the tale of the customer that was right


Once upon a time, a customer contacted us because their bill was higher than what they expected. So we reviewed the bills together to see what had happened.

It turns out in the past the customer had contacted us as they were going out of country and wanted to cancel the services as they did not want to really pay for something they were not able to use. In response, we offered the customer the option to pay a small monthly amount of $7 which allowed them to keep the same phone number and plan in a convenient and affordable way. The customer accepted this solution and we had agreed upon a 6 month suspension.

The way this suspension offer works is that each month the customer would still be billed for the $60 plan as usual, plus a new $7 option, which would provide a $60 discount.

At least that’s how it *would* work if the suspension was in perfect alignment with this customers billing cycle. However the customer in this case had elected to do a suspension starting about halfway through a bill cycle: starting January 15.

So on the January 1st bill they were billed $60 (the suspension was requested on Jan 8, after that bill had already been generated). So the customer paid the January bill as usual before leaving for their trip.

Then on the February bill there was some partial charges and credits : a $30 suspension credit (for the half a month in January that was suspended: January 15 to 31). And a $3.50 charge for the pro rated suspension option for that same time period. As well as the regular charges: the $60 plan, the $7 add-on, and a $60 suspension credit (for Feb 1 – 28). However the customer had also kept in touch with their family abroad right before they left for their trip and there was about $26.50 in long distance usage (for calls made during Jan 1 – 15). So the February bill ended up being about $7 before tax. Which the customer totally thought was normal as we told them to expect the costs to be just $7 per month while they were away…

To make matters even more complicated, the customer had returned from their trip early and had requested that we resume the services for them sooner, on Feb 20.

This is why on the March 1st bill we see $60 for the plan for March 1-31. However this customer was expecting this bill to be about $30. I had to explain to them multiple times that while we did apply the $30 suspension credit to the February bill, it was offset by the long distance usage.

But the customer kept insisting that their bill was somehow wrong. And that’s when I noticed that the customer was actually right: since the customer had asked to resume service on Feb 20, we should have, on a pro rated basis, reversed the previously applied suspension credit (for Feb 21 – 28) and reversed on a pro rated basis the previously charged suspension add-on for the same period. However we totally forgot to do this. So I asked the customer if they wanted the bill to be 100 percent correct, and they said yes. So I corrected the mistake and advised them it was now higher than before. They were furious, but my manager had my back.

And that is the story of the customer that was right.


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What job did you get after quitting the call center?

I don’t know how to tell customers that my company sucks and there is no way to fix some issues.