Friday, May 8, 2015

When Companies Make You Wait

I am in the process of switching banks. One of the steps involved transferring money from one savings account to my new account, and to get a promotional bonus, I needed to do it within a certain number of days.

I set up the transfer about two weeks ago. Just before leaving town for the weekend, I discovered that the transfer was still sitting in a "pending review" status. Why hadn't they called me to let me know there was a problem?

Frustrated, I started making calls. After several phone calls and several holds, I was informed that I needed to go in person to the bank.

I was pretty annoyed about that, but I calmed down by the time I made it to the bank. My banker and I called the number together. We waited out two ten-minute holds. After one of them, their system hung up on him and we had to call back. But, eventually, the problem was resolved.

Several times while we were holding, my banker apologized for the wait and thanked me for my patience. And for once, yeah, I was acting pretty patient. Because of my background in customer service for e-commerce sites, I can assure you that many, many people get angry and end up yelling and swearing. Even I get testy sometimes.

What made acting kind so easy this time?

I knew the holds weren't his fault, and the bank was making me do everything it was for the security of my accounts. That helped some. But what really kept me calm was that the banker had been friendly and nice on my other visits to the branch, and he reminds me of a co-worker I really enjoyed a few years ago.

At first, the person you're working with may not remind you of anyone you had a good relationship with, especially if they're the one who made the error that caused a problem. But try imagining someone you love in their place. Maybe you could picture a younger sibling who's just learning their first job--mistakes are bound to happen, and you'd want their customers to be patient with them and not crush their spirits, wouldn't you? Maybe you've made mistakes on the job... Haven't we all?

You can calmly ask for a solution and get one just as easily, if not more so, than when you yell, swear, and sigh dramatically. If the company's really messed up, you can calmly ask for a supervisor and still get one. You can calmly ask for compensation when it's due and get an offer to help balance the trouble you've been through.

All of this is sometimes easier said than done. For better or for worse, though, life tends to give us plenty of chances to practice getting it right!

How do you stay cool when you're frustrated?

Your Sister

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