Thursday, September 25, 2008

Customer Service Isn't Dead

I feel bad closing out the account, and can hardly blame the abrupt tone when I tell the operator this. With the way the market is I understand Big Savings’ reasons for being a little less than warm when a client calls to say they’re closing their account. But this decision wasn’t motivated by fear of a bad market. With the fees for various agencies starting to appear in the horizon the money is currently needed elsewhere. The agent on the phone shotguns me a series of questions, then asks the one I’ve been dreading.

“What do you need this money for?”

This is too personal. In fact, I’m aware that I don’t even have to answer this question. But I swallow and dive in anyway.

“….my husband and I, are adopting, we need the money for various fees,” I reply.


I wince and pull the phone from my ear as the final syllable Diane’s enthusiasm rings from the speaker. Surprised I put my ear to the phone again and hear her continuing, “…that is so exciting. Are you just starting out? Of course you’ll need the money! How soon are you going to need the funds?”

I flip to my calendar and do a quick calculation.

“Honestly, as quickly as possible,” I tell her. Instead of the trite apology and a recitation of some policy that prohibits a quick dispersal I expect, Diane outlines a few ways to achieve just that. The biggest issue is going to be the delay for the postal service, or I could pay to let my bank accept a wire straight from Big Savings. Knowing my husband would balk at the idea of paying for something that could be gotten for free I tell Diane that we’ll go with getting that check in the mail. It’s a delay, another one, and part of me fumes over the idea of waiting a week for what I could have tomorrow.

Somewhere in New York Diane is giving me detailed directions to complete the forms I need to submit. And then, deciding that directions alone will not suffice she guides me to their web page so I can print out the form. She waits as my printer chugs along in the background and in New York it turns past five o’clock. When the aging Canon spits out the form I sit at the desk with the phone held between my ear and shoulder as Diane goes through each section of the form. I listen, making notations where she directs me to and all the time I wonder about the change in her attitude.

Something about my adoption touched this woman, and her eager helpfulness makes me wonder if she has some personal connection to adoption. Was she adopted herself? Maybe a sibling?

I make a few x’s in the boxes Diane directs me to then flip over the page and start on the next. Perhaps she wanted to adopt, or did adopt herself.

Another x, followed by a set of initials.

I have no desire to pry into Diane’s reasons, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for anything other than gratitude.

The form is finished and Diane asks several times if I have any questions, she stresses that I can call at anytime and if she isn’t at her desk to tell one of her co-workers to get the file from her desk. I thank her and promise my husband or I will call first thing in the morning to follow up on our request. Whether Diane realizes it or not, she is a part of my adoption. She is one link in the chain that will lead to our child, and her help is as appreciated as her friendliness.


Nicki Leigh said...

First I would like to say that I think it is wonderful you are adopting! And secondly . .. perhaps she was adopted.

I was adopted when I was little by my dad's parents. It was a dark time, but I am glad for what they did for me.

I am sure you are going to make a little girl/boy very happy. Congrats ;)

daisiesinbloom said...

That was such an awesome post! I never thought much about those who have helped us with the smallest requests. They really are a part of our adoption. :)