Put an End to the Runaround

You know when you call into a call center because you have a question about a warranty, a bill, an account, or you need to troubleshoot a gadget? You call, you wait for a service agent, and when you’re finally connected, you know you’ve been connected to a foreign call center.

Now, my wife and I are pretty well-traveled. We’ve been to 39 countries and experienced a number of different cultures, with different languages and dialects. Even so, we never really had a hard time navigating those countries, despite the cultural and language differences in many of them.

But whenever I’m connected to call center outside of the U.S., I have a hard time understanding what the agent is saying. The dialect is often too strong. It makes getting to the bottom of my issue a challenge because I can’t always tell what they’re saying. I may have to ask them to repeat themselves. This is something that happens to people all the time.

Here’s the thing: If you are having a hard time understanding the service representative, you can ask them to connect you to a U.S.-based rep. By law, they must cease the call and transfer you to the rep you’ve requested.

I bring this up because it’s a common issue that can affect many different parts of our lives. For instance, I recently spoke with a couple who had visited a Social Security office in their hometown. They had questions about applying for benefits.

Well, at the office, they asked the Social Security agent the questions they needed to be answered. The agent ended up telling our client that if she went through with how she wanted to apply for benefits, she wouldn’t be eligible for her husband’s benefits if he were to precede her in death.

Naturally, our client wanted to know more, but the agent wasn’t cooperating. He would not give her the information she requested. This only creates for a frustrating situation — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are situations when you have to say the right thing when you’re not getting the results you expect or need. You can ask for another representative (in the case of the call), or a supervisor. Someone has the answer or information you need, you just need to connect with that person.

All too often we search for information and don’t find it because we’re too timid or we feel as though we’re wasting the other person’s time. But that’s not the case.

Here at Mattson Financial Services, we always want you to understand any given situation. We want to have your questions answered and all the information you need.

I wish my world worked the same way, but it does not. That’s reality for you. Instead, you have to be vigilant and know that it’s always okay to ask for more information or to ask for someone who may have more information.

One last tip: Every time I pull up to the gas pump, I can’t help but think about all of those stories of people getting their credit card info stolen when they buy gas. Thieves can skim your info with fake card readers and some even use cameras to capture card numbers.

What I do to make my gas purchases easier to track is to the calendar day to my advantage. Let’s say it’s Feb. 14. I’ll buy just enough gas to round my total to the dollar amount, plus 14 cents. For example, my total might be $30.14.

No matter the day, I’ll round my total to match the date. This way, I can easily verify my charge and when it took place — so that if any other charge were to come up that didn’t match my method, I’d know it was fraudulent and I’d be able to take care of it immediately.

Hopefully, these insights inspire you the next time any of these things come up in your life. Next month, we’ll be tackling the question of Apple and Amazon: Which one should you have bought into? It’s going to be an interesting one.