Wrangling the Foreclosure Network: Getting Through Customer Service- By: Jacquelyn Marks
If you are dealing with a big bank, chances are you spend hours waiting for the customer service representative on the other line to pick up the phone. You are probably frustrated because you get transferred to multiple departments or hate the impersonal robot who patiently tells you which department to choose. Here are some tips to get through and get the most from your bankís customer service hotline.
Dial the correct number. Many banks have certain 800 or 888 numbers for departments and if you call the wrong one to begin with, you will end up being transferred.
Agents cannot handle everything. The representative on the other end usually only knows one end of the business, the one for which he or she is specifically trained. Chances are, the agent who handles collection cannot handle applications. More than likely, the system he or she is using is geared toward only one type of transaction so if the agent says he or she cannot handle your concern, he or she probably cannot even see your loan.
Call during non-peak days. Monday mornings, Friday nights and sometimes Saturdays are the busiest hours for the contact centers, whether they handle credit cards or foreclosures. Call during non-peak hours to avoid being put on hold or waiting in queue forever.
Accept that waiting is inevitable. Instead of getting steamed, put the phone on speaker and catch up with paperwork or make yourself some coffee.
Do not call at all. Check if the company has a website where you can register and view your account online. This saves you a lot of trouble (and hours on the phone).
Be ready. Have your documents, printouts and other important items such as loan numbers, policy IDS or case numbers within easy reach. Grab a pen and paper or have your PDA handy.
Make sure your phone is charged. Nothing hurts more than getting through to someone who is working on your mortgage or foreclosure issues and getting cut off because your phone simply dies.
Ask for IDs, not names. For documentation purposes, ask for the agentís employee number, not his or her name. Some agents are not required to give names or use different names in the event their real names are hard to pronounce or remember. Employee IDs are unique and make it easier to track the call later on.
You have the right to ask for a U.S.-based agent. If you do not want to deal with an offshore representative, say so. They can usually connect you to someone in the U.S. Be nice about it though -- a mean-spirited agent may reroute you to India just for spite.
Do not waste time asking for the person you spoke for before, unless he/she was a supervisor. National and international contact centers are gigantic and the agent on the line probably has no way to transfer your call to the wonderful person you spoke with before. That person may not even be in that day and if they an agent (not a supervisor or higher), they probably do not have a way to call you back.
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