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This is the policy, I assure you.

I work in a call center for a large U.S. bank. The call center I work in does not assist customers (Thank Tehlu), we only assist bankers. This usually means that the callers are very respectful and calm. There may be some friction at times, but all in all, pretty chill. Today, however, I got the first call where I actually had to vent about it.

Let me set the stage. I don’t know if other banks have this same procedure, but whenever a customer’s account number is compromised, we have two options: 1) close the account and open another one or 2) process what our bank calls a “Lost/Stolen Transfer”. The second option is used when a customer has an account type that is grandfathered and they want to keep the type of account. This allows them to have all the special perks go over to the new account. Usually, branches can process Lost/Stolens very easily, but whenever the account has been opened in another state, they cannot do it and the customer has to call in to customer service. If customer service cannot do it either, then the branch has to call the branch that opened up the account. That is policy and there is no way around it.

This is the conversation:

“Thank you for calling (department), my name is PumpkiePieMonster, how can I help?”

“Yes, hi. I am a branch manager in Oregon. I am on the phone with a branch manager in Nevada. They want me to process a Lost/Stolen, but the customer is not in here. They are are in Nevada. Obviously, I have to have the customer in front me fully identified to do this, so what is the correct way to do this?”

“That is a great question, sir. That is -” (At this point, the BM interrupts me).

“Actually, I’m going to bring on the other BM, so she can hear you say it, is that okay?”

(We are not allowed to talk to more than one branch at a time, but he doesn’t even let me say that it is not okay and puts her on. Whenever this happens, we have to continue with the call, but we have to document both of their names for the ticket software.)

I do my spiel again, which is required.

“As I understand it, you are both trying to process a L/S, correct?”

(NV) “Yes. I called into your department earlier and the CSR told me that I would have to call the branch that opened up the account, because customer service could not do it. That is correct?”

“Yes. That is the policy.”

(OR) “What?! That is ridiculous. I am not going to do that! The customer is not in my branch. That is not the correct policy. I assure you. I have worked with this bank for ten years and I have never had to do this.” (To be fair, this policy changed a few years ago.)

“Sir, the branch that opened up the account needs to process the Lost/Stolen. It is policy.”

“No.”

“Sir, I just sent you the policy and procedure on this.”

(After a few minutes of him reading it.) “This make absolutely no sense. All it says is that we have to call you.”

“Yes, because I have to verify a few things on the system first, before you can do that. I did the verification at the beginning of the call and you can process it now.”

“Is there another way to do it?” (His voice is getting higher and more aggressive.)

(NV) “Can we please hurry this up? The customer has been in the branch for thirty minutes now.”

“I’m sorry about that. Unfortunately, this is the only way that we can do this.”

(OR) “This is not right. Not right at all. I want to speak with your supervisor about this.”

“Okay, sir. I will get you both to my second level and they will assist you from here on, but they are going to tell you the same thing. I also have to advise that at this stage, I will have to email your District Manager about this issue.”

“That’s fine, because he will agree with me!”

(NV) “Can you please just transfer the account? You have the policy and procedure in front of you.”

(OR) “No. I will not do this until I have the customer in the branch with me.”

“Alright, I will transfer you to my second level right now. Thank you for calling in and have a great day. It will just be a brief hold while I find someone.”

Our policy states that we have to do a warm transfer, so I explain the situation to my second level. She laughs and says that I am correct. She then takes over the call to tell them everything I just did. Gosh, people! All it would have been was just a few clicks and it would have been over with. After typing all this out, I can understand that the BM did not want to get in trouble, but the policy was clear.

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