Your Service Recovery Processes Must Be WIN-WIN.

On the evening of Tuesday 18th February this year I received one of those phone calls that you never ever want to receive.

Well not one of THOSE phone calls…

But one that gives you a similar SINKING feeling….

Citibank phoned me to let me know that four transactions with Facebook advertising had just been placed using my Citibank Visa Card.

The Citibank employee was calling to ask whether I had placed those four ads.

I hear you ask:

“What’s the big fuss about that then David?”

I replied immediately to the caller saying that I did not have any ads running or to be run with Facebook, and that when I did advertise with Facebook recently, I did so using my American Express Card.

And then I asked him:

“So this means you are going to have to cancel my Visa Card and issue me with a new card?”

And my heart sank.

“Yes,” he said.

And what a pain in the tail that is…

You know what I mean?

All of those automatic debits on the card that need to be followed up and updated.

Phone service providers.

Insurance providers.

Storage providers.

Season tickets at the footy.

Health Insurance.

Life insurances.

And those are the monthly ones.

There are also some annual automatic debits that I’m yet to recall to memory..

But that was just the beginning…

When my monthly Citibank Visa statement arrived [electronically], only one of the four fraudulent transactions had been reversed.

This seemed odd.

And then, in the physical mail, two letters from Citibank arrived.

“We have now received documentation from the merchant supporting the authenticity of the original transaction. If on examining the voucher/s you have any reason to continue to dispute the transaction, please notify us immediately by signing below and returning this letter within seven days.

If we do not hear from you, we will presume you recognise the transaction…”

So my bank was telling me that I needed to prove I didn’t place these ads with Facebook?

The Response from Facebook was:

  1. The Credit Card had previously been used without challenge or dispute in the past.A. Agree. [I had placed Facebook Ads in December 2016 and January 2017 with that card. But none since then.]

Aside: Facebook did not compare those ads from three years ago with the advert they allowed to be placed on February 18, to see whether the type of ad and type of market then and now were similar.

2. User Name and User Email are consistent with the Cardholder.

  1. User Name and Email address are easily Googleable to see that they are located in Florida and California. I am not located in USA.


3. The purchase Geolocation is consistent to the Bill to Country of the Cardholder.

  1. Purchase Geolocation is AU and Bill to Country is US.
  2. Facebook provided a screenshot of the Ad.

It read: “Below is the Ad the Cardholder purchased on the attached invoice [page 2], as well as the Name of the Ad and the number of times it was shared, liked, and commented on, providing evidence that the services were used by the Cardholder.”

  1. The Ad is a picture and the copy is written in Vietnamese, I think… This in itself does not provide evidence that it was purchased by the Cardholder. It was purchased by the User Name more likely.On top of that, the number of shares and likes and comments show no reference to the Cardholder.

[Sorry Facebook. I don’t believe you did my situation any justice here].

So I phone Citibank again on March 25 2020.

The young man I spoke to that evening looks up my history and tells me that he will raise the dispute and it should be settled within seven days.

Fast forward to Monday April 27 2020.

An online review of my credit card statements and transactions shows that two of the transactions have been reversed but two transactions have not been reversed.

So I phone Citibank.

The agent there that I speak with reviews my information and comes back to me and tells me that the transactions on my card had been verified by the vendor [Facebook] and were therefore legitimate.

I asked her why two of these transactions had been reversed and two were still standing, particularly when Citibank had phoned me about these four transactions within a few minutes of them being made?

She also said I failed to notify Citibank about these activities, and I pointed out to her that it was Citibank who notified me.

She placed me on hold again for a few minutes and then returned to me to let me know that there was a change of position and that all of the transactions were now being reversed.

And she gave me transaction ID numbers to verify this.

And I said…

Thank you.

But then I said how I was disappointed that after being a Citibank customer for over twenty-five years and transacting plenty of money on that Credit Card, and with an exemplary payment in full record, that in this process about these fraudulent transactions, I had been made to feel as though I was a criminal.

And I told her that when there were [rare] disputes of a similar nature at American Express, it is Amex’s policy to immediately refund the amount and make the vendor provide evidence.

And I also pointed out to her that I had needed to spend over two hours of my time on the phone to Citibank about this matter, which had occurred due to no fault of my own.

And how I was not feeling as though I was a valued customer…

I then asked if I could be compensated for those feelings and also for that time spent on the phone to them with some payment to me of reward points or by some other measure?

Can you hear the sound of a door being slammed in your face?

I told her that I couldn’t understand why they [Citibank] had made me feel like a criminal.

I told her that I couldn’t understand why my call on March 25 had not been acted upon [she answered that it usually takes 6-8 weeks] yet the verification of the purchase was finalised in 16 days.

I told her, that in my business, whenever there had been a service failure, we sent flowers or champagne as a gift to thank our customers for their understanding that mistakes can happen..

BTW we never made our customers feel like criminals…

I told her that I now had a very bad taste in my mouth and I would be looking at spending time finding a new Visa Card Provider.

How are the Service Recovery Systems in your Dental Practice?

We all know that things CAN AND DO go wrong from time to time. And when that happens, restitution is the name of the game.

Blaming is not the answer.

Yet in a dental practice, when a patient calls to say that a piece of porcelain has sheered off their new crown, I often hear the response:

“What were you eating?”

“Let me check with our lab and see if they’ll guarantee it.”

When the best response is simply:

“Betty, how soon can you be here. Let’s get you in and have a look and see what we need to do to fix that for you…”

Always strive for WIN-WIN.

There is no other acceptable option.


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