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Why can’t things be explained in simple English?

When I worked as fraud claims initiation rep for the big bank, I had several calls that weren’t fraud, but the first line customer service reps didn’t know which department to transfer the caller to…so they’d sent them to us.

One call that will standout to me was when a customer (Kelly) had called several times trying to resolve an ongoing situation. Here’s the story:

Kelly made a hotel reservation in March for a May trip. She didn’t prepay the hotel and was expected to pay the $300 balance when she arrived at the hotel, but she provided her debit card to secure the room. However, Kelly called the hotel two weeks later and cancelled the reservation.

Now the person who took the call at the hotel cancelled the reservations, but…for whatever reason…instead hitting void transaction on the accounting system, the person hit REFUND. So Kelly got $300.

In June, the hotel performed an accounting audit and saw that they refunded Kelly the $300 instead of voiding the transaction. So the hotel charged Kelly the $300. Mid June, Kelly calls the bank and initially gets a rep from the outsource call center (fyi…not India but Whiskeyland). The rep’s note were “cancelled reservation but still charged customer”, then just filed the claim and gave Kelly $300 temp credit.

Late June, The hotel disputes the chargeback and provides proof. The bank takes back the temp credit. Kelly calls back again and gets another Whiskeyland rep and they refiles the claim with notes “cancelled reservation, refiled.”

Mid July, Kelly gets a letter in the mail from the bank in legalese saying that no error was found, the hotel provided proof, and everything is correct in her account. She then calls the bank again, but this time she gets me. After she explains the situation to me, I look over all the notes (the very few from Whiskeyland reps and back office), the account, and the letter the bank sent. After a few minutes, it clicks…Kelly got $300 that she wasn’t suppose to get in the first place! Which is why the hotel charged her to get their money back.

I explain this to Kelly and I was expecting a pissed off reaction but instead I got:

“Wow! Why couldn’t anyone else catch that or explain to me like you did! And seriously, why not just send me a letter in simple English! Thank you so much for clearing this up and explaining it to me. Can I speak to your manager to give you a compliment!”

Kelly’s comment made a lot sense that things should be explained in simple english to the customers, but overall, it was mostly the reps fault for not looking into the situation deeper and thinking just a little bit more. Then I realized that we were paid to just file the claims and not to ask too many questions. However, I cannot help but think if somebody else would’ve taken that call, Kelly could’ve been running in circles to finally get an answer.

What do you think?

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