Customer Reps

Ever have to call a place to get answers and it takes about 8 times talking to multiple reps to finally get an answer?

I swear I’ve gotten the run around so many times just in the past few days. For example, I received a “final notice” in the mail about a payment for an OB visit threatening to send me to collections essentially if I didn’t pay it. Funny thing is, I paid it 2 months ago. Have a receipt to prove it and even faxed my receipt proof over to the hospital, again, 2 months ago. So the woman goes to look, checks, sees that I did that, and goes, oh well there’s a new balance on your account. Do you want to pay that now?

Um… why would I pay the next bill when they can’t even get the past bill sorted out?? I don’t know if it’s just hospitals in America but if you overpay on a hospital bill or like a student loan bill, they’ll keep your money. They won’t say oopsie, you paid too much, no. They’ll just keep the difference.

Speaking of student loans, that’s another one I recently called about. Called looking to get my monthly payment lowered cause bills are kicking my butt and I want to get caught up. So I call and a woman tells me exactly what to do in order to get my payments lowered to as little as $0 a month for a year. I do that and my April autopay payment went away. I’m thinking, yay! this is great! I have a break to spend money where I want to right? Wrong. They only postponed them for 2 months and then they resume. So I call the woman back and tell her, listen, either I get a lower payment or I don’t pay. They’re student loans. I don’t care about them. Well the last thing they want you to do is stop paying so she tries to get me to go all these other options and I had to keep reiterate what the other rep told me.

Well this pretty much led to her being nasty because I wouldn’t do what she said and she was telling me stuff that was frankly untrue. So I had to get off the phone with her ASAP before I said some things she wouldn’t like. I let that stew for about an hour and then called back and got a helpful woman who apologized for the viscious one.

I don’t get why customer service reps feel the need to get nasty with you. I get their job is to take your money most of the time but do you honestly think I’m going to want to give you my money when you give me attitude over the phone especially considering I didn’t raise my tone of voice or anything and struggled to be as polite as possible throughout my frustration? I love when reps also feel the need to spout how long they’ve been with the company and they know everything when they’re still wrong. It’s truly okay to admit when you’re wrong and put me on hold to get the right answer.

I worked customer service for many years; face to face at that! I don’t think people realize how hard it is to do everything possible almost to the point of getting on your knees and licking the customer’s boots in order to make sure they get off the phone or leave your store happy. It’s a struggle. But to be the customer and get the attitude just for pointing out that someone is feeding you misinformation?? That’s just rude and it’s sad you have to go through about 10 people to find that 1.

But at the end of the day, thank goodness for that 1.

Have you ever had bad customer rep issues? How do you normally handle it? Are you like me and keep calling back to you get the competent one? Let me know in the comments below!

Short Post

I’m working from home today and man am I enjoying it. In the past, I’ve never had a job with such flexibility. Saturday afternoon our contractor realized, after ripping up our living room carpet, that we need one more day to finish. Since he’s already worked 6 days in a row we told him to take Sunday off and come back on Monday which required one of us to take a day off. Since my husband took all last week off, I volunteered this time because, well, we can’t afford him to take off any more days. My boss is so cool and understanding that she was just like, “sure, that’s fine”.

It’s still surreal for me because I’ve never had a job where there was a work from home option. Most of the time it would require rearranging a whole week’s schedule or trying to find someone to cover but when you work for a small business it’s so completely different. What’s also really neat is my ability to multitask has grown even more. Even though I’m working from my computer, I’m also scrubbing the bathroom down at the same time. Who considers a chore like that a happy day?!

Maybe my mood is pretty great because the sun is shining and it’s supposed to be 70 degrees today but, it’s definitely a great day. I hope you all are having a good Monday whether you’re at work or at home or anywhere in between.

🙂

Life Shenanigans

Normally I have time to go through WordPress over the weekend and blog hop and comment and what not. This weekend, that was completely not an option in any capacity. You see, that floor project I discussed a few posts ago commences today and because we always like to be ahead of the game, we prepared the room the contractor would be working in ahead of time so he wouldn’t have to; that means, we moved all the furniture out. And when I say “we”, I mean my husband because I’m not allowed to lift more than 25 pounds being 7 months pregnant and all.

