Saturday, July 17, 2004

Pride and Prejudice for Morons

One of the things I love about working for NABABNA is that NABABNA embraces diversity.  It is wonderful to work for a company that:
  • gleefully offers health insurance to domestic partners, completely not caring if your domestic partner is of the same sex or the opposite sex of you (which, if you listen to the stupid, stupid man who is running our country, is completely wrong and we're probably all going to hell)
  • promotes on the basis of who the best person for the job is and pays everyone in the position the same wage, not promoting or paying based on race, gender or sexual preference
  • is heavily involved in community programs that benefit all people and will not contribute to community programs that exclude based on race, gender or sexual preference

As you can imagine, this sometimes draws fire from the, oh, how do I say this tactfully?  The absolute morons who think that they are better than everyone else and how dare we support anything that they personally feel is wrong?  Now, people, I don't have a problem with you believing what you want.  That's your right as an American.  However, that does not give you the order me to change my beliefs, it does not give you the right to suppress others because they are of a different race, gender or sexual preference than and it certainly does not give you the right to perform hate crimes against said others as well.

So, anyway, NABABNA has been involved in sponsoring Pride Festivals.  And there are people who don't like this.  Which is fine, I accept that they have a right to their opinion.  Just like I have the right to think that they are silly, narrow-minded people.  And if they don't want to bank at NABABNA because they don't like the fact that we support Pride, that's also fine.  Go ahead and leave.  Maybe you can find the local branch of the We Hate Everyone Who Isn't Us bank.

What I do have a problem with is when these people think that it would be a great idea to call and feed me their propaganda.  Here is a conversation that I had last month with a customer.  Or, I should say, soon to be ex-customer.  In order for you to get the true effect of the call, imagine that the words in italic parentheses are what he is actually saying.  So if he said "You people" his tone would indicate that he was placing us on the same level with (leperous dregs of society).

A banker calls up and tells me that he has a customer who wants to speak to a supervisor but won't say why.  This happens occasionally and so I ask the banker to transfer the customer.

DM:  Thank you for holding, sir.  My name is Dana and I'm a supervisor at NABABNA.  How may I help you?

Self-righteous idiot who is going to annoy me very much (SRI for short):  Yes.  I was driving through Name of City yesterday and I saw that they were having a Pride Festival (Ritual Slaying of Small Children).  And then I saw representatives from NABABNA (representatives of SATAN) had a booth there.  This is disgusting.

DM:  Well, sir, NABABNA prides itself on it's diversity (yes, I said pride.  Yes, I did it on purpose to indicate that I thought he was a narrow-minded bigot and I now hated him with a fiery passion) and...

SRI (cuts me off):  Well, your diversity (diseased-ridden values) is why you will be losing me (akin to royalty) as your customer.

DM:  I'm sorry to hear that, sir (I am rejoicing and singing praises to God).

Here's what this guy doesn't know.  I have five male friends.  I love them all very, very much and they are all gay.  And when you start knocking gays and saying that they shouldn't have the right to marry or adopt or breathe, you're talking about my extended family.  And you're ticking me off.  So I love the fact that NABABNA is out there supporting Pride.  And if you don't like it, well, I'm sorry to see you leave but I hope that someday you will see the light and realize that you're not any better than anyone else.

Are YOU on the list?

