Customer Service Representatives Are People Too

Posted by Andrew on June 18, 2010

Yesterday I had to call customer service for my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) because mine and my wife's cards had been shut off for an unknown reason. My experience thus far with FSA has not been great, though it is much much better with a card than without one. I was already a little frustrated that our cards had been turned off before I got to speak to a real person and as soon as Erica answered I rattled off my name, spelling G-E-R-T-I-G slowly as I have had to do my whole life, and the reason for my call. She then went on to tell me that the reason my card had been turned off was because I owed them $52 from a bill that was not eligible for FSA.

I knew exactly what bill she was referring to because it was a bill that I had submitted a receipt for twice in response to letters from them asking for what I thought was more documentation, and subsequently given up on and written a check for on the last notice I had received. I explained the situation to her in a not too kind tone of voice and then she told me that it was actually not eligible for reimbursement by FSA because it was a bill from 2009 even though my Dr. didn't send it to me until 2010, and that this was why I had received 3 notices. At this point I may have said the words "utterly ridiculous" to which she responded with "I'm sorry sir but that is company policy and your card will not be able to be turned back on because we received your check for $52 a few days after the deadline." To which I had nothing that would top "utterly ridiculous" so I said "Okay, goodbye" and hung up.

I sat there a moment and reflected on what had just happened and realized that I probably hadn't helped the situation from the moment she answered the phone. I then called the customer service line back and talked to Mark with a completely different attitude, a different tone of voice, and not so very amazingly enough my card was reactivated within 24 hours.

Being kind and understanding will always get you a better outcome than venting your frustrations on another human being.