Basically our plan of attack was to clean out closets first and do a bit of spring cleaning. We’ve only been living in this house for a little under 2 years and we came from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house so we’ve accumulated a bit of stuff in that time. You never really realize how much stuff you have though until you go through it all for a big house project. We ended up donating 4 trash bags full of clothing and 1 trash bag of shoes between the both of us and on top of that, got rid of 2 bags of books I knew I’d never read, a 29 gallon bowfront fish tank and a cat tree. The cat tree is the only thing that went to the trash. Then I gave away some odds and ends to my mother in law because she was homeless before and now has her own apartment to accumulate stuff in. We were also fortunate that she came over because she was able to help my husband move some of the big stuff while I just took the small stuff upstairs or relocated it to a temporary spot for the time being.

By the time it was all said and done, we had our dining room and bedroom cleared of furniture (except the bed; that will be moved during the project) and our living room full of furniture that needs two people to move. However, the poor pets are in a sad panda state at the moment. My turtle’s tank had to be drained in order for it to be mobile so he’s sitting in about 3 inches of water for the time being and the cats are locked in a room upstairs until the project is finished. Milliardo is most especially not amused:

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I hope to share some before and after pictures with you all at a later date but for now it looks like it’s gonna be a Wendy’s kind of week (not that I’m complaining!). I hope you all had less exhausting weekends than I did.

Have you done any spring cleaning yet? If you have, are you surprised at the amount of stuff you accumulated over the years? Got any big projects coming up? Let me know in the comments below!

Balance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in my world about jobs and what people sign up for when they take on a job. For example, I heard a story on the radio this morning about special needs teachers and their preparedness for anything that could possibly happen while teaching the students. I won’t get into the super details but the story involved a teacher who I believed grossly overreacted to a situation she encountered with an autistic student. It got me thinking about my own experiences with jobs I’ve had and jobs my friends have had and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter today.

With everything there are positives and there are negatives. I believe the way in which we handle these occurrences head on is what makes us either better or worse individuals. I’m sure anyone would love to live in a world where ignorance is bliss. In fact the entirety of that quote is “ignorance is bliss; knowledge is misery”. It’s usually equated to a child vs. a grown up. As children (hopefully) we live in this blissful world where nothing affects us much except for the next time we get to play our favorite game or go outside or hang out with our cousins. We aren’t thinking about the real world. Then there’s that point in life where you have to deal with those facts because it either creeps up on you too soon or it’s around the corner waiting to creep up on you eventually. We all have to grow up and be adults even if we don’t want to.

The “knowledge is misery” part of the quote quite fascinated me because I happen to think knowledge is an essential part of life. Most people are thirsty for knowledge instead of viewing it as something miserable. For example, I don’t want to know about politics but I still pay attention because I want to be prepared for anything that occurs in this country that may or may not affect me and my loved ones in some way.

Circling back to the bit about jobs, I feel like when you sign up for a particular job, you have to know what to expect going in. For example if you’re an artist of some sort: writer, movie director, music producer, painter, you have to know going in that when you release your art to the world that there are going to be some who absolutely love it and some who absolutely hate it. Now, I am none of those things but I feel like on some level you have to know what to expect and how to handle what gets thrown at you in any form. Obviously you are going to praise the ones who give you glowing reviews but should you ignore the ones who don’t or worse, call them all trolls or put them down? I don’t think that’s right. If anything, you’d learn from every bit of feedback or critique you receive so that you have a better direction going forward; learn how to to turn a negative into something that can strengthen you and your fan base so that you don’t lose anyone, including the negative Nancies because there is always that possibility that they’ll still support you and even like future works even if this one flopped for them.

Another example, and this is personal experience, is being a manager. Being promoted is a great feeling but with it comes great responsibility and one of those things is the ability to handle a rude customer. First you have have to acknowledge that it’s not a personal attack at you. The person may be having a shitty day. Such is life. Then you have to strive to fulfill their needs as best you can without making it worse than it already is. Now are there some customers who are just rude out the gate? Absolutely. Even so, there are methods in which you can handle the situation that could potentially open their eyes to their own behavior and get them to calm down. Is this a perfect be all end all method? Of course not. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’d say.

