"Dagmar rang you," says Noreen. "Actually, she rang you at twenty-past eight to say that she was having problems logging onto the network. Maudie picked the call up and told her that you weren't in yet. No sooner had she put the 'phone down than Bronwyn rings your number again asking if you were in."
"What did you say?" I asked, biting the inside of my cheek.
"I remided her that Maudie had just that moment told her that you hadn't and that that was still entirely true."
I managed to get my coat off before I copped for the next one. One of our borrowers is taking the piss, and has been since 2001 (I checked his record on the system). Basically, he reckons he shouldn't ever have to pay fines for overdue books because he's an expert in computer systems and he renews his loans "religiously" a week before they're due back and yet they're overdue when he brings them back.
"Is there any way that the system would be causing this problem?"
"Every possibility, though the renewals system isn't at fault. The problem is systemic but not technical. If there were a technical problem why would it only pick on him and only him for a period of seven years regardless of whether he was renewing in person, over the 'phone, leaving messages on lending's answerphone, renewing via the call centre or renewing online?"
"So what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that this borrower has learned that if he goes to the enquiry desk upstairs and says that the system - whichever one - failed to renew his loans then he'll get his fines waived and he'll get his rocks off on feeling superior to whichever poor schmoo is on the desk on the day."
"So what do you suggest we do?"
"I suggest that next time he should be advised that we've established that all the available systems renew his loans entirely adequately and you may want to offer to do a user education session with him to make sure he understands how to renew online effectively. And not keep waiving his fines. Good customer care isn't about making front-line staff act as doormats for arseholes."
There are three layers of management in lending. Why is that question coming to me? (Rhetorical question: it's coming to me because I'll try to answer the question.)