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Low Call Center Expectations

September 24, 2007
I paid my credit card bill late last month.

I had a million excuses. The plumbing was on the fritz, my water heater had exploded, I didn't check my e-mail, I forgot to write the due date on my calendar, the planets weren't in alignment and my tux didn't come back from the cleaners. All things said and done, it just slipped my mind until the day after it was due.

That said, I was mighty irked when a $30 late charge showed up on my bill. I was indignant. This was the first time I'd slipped up. I'd been a good customer for years. Didn't they keep upping my credit limit (whether I wanted them to or not, but that's a story for another day)? Hadn't I always paid on time before? Wasn't I loyal? Didn't I tolerate their reams of junk mail without originating a restraining order against their postal mail fulfillment house?

I decided to call the card issuer and raise hell. I figured at the very least it was a good way to let off Monday steam. I explained to them about the baby. The water heater. The e-mail. The misaligned planets. The tux. I waited for them to tell me to go pound sand, and then something amazing happened.

The female agent, who was clearly based in India judging from her accent, agreed with me. "You've been a good customer," she said. "I'll take that charge off your bill."

Splutter. Cough. Whaaat? "You will?" I asked in an incredulous voice.

She laughed and asked if there was anything else she could help me with.

"N-no," I stuttered. "Thank you."

I figure this new "ask for what you want" strategy might work in other places. I'll start by calling the manufacturer of my old water heater and asking where they get off making shoddy products that leak and spray hot water all over consumers' basements.

I've always believed that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it's nice to find out that there are a few occasions where a consumer needn't squeak to be treated with some consideration.


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Comments to Low Call Center Expectations

  1. RE: Low Call Center Expectations
    Mike :

    Hi Tes:

    Companies have little to lose and a lot to gain by applying late charges. If they have millions of customers and tens of thousands file late payments and out of some misguied sense of guilt pay the fee then the companies do quite well for themselves. I suggest most subscribers do not call up as you did but for those who do they almost inevitably get a credit and feel as though the company is doing them a favour. Win, win for teh company isn't it. Consumers need to squeak always in today's economy.


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