Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Trucking Edition, Part X

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

You would think that any company that bills its customers and collects money from them would prioritize that part of the business, right?  Or at least not neglect it...

We used a certain freight carrier to a certain location for the first time, so I can't bill OUR customer (and pass the freight charge along to them) until I get the bill from the freight carrier so I know what they're charging us (the rate per mile is sometimes different for different areas, and this delivery was ~300 miles away from where this carrier usually delivers for us, so I don't want to assume it's the same per-mile rate.  The load delivered two weeks ago, and we still haven't seen a bill.

So I called the company's 800 number listed on their website.  Press X for the corporate office and Y for accounting.  Disconnected.  Sheesh!  So I call back, press X for corporate and Z for Accounts Payable, which isn't who I need to talk to, but they can hopefully transfer me.  I explain to the person who answered that I was sorry to bother her, I actually need Accounts Receivable, but [she cuts me off--"it hung up on you?"]...  Yes!!  If you know it does that, WHY does it do that?  Couldn't you report it, and wouldn't they fix it?

She transfers me to AR.  It rings and rings and rings and rings and finally goes to a voicemail that doesn't have any sort of greeting so I have no way of knowing if I've reached the right person/department.  So I hang up and call back.  This time I call the 800 number and press W for customer service.  I explain the situation, they say they'll transfer me, and I once again end up at a voicemail I can't be sure is the right one.  Seriously.  If you're recording a voicemail greeting, include your department so the caller knows they're in the right place.  And if you're setting up a voicemail system, make it so every voicemail has a greeting, not just a beep and dead air.  And if you're setting up a phone tree system, make it so every option gets answered, not disconnected.  Seriously, people.

So now I give up on the 800 number.  I have in my Outlook (inherited from the person before me) a few local-ish numbers for the freight company.  I call one, press Q for customer service, and explain to the person my situation.  She is helpful-ish, and transfers me.  To a number that rings and rings and rings and rings and never gets picked up OR sent to voicemail.  I call back.  The same person answers.  This time I ask her to please keep me on the line until she finds a real human for me to speak to.  

She looks up my account, finds the delivery in question, and says it hasn't been billed yet.  Well, whyever not?  It delivered two weeks ago!  She doesn't know, but she's looking up my billing person, then PMing them.  We spend a few minutes listening to each other breathe while she waits for a response from the person she's PMing, but eventually I get transferred AND a real human picks up the phone on the other end!  Progress!

He says it hasn't been billed yet.  I ask why not.  He says maybe they're waiting for a rate, and do I know it?  Well if I knew it, I wouldn't be calling, as I would have billed MY customer, and would be perfectly happy for the float time before the freight company billed us, but I asked my boss and he said they did quote him (the same rate per mile as our other shipments) and he accepted it.  I relayed this to the guy on the phone and he said, "Oh."  So I asked if he could bill us now, and he said they'd do it today and I'd get it tomorrow (via e-mail).  Was that so hard?  

We have another bill we're waiting for from them, but I didn't even ask about that one, as I was able to bill our customer and might as well see how long it takes them to bill us.  Sheesh!

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