One last example is having that tough conversation with an employee who is just not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t want them to think I’m personally attacking them because they are not doing a great job lately but I also want to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated either. Sitting them down one on one and going through what I see and trying to get to the root of what’s going on so that we can figure out how best to proceed going forward is usually the best route. Again, is it foolproof? Absolutely not and sometimes it ends more badly than you wanted it to but sometimes that’s just the right route.

I think life is all about balance. You need to make mistakes and fail to become a better, well rounded person. Sometimes our emotions dictate our actions before we fully comprehended what happened later but if you have the ability to acknowledge that and correct it either in the now or in the future, I think that makes a good recipe for greatness.

What do you think about balancing positives with negatives in life? Do you agree about jobs and what to expect when you take a specific job on? Any examples you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Something New

Throughout my days, whether it’s at work, home, or hanging out with friends, I find myself trying to learn something. There’s always something to take away. There’s also plenty to give.

My days are typically filled with work – from working out, to actually going to the job that pays me, sending or receiving emails, trying to network with rescue organizations, and beyond, I’m always working on something.  I’ve learned a lot from the younger people who work for me…and I’ve learned a ton from the older ones, too. It’s interesting to subjects from another lense.

I’d say that overall I’m a realist. I have realistic views, expectations, and hopes for the future. I’m not asking for or seeking perfection: but I want to see people trying. Trying is often times different than doing – but sometimes all you can ask is that people are trying.

Working in the pet food industry has taught me a lot. Managing people has taught me even more. Doing my best to gain something from everyone has shown me a lot about life. Having wonderful friends and a supportive family has certainly helped along the way. I challenged myself to create time to write something today. Something. Anything. …to try to be part of this blogging experience with a great friend. …to try to pull my weight, or at least part of it. The longer I sit the more emails flood through. Questions, comments, concerns, things that require fairly immediate action, others that just want my opinion on what to do or how to do it.

Yesterday, I learned about plasma and just how cool and helpful it is. Today, I’ve learned (and really have known for a while) that good friends truly are a dime a dozen. My co-author has carried the weight and the work of this blog since conception. I am thankful for her and I learn from her and about her everyday from this opportunity.

What are you learning about today? Is it something new? …perhaps it’s something you’ve known and are revisiting. Share it with us so we can all learn together! 🙂

Timely

Halfway There! I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 10

True story.

I was driving home from work one day a few weeks back and I usually decide between taking the back roads or the highway. I take 3 different interstates to get home; 422 to 271 to 8. On average, 422 never has traffic no matter what time of day I drive it. 8 usually has no traffic as well. Sandwiched in between the 2 is 271 that almost always has traffic in the morning and at 5pm. The only time I can expect no traffic is around holidays or if kids are out of school. All of sudden the highways are free, open roads and I can drive like a normal human (maybe speed a little, ssshh).

This particular day, I took a chance to drive the highway. Usually I like to check google maps to see if there are a bunch of red lines but I figured I’d left early enough that I’ll probably bypass it. It was a warm day, for Ohio anyway, and I had my sunroof shade open and I think I was listening to whatever was on the radio that day. I come upon the exit to 271 and instant stop. Traffic was at a standstill. So I did a little bit of maneuverability to shimmy up to the closest exit. I always keep other routes in the back of my head in case I’m trying to be somewhere fast. I’m okay with sacrificing open highway for traffic lights as long as I’m moving. Sitting in a hot car in the summer, in traffic, is the worst.

I get off the highway and onto this side road that turns into 8 eventually. This road starts as a bunch of schools, then groceries and once you cross the bridge it turns into an industrial parkway. There’s a place on the left that just has giant piles of pulverized concrete or sand with this tiny little gas station and then you have a bunch of different warehouses up an down both sides before it turns into the casino way.

