Negative Experiences and Character

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The holiday season is here and I wanted to share an insightful story of a time where a horrible job position made me realize a lot about the basic standards of conducting business

My last call center position was at a huge customer service center for major retail online stores. This was my third holiday season and I took a position in the Escalations Department. I don’t know if I was just a sucker and couldn’t say no because I felt bad (no one else wanted it), or if I wanted to play the “You Ruined My Christmas” game with the others. The previous year, there was a tally on the white board in the back office where weekly contests were held to count how many times we were individually told that we ruined Christmas. Here’s why…

ruined christmasThe warehouses served as central clearing houses for multiple retailers and stored all types of products. It wasn’t a surprise if someone ordered a baseball jersey and received a Dora the Explorer play set.

The best part was when you went to help the customer with reordering in time, the item was almost always back ordered or out of stock completely. That meant reordering wasn’t even possible. Sorry, you won’t be receiving your item for Christmas.

We knew that if it was out of stock with one company, it was out of stock for all of them. The customers would end up calling different branches of our call center expecting to reach each individual store’s customer service department. They didn’t understand that all the calls were routed to the same place, to us.

By the time the customer called all ten online customer services, they would call back and get Me; An escalation of the first company that messed up everything and I now took time away that couldn’t be replaced. Imagine eight hours of this. Anyways, we ruined a Christmas and there was nothing that we could do. We knew it wasn’t really our fault and that’s what helped us sleep at night.

Fast forward eight years later, I realize that even though my position sucked (lack of a better word), it was needed and how we handled the situations were actually really effective for the company brand. Here is why…

No matter the negative situation, the following verbal comments and impacts are the same when it comes to Customer Relations…

Blame:

  • You
  • The Company
  • The Company’s Process
  • The Company’s way of getting to that process

Impact:

  • I should have just…
  • I will never…
  • I’m going to tell/share…

christmas call centerIn retail, nothing can be undone immediately when the customer receives the wrong items. Issues are usually out of the hands of any representative if they followed the procedures given to them by the main source. There is something that could have been done in the process, like quality assurance or better shipment organization but you stick to what you can do and follow appeasement procedures. We do this just to “keep them” and not take the negative experience with them and pass it along. If we didn’t appease after negative situations, we would all base our theory on the saying, “it’s just one customer.” In turn, we would have millions of customers complaining and it would catch attention of prospective customers.

Sounds familiar? It sounds like us.

Negative experiences and providing resolutions reflects on the character of not only the company, but the process that everyone shares within an industry or how we represent a brand. We are all pointing fingers at each other for the negative impacts we endure. Defaults, backdooring, lies. Not only is this reflecting on each other functioning in this industry, but the merchant is getting the worst part of this. Individually we have our own standards and best practices on handling a negative situation, but how a negative situation starts and how we could avoid it, is the first step to change.

In our industry words and actions play hand-in-hand since we are technically online based. Your words are the characterization and the actions solidify the process and trust you are offering when the customer (merchant) comes to you for that product. When it comes to originators and those who are the representations of the direct funding companies you submit to (contracted to originate for), you must characterize yourself to reflect the product they offer by providing correct information and a streamlined process as any customer would expect from any person or company they decide to do business with.

Last modified: November 17, 2015
Amanda KingsleyAmanda Kingsley is the CEO of Sendto (A Company which previously assisted in the training, education, and connection of Brokers and Funders). Kingsley has been in the Merchant Cash Advance Industry for 4 years and has grown with the specific needs of every aspect of running a reputable broker/funding company. You can contact Amanda Kingsley on twitter @whoiskingsley

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