Bill collectors are a strange sort of people. They’re not bad people, they have a job to do. I just don’t think I could do it. I’m too much of a softy…I think. If they are nice people, they almost have to put on a different persona when they make their calls. They learn this in their training. This segment is called “The customer is always lying.”
Granted, these bill collectors deal with some very shady people who are actually lying and trying to get out of whatever they got into. They also deal with people who are really trying but due to one thing or another, they’re in a bad way. They can also deal with people like me, who just forgets to pay a bill on time on occasion. The problem is, they treat everybody like the first sort…liars, whether it fits or not.
ME (answering the phone): Hello?
BILL COLLECTOR: This is Sally (said in a foreign accent). I’m calling from the Acme Electric Company. Can you make your payment today?
ME: Oh, I’m sorry. I just paid the bill online earlier today.
BILL COLLECTOR: So you can’t make your payment with me today and avoid a late fee?
ME: Um, I just told you, I paid online earlier today.
BILL COLLECTOR: We can avoid sending this to collections if you can make at least a partial payment today.
ME: Um, hello? Can you hear me?
BILL COLLECTOR: There’s no reason to get hostile, Mr. Dazeodrew.
ME: I’M NOT…I mean, I’m not getting hostile. I just told you that I paid the bill.
BILL COLLECTOR: So, you’re saying that you paid the bill?
ME: That would pretty much sum it up, yes.
BILL COLLECTOR: You don’t need to get sarcastic with me, Mr. Dazeodrew.
ME: Look, all I’m telling you is that I paid the bill!
BILL COLLECTOR: If you keep that tone with me, Mr. Dazeodrew, I’m not so sure I can help you avoid a late fee.
ME (after slamming the phone down on the table): ARE YOU NOT HEARING ME?!?! I PAID YOUR BILL ALREADY!!!!
BILL COLLECTOR: Good news, Mr. Dazeodrew! If you pay your bill with me today, I can waive the processing fee! How much do you think you can pay today?
ME (steam coming out of my ears): I. Paid. Your. Bill. Today. On. Line.
BILL COLLECTOR: Oh, I see you already paid online earlier today. I’ll make a note of it so you don’t get any more calls. Is there anything else I can help you with, Mr. Dazeodrew?
ME: Um, no…you were most unpleasant…
BILL COLLECTOR: Well I thank you for that compliment, Mr. Dazeodrew. We strive to make this a pleasant experience for all our valuable customers. Have a nice day!
ME: Good God…
This was unpleasant enough, but there’s always more. Two hours later my phone will inevitably ring again.
BILL COLLECTOR: This is Mary (said in a foreign accent). I’m calling from the Acme Electric Company. Can you make your payment today?
This part they learned in their “pushing your customers buttons” segment. It’s very effective…