Saturday, February 23, 2013

Something to say...

It´s been a while... a long while... it´s almost strange to return to a place i´ve been away from for so long. At the same time... it´s like coming home!

Lara is sleeping.
I have the baby monitor at my side and sneaking a peak I can honestly say she´s the most amazing and perfect little being...
That´s what I´ve been doing all this time...
Being a mother, a wife, a professional, a friend... all these thing take  up so much time that there´s none left to write about them.
Until today... I guess you could call it my day off.
It´s not that I don´t have things to do...
It´s just that i´m giving myself a little time to think... to reflect... to write...
I miss writing, I wouldn´t trade in any of my moments for it but I do miss it.
Not for anyone else... just for me.

There´s so much to write about... so much that I can hardly pick a theme...
Perhaps the most worthy is what left me speechless this week.


Currently, my position entails solving the complaints that have been through various departments and hasn´t been solved...
I came across a simple case of a cancelation of services that hadn´t been processed due to lack of documentation. Although there had been many attempts by the client to rectify his request, there was always something missing.
It had been a long morning and I needed a simple case, I called the cliente intending on asking her to send me the documentation that was missing so I could conclude her request.
What I didn´t expect was the waterworks...
In the current crisis that our country faces, many are the commerce that closes their doors. Everyday I hear a new story of another foreclosure, insolvence, unemployment...
Before I called my client I´d already  noticed that they were three months in arrears but before I could even mention it, my client let me know that she was aware of my debt and between sobs told me that her priority was paying her employee´s salaries.
No one can listen and be indifferent to that kind of desperation.

After receiving the documentation that was missing, I concluded the cancelation request.
Had the request been satisfied on it´s first arrival, a month´s debit would not have been processed.
Had the request been made upon the contract´s terminus - two month´s debits would not have been processed.
But to proceed with any kind of credit, I needed my manager´s authorization.
"I need you to respond with humanity on this case"
The raising of his brow told me that he wasn´t too impressed that my request implied that he was less than human on other cases but it had the effect I needed - he was intrigued.
After explaining my client´s situation, my manager responded as I´d hoped.
We managed to credit two month´s debits leaving only one of the three bills to pay.
I believe my manager would´ve authorized that last bill only the total credit would imply higher authorization that would not head to our justifications...
After all, it was the client´s own fault that her request hadn´t yet been processed.
My manager´s condition: before creditting the two bills, the client would have to pay one of them.

I knew she didn´t have the funds to pay that bill at that moment... so I smiled sweetly to my manager, creditted the two bills and asked the client to pay the third bill as soon as she could warning her that it could be handed to a lawyer if she took too long.
She thanked me over and over and wished good fortune on me and my family, I knew I´d bent the rules - but I felt good about it.

Two weeks later - that third bill had not been paid.
I was grateful that my manager didn´t check up on it but slightly disappointed that my client hadn´t honored our arrangement.

Two days ago my client gave me a call and it was what she had to say that left me speechless.
She let me know that she had arranged a payment plan to pay off that last bill and that she´d already paid her first installment. Then she proceeded to tell me that on the week that I´d solved her problem she´d acquired a big client that permitted her to keep her doors open for a while longer - a company that she´d seen grow for over twenty years. I was truly happy for her, to hear of her success was to feel it as if it were my own. But what brought me to tears was what she said after she once again thanked me for having done more than was expected of me. She told me that many other service providers had slammed the door in her face that week that I called her. Each time she´d asked for comprehension or an extension she´d been met with irritation or arrogance. She told me that the way I´d dealt with her made her believe in the "goodness of humanity" and had inspired her to keep fighting and keep her doors open a little longer. Had she given up then, her client wouldn´t have appeared.

As I listened, tears ran down my face.
Everyday I get yelled at by frustrated clients, few of them know what I do for them in the background - few of them thank me.
But to know, that I caused such an impact one someone - that my efforts helped someone keep their job and a company from closing... that´s more than I aspired.
I hope I have many more oportunities to lend a hand to a stranger...
Because a friend is easy to help, it´s the strangers we avoid,
and God knows that i´ve been "saved" more than once in my life by a stranger


Luis Sardinha said...

Welcome back.

With so many things to do we have to selsect the most important ones e leave the others...

Not always the writing part is the less important.

Nuno Lopes said...

Good to know you're all well, and that ther´s hope in the future!

Clairvoyant said...

Hi. Welcome back, you've been missed.

I'd seen your post earlier, but decided that I wasn't going to write to you in a hurry.

This episode you report only shows that the Carla a lot of people know is still the same in essence. And your response to a costumer's need for comprehension and help is of no surprise to anyone who knows you even slightly.

The reason why you reacted like that is the same as I had to quit from an inbound call center I worked for some years ago. I can't see past humanity in people. I can't treat people as an income source, it's not in me. I went a little to far by making friends with costumers, but the thing is, anyone that got to me, rarely ended their contracts. When quality of service is in your blood, it shows no matter where you are or what you do. And in this harsh times we live in, where a buck is more important than a person, it's important to find a smile that is not fake, a warm voice that shows there is an actual person talking with you on the other side of the telephone line.

I feel happier giving something from me to others. Helping someone smile is a huge bonus for me. From what I know, it's just the same for you.

Hope you keep coming back. Sunshine's column hasn't been the same for quite some time without you.

Liilavati said...

Querida prima! Benvinda! Parece que foi dos ventos porque também retornei à base, tantos anos depois!:D

Sim, com o teu coração imenso tens ajudado conhecidos e desconhecidos com a mesma entrega e luz que faz de ti a pessoa linda que és! És uma inspiração para quem como eu sabe a tua historia, sabe que não deixaste contaminar a tua generosidade com as adversidades da vida! Beijinhos