Anyone who has ever worked in banking (or customer service in general) knows Christmas is the time of year when ALL the assholes come out to play. You get the Karens, Richards and every shape/kind of choosing begger.
These two stories are the ones that stick out in my memory as the best examples of the customer’s I dealt with on Christmas Eves.
Every Christmas Eve I found myself rostered until 10pm in the bank’s Contact Centre, when the last branch closed at 5pm and they didn’t reopen until 2nd of January. So if someone called after 5pm and failed POI, they were shit out of luck until the new year. Failure of POI over the phone locked out all phone banking services and online account access. The only way to have it reinstated was to attend the branch with government issued ID.
Karen called and explained she wanted to do a funds transfer to her daughter’s account. Both Karen and her daughter both banked with us, so the transfer would be instantaneous. Before asking the POI questions I follow my scripting guide to ‘educate’ Karen that this could be done via her online banking. I get the usual boomer response of ‘I don’t like computers’.
So I ask her for her customer number as she hadn’t entered it during the IVR. She said she can’t find it. Okay, this happens. I ask for her credit or debit card number. She doesn’t have that. Okay, that’s annoying but whatever. I do a name search. Find her accounts and because she couldn’t provide me her customer number or credit/debit card number I advise her I’ll need to ask her additional security questions. If she fails these questions phone banking and online banking will be blocked until she can attend a branch which won’t be til the new year. I give her one last chance to go find her customer number or credit/debit card number but she says “I don’t need to. I know what I have with the bank and what I’ve been doing”. Fine I think. I ask can she tell me what types of accounts she has with the bank. Failed. Which branch did she open one of her accounts at. Failed. Name a transaction you’ve done on one of her accounts in the last 7 days. Failed.
I sigh because I know I’m about to cop it. I explained that she has failed POI and her phone banking and online banking are now locked. She went off! She gave some variation on how stupid POI is, how the bank will be losing all of her business (sure Karen, we’ll miss the $100 annual fee on your credit card) and finally “you’re just like Scrooge! You’ve ruined Christmas!”
The other story I remember is about getting a overdraft attached to an account. Now the bank has strict guidelines on lending requirements on who can and cannot have an overdraft. One of the instant declines is to be receiving government benefits as sole source of income.
In this story Richard called. He was rude right away and slurring his speech as if he had been drinking all day.
After POI he said he wanted to know his account balance. He had one account with the bank, it’s known as a “basic” account. No fees, no overdrawn interest charges, free atm withdrawals etc. it’s designed for customers who are government benefit recipients. I gave him his balance, which was like $2.
He started ranting that his payment hadn’t arrived, I scrolled through his transactions and found he had received his payment 3 days prior but he had spent it all. Government benefits in Australia pay every 14 days, so he’d be without money for 11 days. He then demanded that I give him an overdraft on his account (normally if someone on the face of it met the requirements I would transfer them to a different department to process the application but if they wouldn’t qualify, I. Was. Not. Allowed. To. Transfer.). I explain that he wouldn’t qualify as it appeared from banking records, his sole source of income came from government benefits.
This is when Richard started with “me kids have nuffin for Christmas cnt. They’re starvin. You’re telling me I have to look me kids in their fcking eyes and tell them I can’t fcking feed them and these no santa?” I hear a kid crying in the background “get me fcking kids are cryin now cause of you cnt. You’ve fcking Christmas”. I felt sorry for the kids growing up in that environment, I tried to get Richard in touch with a local charity that were distributing Christmas hampers of food and gifts but he kept up the abuse. This went on for awhile longer before I terminated the call after realising there was no way on bringing him back to being a reasonable person for me to try and help.
You want to know what his transactions were after being paid? All without exception were for alcohol, cigarettes, McDonald’s and one $100 cash withdraw. He blew all of his money and I’m the asshole who ruined Christmas.