I get to the point where the old Arhaus warehouse used to be and there’s stand still traffic again. At first I didn’t think anything of it. There is a stoplight ahead so I figure traffic will start moving soon as it turns green. Well the light turns green and the cars in my lane are still sitting. Then I notice cars on the other side are stopping as well. Automatic thought is car accident right? Which means I’ll be stuck a little longer. Well, the cars across the divide start moving and the cars to my right start moving as well but my lane isn’t moving at all. I begin to feel the symptoms of annoyance come forward because I just want to go home after my long day at work.

An opening appears for me to move around the line of cars that are stopped and get into the moving right lane. I take the chance and slowly crawl forward. I’m ready to continue my drive but I’m also curious to see what caused the backup. I get close to SUV that’s essentially parked and saw the most unexpected thing…

A skunk!! A very big skunk!! If I could have snapped a picture with my eyes, I would have! The skunk is basically pacing in circles. It was so unbelievable, I burst out laughing. My annoyance instantly evaporated. I quickly glanced around my surroundings wondering where the hell this huge skunk came from. This is basically an industrial wasteland. No forest or any sign of nature in the immediate distance yet here is this poor skunk. You can tell people, including myself, wanted to help somehow but at the same time not. That’s just one smell you do not want to take to work the next day. I continued my drive home thinking to myself that I hope the little (big) guy finds his way home. I also thanked Mr. Big Skunk for putting a smile on my face.

Jump to Soar

Majority of us have a Facebook account and we all get our individual “news” feed. Whether it be actual news from pages we follow or friends posting about their lives, we all feel some kind of way about the news we receive. A few weeks ago I decided I was going to try a career change. I came to this decision because I felt my life was just getting monumentally stressful for silly reasons. After many talks with myself, my husband and my friends, especially Mac, I decided it would be for the best. The thing is, I didn’t realize how hard it is to convince myself that this was the right thing to do. You see, after I graduated college the only work I could see myself doing was animal welfare in any capacity. All my experience was with animals and I had become very passionate about the field over the years. Don’t get me wrong, customer service is the main part of any job and those skills are easy to gain. That part was easy to say to myself, “yeah I can take these with me”. The main question was would I be able to learn something new; something complete and utterly different?

So I was going through my Facebook feed and I came across a YouTube video of Steve Harvey. In this short video he essentially gave out a piece of advice for people looking for a change. The words that stuck out to me the most were:

….you can soar but you’ve got to jump. Now here’s the problem, my friends. When you jump…… I can assure you one thing. Your parachute will not open right away. No, that’s the fear part. …… You’re going to hit those sides and those rocks. You’re going to tear you back out on that cliff. You’re going to get cuts and wounded…. but eventually your parachute will open and you’ll be soaring. ……… If you do not jump —– your parachute will never open. So you’re safe, but you will never soar. You’ve got to jump.

After watching that, I felt like my confidence got one giant push. Besides telling myself that I can succeed in a different career, I also told myself to just jump. This was 3 weeks ago and so far, I can say without a doubt, I am much happier for it. I miss aspects of my old job of course but my new life is just so much more.

Ironically enough, in the past week, two of my close friends have talked to me about their lives. Both are looking for a change in scenery. One is looking to get out of the retail working world because she feels like her life revolves around work. The other is looking to get out of the animal rescue business because dealing with puppy mill dogs is really taking a toll on her emotional health. Both want to change careers but, just like me, they’re either afraid of change or do not believe they are capable of doing and succeeding at something different. Can you guess what I told them? Besides going over what I went through in the past 3 weeks and how it affected me personally, I told them to soar. I told them you will never know how great you really are if you don’t try. I told them I have faith that they will succeed in any change that they make. Now, it’s in their thoughts. I’ve planted a seed and I can only hope they will do what they feel is best for them because at the end of the day I will be their parachutes and if they need me to help them soar then that is what I am going to do.

I leave you with another quote, from Denzel Washington’s image award speech, that appeared to me earlier this week and is also great advice to live by:

….never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It’s not easy…….. Keep working, keep striving, never give up. Fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. …..Keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.