Last month I wrote a letter to my online accountant, the accountant I just can’t get rid off. I politely asked them if we could talk about a solution. Not to my surprise, I got zero response. It already was very clear to me that the people at the Dutch branch of Exact are taking their customers not very seriously. In fact, sometimes they’re even quite rude and mean as well. That’s why I’ll try another door at Exact. CC @Exact (Global Twitteraccount). 

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Utrecht, October 28th, 2016

Dear people at Exact,

If you take a couple of peeks around here, you’ll find out what keeps me occupied. Don’t bother, I’ll save you some time, I’m all about mental health. Truly not something I really take for granted. In fact, I do anything I can to maintain it. By taking pills for instance, every morning, although I have to admit I was on a pill-free diet for a while. That was just before you called me earlier this year. But as I said, right now, I’m happy to take my pills again.

You need to know that coming on or off medication is a remarkable process. Now, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but you won’t hear me discourage someone with such a wish in advance either. It’s the most personal thing ever, you see? But if you check your call records, you’ll find that we spoke on the phone in al three phases of my process -on meds-off meds-on meds- last summer.

On medication, after seven years of strict use, I spoke to you for the first time early in May this year, in a state which I can only describe as slightly sedated. Also, as I had also smoked some marihuana, I listened apathetic and extra carefully to what your sales rep had to say. The sales-scripts did their job and my guess is that probably there’s a lot in them about persistence, friendly persistence.

Success for you. A new trial-account sold, as you’d call that I assume. First month free, and after a three months of little to no use, a tab of around 130 euros. Not really funny, as you can imagine. Especially when you just started your pill-free diet and seven years of stacked emotions try to find their way out. You probably noticed that when I called you up again.

After a fierce spree of emotions, your friendly colleague (a lady) remained friendly. She understood my message, which was, and is, for now: I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore.

She urged me to unsubscribe via my internal Exact webpage. But she also said that it would be impossible for me to reach that page due to my back-due payments. At this point, I was furious and decided that I wasn’t going to solve this problem for you. So I apologised for my harsh words earlier and asked if she would please would be so kind to take me out of your books and records. In return, I paid your bill.

Unfortunately, today, I received a reminder from you. Via mail, subject: Payment. In this email you kindly directed me to my internal Exact webpage in the event some questions would arise. You’ll probably understand why I didn’t make that effort, but I called up your colleagues of the Dutch Credit department. Yeah, they were kind of surprised receiving my call, because I was not able to present them a confirmation of the unsubscription.

As we say in the Netherlands when dealing with bureaucracy: Purple crocodile, of course! An insurance company came up with that to describe a process when you’re being forced to endlessly turn in circles. Because in my e-mail, where I received your reminder, no such confirmation was to be found. Without noticing my growing frustrations, your colleague, I call him Mister X., advised me to search my physical mail, because “it will probably be in there”. Sure, I’ll search my paper pyramid and I’ll call you back later, not a problem. So I thanked Mister X. and remarked that empathy is also a customers’ need.

Like no other, I’m aware of that. I started my career as a dial-hungry sales rep at a bank. The secret of telemarketing is, if you ask me, that you need to try your best to start to love the other person on the line. A personal note sounds better than elevator music, something like that. But Mister X. didn’t owe me an apology, just yet. Because when he forgot to disconnect our call, I could hear him talk about me with 3 or 4 colleagues, in every way but an emphatic one.

My attempts to inform Mister X. that I was in on his conversation were useless, so I dialled his number again. Three times, no answer. Busy, busy, busy. Three or four people, chatting about me, described as: “would you believe what a guy this is?” Touché, rightfully so, but picking up the phone to speak to him again: no ma’am.

You can imagine how happy I was to reach your sales reps who were kind enough to put me through to Mister X. I told him what I’d heard him discuss with his colleagues. We shared our experiences in a polite way, and it sometimes actually feels good to be crystal clear.

The last phase of that pill process remains. Right now I’m on, but even off medication, you won’t see a day that I will throw the first stone, so be assured that I still look forward talking to you about a possible solution to my cancelled-but-not-quite-cancelled subscription. Don’t hesitate to reach out, there’s always a double side to a message. Just like being on or off meds. Maybe your message says: ‘this marriage is over’. Perhaps it’s an invitation for a cup of coffee. I’d appreciate either. And I don’t charge for my feedback.

Kind regards from ‘that guy’,

 

Jerry Allon

 

*Update* Exact invited me to come over and discuss this situation. More to come…