Since customers are such an amusing source of humor, I've kept a small list over the years of random things I've heard.  This is in no way a complete list.  I could never have a complete list.  I'd like to discuss a few of these now.
NABABNA used to take calls for other banks when they were closed to help with certain lost/stolen procedures.  Basically, we closed cash cards over the weekend because the other banks couldn't afford to keep their locations open to close 1 card every 5 weeks.  (This is effective in cost management to outsource this function.)  The thing about this line that customers would dial was that people called it when they wanted to talk to their bank, not just to close their cards. 
The only, ONLY function we had was the ability to close the cards.
We couldn't activate the cards.
We couldn't tell you your balance.
We couldn't find branches in your area.
We had no clue what you spent last week.
There was a man.  He was an angry man.  I'm not going so far to say psychotic, but he could have found benefits in speaking frankly with a therapist.  This is my impression. 
He didn't lose his card.  He still had it.  He wanted to know his balance.  Here is our conversation (I am B, he is I, it stands for IDIOT!)
B:  Thank you for calling the 'card closing line'.  Is your card lost or stolen?
I:  I want my balance.
B:  I'm sorry sir.  We are an after hours closing service your bank hired to help in situations of lost or stolen cards.
I:  I don't believe this.  You have my balance and you won't give it to me.
B:  I'm sorry again sir.  I do not work for your bank and I have no access to your accounts other than to close a cash card.
B:  But I don't work for your bank. 
B:  I sit in stunned silence.
I:  I want to talk to the president of the bank, right now!
B:  Sir, your bank is closed.  I don't have the president's phone number.
B:  At this point, I want to say, I'd love to get rid of you, you are dumb.  Do you think I want you yelling at me because you're stupid?  I don't enjoy you yelling at me. 
I sit in silence.
I:  Answer me!
B:  I am unable to give you a different answer.  I don't work for your bank.  You can call them when they are open.
I:  I want you to give me my balance.
B:  The only thing I could do is close your card. 
The customer hangs up.  I think it's because I didn't give him his balance, but I'd like to think it was because he was afraid that giving me his information would make his card stop working.  Not that I'd do that, mainly because I've dealt with customers who had this happen.  I love it when customers get upset because they have the wrong number.  Here are another couple of examples where the customer should not have called us:
I2 - guess what this stands for!
Banker calls me.  "I have a customer who is upset that I can't find her account.  She wants to talk to a supervisor."
B:  Okay, I'll be happy to help.  Send her through.
Transfer takes place.
B:  Thank you for holding ma'am.  I'm a supervisor here at NABABNA.  Tony (the banker) said that you wanted to talk to a supervisor because he couldn't find your account?
I2:  That's correct.  I don't understand what a problem you are having.  I never have this problem when I call NABABNA.  It's only when I call Bank of Bank. 
B:  Um, you did call NABABNA. 
I2:  Oh!  That's probably why you couldn't find my Bank of Bank account.  [long pause]  Would you please apologize to that banker?  I was not pleasant to him.
B:  Sure, I can do that.  Why don't you put all of your accounts with us and then you only need one phone number?
I2:  I think I'll do that!  Thank you.
She was nice enough, once she understood she dialed the wrong number.  It was very funny.
We actually get a lot of wrong numbers.  This surprises me.  Our phone lines answer as an automated service and it starts the message as, "Thank you for calling NABABNA."  And then these people go through the prompts, get to a banker, listen to the banker say, "NABABNA, My name is...", ask their question, and then FINALLY realize they've called the wrong bank.  I was amazed when the call escalated.  That woman heard the name of the company 3 times and she still never caught it.
One of the bankers on our team got this call last night (I'll call the banker Q):
Q:  Thank you for calling NABABNA.  This is Q.  How can I help you?
I3 (guess why he's called that!):  Do you have the phone number for bank locations.
Q:  I can look up one of our branches for you.  What state is it in?
I3:  Illinois.
Q:  What branch did you want?
I3:  Well, it's for Bank of Bank. 
Q:  Um, unfortunately we only have the addresses and phone numbers for banks that are part of our company.
I3:  Oh. 
[Long pause.]
I3:  How do you think I could get the number for that bank?
Q:  Have you tried Directory Assistance?
I3:  I'll try that.  Thanks!
Q:  Thank you for calling.  I'm glad I
Now I must ask.  This customer knew that he wasn't calling the bank he wanted.  Why would he think we had the phone number for a different bank?  Do you call Wal-Mart to find out where a Target is located?  Have you ever walked up to a Burger King asking where McDonald's was?  Would this even cross your mind as an option???  I don't get it.  People are crazy.  And dumb. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Technology and Random Peter Pan

