Document People!

Have you ever called a company and spoken to a lovely, helpful soul who answered all your questions with patience and kindness and made you so glad to do business with them? OK, that doesn’t happen very often, but if it has happened to you, have you ever called back only to get the polar opposite person on the phone? Grumpy, irritable, miserable in their life and work, and their only mission in life seems to be to make you feel stupid about your question and get you off of the phone? That happened to me today.

For the last few months, Matt and I have been going through the process of getting a new roof due to extreme hail damage. It has meant multiple phone calls to our insurance agency, various roofing companies, our mortgage company, our final choice for a contractor to roof our house, an inspector, the roofer again, the insurance again… It just goes on and on. Our roof is finally finished (we ended up loving our roofer who did a great job and in the process became a friend) and today I was trying to get the check released from the mortgage company to pay the roofing company. I have spoken to the mortgage company several times and the last few times I have spoken to a lovely, helpful person. Today was a different story.

I’ll spare you the angst, but I got off the phone frustrated at the difficult and unhelpful woman I had spoken to. I immediately called my dear friend Deana (who is my go-to expert on home renovation, repair, insurance companies, and lots of other things). She gave me some wonderful advice, as always, but as she was talking she asked me this question: “Did you write down the name of the woman, date, and a summary of your conversation?”

“Noooo…”, I answered, “Should I have?” “Absolutely,” she said. She then told me that for every phone call that has to do with her business, her bills, her mortgage, her credit card, anything of importance, she writes down on the statement or bill the following information:

1) The name of the person she spoke to, 2) Their ID number, 3)The date and time of the conversation, and 4)A brief summary of the conversation

“That way,” she added, “if I speak to someone really helpful I can request them by name or number the next time I call.” Wow, I thought to myself. Why have I never known to do this? I can’t even tell you how much hassle this simple practice would have saved me through the years. It only takes a second to do, and it really could serve so many fantastic purposes. For instance, if you need to document your argument in fighting for a refund, or on a fraudulent charge, it would be incredibly helpful and pursuasive if you had recorded all of that information.

Honestly, my financial life will never be the same after today. Perhaps you already document all of your calls, but if you don’t… document, people! Next time, I’m going to ask for the sweet, helpful lady by name, and as I am smiling through the process I am going to be thinking in my heart, “Thank you Deana!” Hopefully, you will be doing the same.