When you pick up a phone call as a support representative and the first thing you hear on the other line is, “this is so-and-so’s lawyer calling on behalf of our mutual client” you know you have a potential tough call ahead of you. After all, who has their lawyer call a merchant services support line? I’ll admit, I was surprised and had to ask them to repeat themselves to make sure I heard them right. It was a merchant’s lawyer contacting support in regard to missing money.
To be fair, while the lawyer was to the point, they were quite kind, almost jovial even. They shared there was a little more than $10,000 missing from what the merchant expected to see deposited over an eight-month period. My gut feeling was chargebacks. Sure enough, the number they expected was missing was the exact amount I saw in the chargebacks report. I asked a few quick questions if they had mentioned anything about customer disputes and the lawyer was quick to say no.
That's where their missing money had gone, they had lost customer disputes. That call with the lawyer was over as quick as it had started and I thought that was the end of the issue. Granted, it is unfortunate news to hear, but it doesn’t change the message, after all. Those chargebacks were lost and that money has been returned to their customer. I shared my contact information if questions came up when relaying the message. Then, not even an hour later I receive a call from an irate merchant claiming we’ve stolen more than $10,000 from them. I knew it was coming!
As a support representative sometimes you can be the verbal punching bag for a client, and that’s understandable! For plenty of businesses out there credit card acceptance is a vast majority of their revenue and if there is an issue with the card acceptance it’s a big deal. I always try to remember this, and make sure to not take anything personally. In turn, I stayed quiet and let the merchant get their frustrations out; saying things like “I hear you”, and “that is super frustrating to find months later” – it’s true after all! It is frustrating going through your numbers and them negatively matching what’s expected.
Eventually, I was able to get a word in, but it started another few minute tirade about the industry being a racket and how our ethics were questionable. I’ll be honest in sharing I did agree with some of the points shared about card payments and the industry! Sadly, though, there was nothing I could do in that moment to change the outcome, but at least I could put myself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from. I also could take this opportunity to share some adjustments that could be made that would help avoid the lost revenue in the future. I always felt a knowledgeable merchant usually equates to a support experience with less friction.
I started out be sharing their original welcome packet when their account was opened. We went to the section on customer disputes and we went over how a customer can dispute any transaction made on their credit card. For this particular merchant, all they needed to do was provide the documentation of their sale and they likely would win future customer disputes. It was a bit of a tough pill to swallow considering the money for those previous disputes was lost, but at least there was a silver lining. Their future chargebacks were won because they learned how to responded to them. On top of that, a few of the chargebacks we thought were already lost, were actually still within the response window and we were able to get back some of funds that were disputed.
The moral of my story is staying calm. There is no need to match the energy of someone who is frustrated because it will only delay arriving at a solution. After the rocky start, though, calm minds prevailed and customer disputes were no longer an issue moving forward.