DM has mentioned that we take escalated calls at a large banking call center.  Customers are more amusing than any stand-up comic.  In fact, I encourage customer service representatives to go into stand-up comedy for the amusement of the world.  People must know these crazy things.
People in general are stupid.  I'm not saying every person is stupid, just in general, people are stupid.  There are ways to hide the moronic things we do, but unfortunately, some people don't have this built into their genetic make-up.  This is good, because it makes for a fun story.
Not too long ago, a customer said to me, and I quote, "I didn't fall off the apple tree yesterday.  I'm hip."  Now, this doesn't make sense to me.  Besides the fact that people don't usually fall off of apple trees, I'm pretty sure there is no hip hop songs with the lyrics, "I was climbing on the apple tree, I didn't fall off you see."  I wanted to explain that if she is using the phrase, "I didn't fall off the apple tree yesterday," this automatically disqualifies her from being hip.
One of the best examples of a moronic moment I've come across is from about two and a half years ago.  I will remember this woman for the rest of my life. 
Side note: Oh my God, there's a grown man dressed up as Peter Pan on T.V. because he dresses like this everyday of his life.  I'm so unbelievably scared.  Conan O'Brien finds the strangest guests.  This guy brought pictures of himself in many different fairy outfits.  He just said he's single and straight and loves the ladies.  He called his outfit the glitter star fairy.  Conan just asked him what he wears for Halloween.  He has problems for Halloween.  He's 50 years old.  But he said he's 5.  He's been dressing like this for over 20 years.  And now he's making Conan wear his hat.  He has a website.  This is what they said on Conan and I searched.  The site won't load right now but I'm pretty sure of the address.  I'm scared.
This is about how the call at NABABNA went:
B (Me): Thank you for holding.  My name is Beth and I'm a supervisor.  How can I help you?
C (Customer): I want you to tell me right now who's been calling me and make them stop.
B:  I'd be happy to help you as much as I can, you said someone has been calling you?  Are they from NABABNA?
C: Well, yes.  (She scoffs at me.)
B:  Did they leave a message?
C:  I want them to stop calling me.
B:  Okay, have you talked to them?
C:  No.
B:  Do you have the name or department of who's calling you?
C: No.  Make them stop.  Figure out who they are right now!
B:  I'm trying to help you.  I don't have any comments or notations of anyone calling you.  I'll need some help from you.
C:  I mean it.  They need to stop. 
B:  I understand that.  Have they left messages?  (I try asking again.)
C:  No. 
B:  So you haven't talked to anyone and they're not leaving messages.  Are you finding our number on your Caller ID?
C:  No.  Make them stop.
B:  You've said that.  I want to help you.
Okay, so after 28 minutes of going back and forth of who is calling you, how do you know they are calling you, and her yelling (getting more and more frustrated and louder), she finally says:
C:  Stop calling me.  Every time I push redial, it calls you people!
I hit the mute button so fast and bust out laughing.  I composed myself quickly and stated to the customer:
B:  Um, ma'am, redial calls the person you called last, not who called you.
There is a pause. 
It's a long pause.
C:  Oh!  I just don't get this whole technology thing!  I'm just a blonde. 
Here's the thing.  Redial is not technology.  It hasn't been for what, 20 years? 
Again, I say, people are stupid.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I can't be overdrawn. I still have checks left.

Yeah, funny, huh?  Working in the banking industry, I have come to believe that people should take a class before they are allowed to open up a checking account.  I believe this because I wish I would have taken one before I opened up my checking account at the tender age of 18 (19 years ago, sigh) and I actually thought this to be true.  I also work on the help desk at a major bank and will routinely get calls from customers who are extremely angry with "You People."  Here's a tip, people of the internet, when you have overdrawn your account at any bank, it doesn't matter where you bank, perhaps screaming at the person trying to help you might not be the best way to handle it.  I know, it's shocking for me to even say this, but calling me a f*cking c*nt does not make me want to help you.  
Here is probably the most amusing ATM story I have heard.  Customer calls in.  "I went to the ATM to make a deposit.  My card wasn't working."  Banker thinks the customer is calling in to get a replacement card.  Logical, right?  Customer continues "I turned to the guy behind me and asked if I could use his card to make my deposit and he said yes.  He entered in his secret code and everything.  Where's my money?"  Here's the thing, people.  She was serious.  She honestly thought that using the ATM card of some random stranger would make her deposit go into her account.  
Things you should know about ATM machines:
  1. If the machine doesn't have your bank's name on the top and you are charged a fee for using it, that's not our fault.  Banks are required to disclose all fees to their customers.  Read your disclosures.  Once you sign that account application, you are agreeing to the disclosures and future changes to the disclosures.  If you're not comfortable with that, don't sign the application!
  2. Do not make a deposit at a machine that is not owned by your bank.  There is no guarantee that you will ever receive the deposit into your account.  You would be truly amazed at the number of people who want to do this.
  3. Do not give your PIN # (secret code) to anyone.  I don't care if it's your husband, wife, parent, child, best friend or whatever.   If your card is used without your permission and it turns out to be because you gave someone your PIN #, well, you can pretty much kiss that money goodbye.  Don't write your PIN # on your card either.
  4. If you have the opportunity to print a statement from the ATM, don't do it.  Most banks charge for that.  Most banks also provide free online banking.  Why pay for something you can get for free?

