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How a customer made me cry

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So, I handle escalated calls for a big car insurance company. Wanna talk to a supervisor? You get me. If there’s nothing I can do for your situation, you’re SOL.

That being said, a regular CSR transfers the call to me. So she’s explaining the customer’s situation; the caller’s policy is canceling effective tomorrow unless we receive a payment. And not just a regular payment, but a double bill. I get it, being hit with a double bill unexpectedly is hard. So I have the rep transfer the customer over and I start listening to her story.

A few months ago, something had gotten messed up on her policy, causing an increase which caused her automatic payment to return because she only had the funds for what her payment was supposed to be. I did the normal sympathize, and then explain what happened thing. I tell her that the billing got thrown off because of that returned payment and that is what causes the double bill. As I’m explaining this, she hits me with “well, I, myself personally, can’t read very good. So I don’t really understand what you’re saying.” No big deal, everyone’s comprehension is different, so I try explaining it a different way. As I’m explaining everything to her she goes “this all started because I don’t know anything about computers.” So not only can she not read well, she also has no real way of seeing the notices we sent. So I told her that we also sent the notices via mail.

She then reiterates, that she can’t read. So the notices we sent her were pointless. Because she couldn’t understand them. My heart was breaking. We sent her notifications and letters, but they meant nothing since she couldn’t read. The education system failed her on such a base level that she made it to 47 and still couldn’t read or comprehend moderately complicated issues. She was beside herself, begging me “don’t let me lose my policy just because I can’t read good. I did everything I was supposed to, I had the money for the payment I was told to make. I just don’t understand why this is happening.” She’s beside herself almost crying, I’m in tears because all I want to do is help this poor woman.

Usually I can keep my cool on the phone. I’ve been cussed out, gotten r*pe/mur**r threats, told “I don’t know how you sleep at night.” And none of this phases me. But this woman. She got to me. She was born with the deck stacked against her and I couldn’t help. I reached out to one of my other resources to see if there was anything we could do. Even though I knew damn well there is nothing that could have been done but I called to check. All I could do was tell her that if we don’t get the payment, in full, by tomorrow, the policy will cancel. I couldn’t keep the tears out of my voice as I was telling her this.

My heart just broke for her. It’s not fair. It’s not her fault she was dealt a shit hand. She was a POC living in the Deep South. It’s not her fault she has no reading comprehension. Its not her fault that society failed her. It’s not her fault, but her policy canceled today at 12:01am. I got off the phone call and just sobbed for a while. I struggled through the rest of my calls that day. Thankfully this happened in the last half hour of my shift but man, I’m still broken up over it.

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