keep track of all the people that hold stock so they hire a company to take care of it for them. A transfer agent, if you will. So you have stock and occasionally, you'll get a statement whenever a transaction takes place. Here is an example of what the statement might say.


John F and Mary J Doe JT TEN
111 Don't Have A Clue Drive
Idiotsville, CA 11111

Company of Stock - Big Business

12/11/04 - Purchase of Stock - $500.00 - Number of shares - 5.25

Okay, it's rough but you get the idea, right?

So what do you do if you are John and Mary Doe? You've been getting these statements since 1953, when you first started investing in Teeny Tiny Business which merged with Small Business and changed their name to Somewhat Larger Business and then had a reverse split and spun off Miniscule Business and then took over Little Business and changed their name to Big Business. Well, you throw them away, of course! Why would you keep those statements?

A smart investor knows why you keep these statements. That is because they read the information on the top of the statement in the bold letters that said:


So stock holders go to their tax consultant or try to file their taxes at home and they've been calling us. Calling us until we want to just cry when the battle cry sounds "What's my cost basis?" Because we know we're in for a fight when we explain that a) we're a transfer agent and as a transfer agent we are responsible for providing records and not tax advice and b) hey, guess what, there's going to be a charge for those statements you blithely threw away, 10 or 15 dollars a year. People don't like that. So most of my calls have been people screaming at me. Nothing really exciting. Just "why can't you give me this information?" and "I think the company is responsible for figuring this information out (because yeah, it's in the prospectus that we're going to do your taxes for you. What universe are you living in? I know it's not the one I'm the Queen of)."

But today, I got a call that made me laugh. And I told Keem, who was also having a crappy day and she laughed. So I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy. As always, my comments are in italics.

DM (Me): Thank you for calling Stock Transfer Services. This is Dana. How may I help you?
Little Old Lady (LOL): This is Blahdey Blah Blah (She says this very fast. I can't understand her name at all). Do you need my Social Security Number?
DM: That would be great.

The next thing I hear is, you guessed it, beeps. You may remember the post I did about when old people and automated systems meet.

LOL: Beep boop beep (as she keys in her social security number).
DM: Ma'am. Ma'am, if you enter...
LOL: Bahp beep boap (keeps going. Can't hear me).
DM: (Sighs deeply)
LOL: Beepbeeeeeeep Beep.
DM: Ma'am? I'm sorry but if you enter your Social Security Number into the phone when you're talking to me, I won't receive the information. Would you please provide me with the number?
LOL: Okay.

There is a slight pause. I hear some rustling.

LOL: 4.

I wait for her to continue. There is more rustling. As Keem said, when I was telling her in the car, "Wait! She just entered it into the phone! Did she lose it that quickly?"

There is a long pause. Did she die? What happened to her?

DM: Ma'am?
LOL: Yes?
DM: You were going to give me your Social Security Number.
LOL (indignant): I DID give it to you.
DM: Nooooo, you gave me the number 4.
LOL: Fine. 123-45-6789.

You can see that 4 and her SSN had nothing in common. Oh, except for that one number!

Just a normal day in Hell. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I might be getting a little jaded...

The lack of customer service stories on this site (at least from me) has to do with the fact that most of my calls are starting to all sound the same. I'm starting to wish for calls from customers with crazy situations.

Believe me, when you tell me that you can't afford to buy diapers for your two-year old and I can see that you're overdrawn because of ATM withdrawals at casinos, strip clubs, and liquor stores, I don't have any sympathy left. I'd be much more sympathetic if you told me the aliens landed and you had to show them a good time or they would abduct your two-year old and that's why you're overdrawn (again). Be creative! If you make us laugh, we might give you a fee or two back. At least it makes it more interesting. If you're going to lie, don't tell the same lie everyone tells ("It's not my fault I spent money I didn't have because your bank is just evil.")

We're not evil. Get a life. We're a bank. We manage accounts for customers. If you want the accessibility of using a debit card to make purchases and withdraw funds and you want to write checks, pay attention to how much money you have. It's not rocket science. It's simple math. There's not even long-division involved!

So tonight I spoke to Mr. Trying-to-Beat-the-Bank (TBB). Here's the highlights of the call:

B (that's me!): Thanks for holding Mr. TBB. My name is Beth and I understand you want to discuss your overdraft fee.
TBB: I can't be overdrawn! I deposited money.
B: I'd be happy to look into this. I see a deposit for today for $100. Is that what you're referring to?
TBB: Yes. I had the money in there.
B: But you made the purchase three days ago.
TBB: But the deposit was a money order.
B: Okay. The negotiability of the item does not change the fact the purchase cleared your account before you put the money in there.
TBB: I've never had this problem before.
B: Mr. TBB, you've been overdrawn 55 times in the last year.
TBB: So?
B: What happened in those situations?
TBB: YOUR bank decided to charge me when I made a deposit.
B: After the purchases?
TBB: That's not the point! The point is that I shouldn't be charged.
B: Mr. TBB, the idea of a deposit account is to have the funds in an account to cover your outstanding items so that when they clear, there's money for them.
TBB: I don't think that's right.
B: If you want an account that you can make the purchases and then pay for them later, that would be a credit account.
TBB: It's a bank error that I got charged. I put the money in there today! You shouldn't charge me.
B: Oh, good Lord. Do you agree with the whole concept of time moving in a forward direction?
TBB: Yes.
B: And you agree that Thursday, February 3 is BEFORE Tuesday, February 8?
TBB: Yes.
B: So it would stand to reason that if you made a purchase on last Thursday and didn't deposit the funds to cover it until today, the money was not in the account when you spent the funds?
TBB: Yes, but you need to reverse my fee.
B: No.
TBB: Why not?
B: You spent money before you had it. That's not our error.

This continues for awhile and he gets really mad. I may have been called some colorful names. Oh, the joys of customer service. He eventually realized I wasn't going to reverse his fee and hung up on me.