Okay, I'm going to get off my soapbox.  But please, listen to my advice.  Only you can prevent overdraft fees.  Keep a register.  Don't spend money you don't have.  Oh and with today's technology, yes, it is possible to write a check to someone and have it go through your account on the same day.  Don't try to beat the bank, people, it doesn't work.

NABABNA - Providing checking accounts, loans and a swift kick to the head

Working in the banking industry, I have realized many things, including the fact that certain people should not be allowed to having checking accounts.  Here at NABABNA, I routinely deal with calls from people who have used the following excuses for being overdrawn (Because I want to keep my job, I don't say what I want to them. I wait until I get the chance to blog. What I want to say is in italics):
"I'm too busy to keep a register. I work for a living." "Oh, and I don't?  Well, I hope you earn a lot of money at your job.  Because I'm not reversing your fees.  Moron."
"It's not my fault that I'm overdrawn.  I checked the automated system and it told me that my balance was $53.05.  So I went shopping.  The automated system was wrong!  You people lie!" "Okay, repeat after me.  The automated system can only tell you what has posted or is pending to your account.  Since the automated system is not psychic, it does not know that you wrote out a $43 check out two days ago."
"Well, the ATM machine gave me the money.  If I was overdrawn, I shouldn't have been able to withdraw any money."  "First of all, you withdrew the money from a non-NABABNA ATM.  Because it isn't in the NABABNA network, it has no idea how much money you have.  Second of all, do you really want us following you around and saying 'Oh, no, don't make that withdrawal.  You don't have the money for it.'  No, I didn't think so."
With that all said, there's a reason why I am sometimes lenient and will reverse a fee for those customers that will admit that they made a mistake and don't call in every time they get a fee.   And that reason is that I, myself, am an idiot.  The following numbers are the result of my attempt to keep a ledger.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid. 
  • Starting balance.......$80.00
  • Minus SA...................$11.34
  • Subtotal.....................$68.36
  • Minus Carmike........$11.00 (pop and popcorn for Dodgeball for 2)
  • Subtotal....................$77.36
  • Minus Chalet...........$10.00 ($4 for pop. $6 tip.)
  • Subtotal...................$67.36
  • Minus Carmike.......$7.50 (matinee tickets for Dodgeball for 2)
  • Subtotal...................$59.86
  • Perkins.....................$18.00
  • Total.........................$41.86

I handed my register to Keem and asked her to check my figures. Then I watched her and Beth disolve into helpless laughter. What is wrong (other than the fact that I spent more money on concessions than the actual movie) is, I am sure, painfully obvious to all people who are not me, my actual total should have been $22.16.  I, apparently, need someone to follow me around. Of course, the difference between myself and the NABABNA customers is that when I get an overdraft fee, I don't whine about it.

Welcome to NABABNA

Hi.  My name is DM (short for Dana Marie).  My friend Beth and I work for a major bank in America.  We work in the customer service phone bank and take what's known as escalated calls.  What does this mean?  Mainly that we take calls from the customers who are upset with the bank.  Now, yes, everyone makes mistakes and we do receive the occasional call from customers who have legitimate concerns with bank errors but the majority of the calls we receive are from people who have made mistakes on their own accounts. 

Some of these people are wonderful to deal with because they are asking us to help them and are polite, calm individuals.  And some of these people, the people that Beth and I are going to blog about, are morons. 

Because we really love our jobs, there is no way we're going to tell you who we really work for.  From now on, our company will be referred to as NABABNA, short for National American Bank of America, Baby, National Association.  Yes, it's a weird name.  But NABABNA is fun to say and so not close to the real name of our bank.

We will also be, for your reading pleasure, provide you with conversations that we have overheard or, sometimes, been forced to be involved in. 

Just for the record, names have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent, if the customer we're talking about sounds like you, it's really not (but if you think it is, then you should probably really consider your banking habits), and yes, sometimes I will exaggerate for humor's sake.   Usually I don't have to exaggerate, though, and will normally indicate when I've done so. 

Hope you enjoy!  Ciao.  DM