Chris DuBeau, Director of Support Division
It takes a special kind of person to work in an environment in which you hear mostly complaints and process refund requests. In general, the Review and Oversight Department (ROD) is not always a place of pure enjoyment. Though it happens, it is unusual for a client that is requesting a refund to be completely positive and courteous. We have to be realistic about the fact that a number of the clients who ROD deals with are not happy with our company by the time they get to us.
In order to work in ROD, you have to be knowledgeable about the work we do in this company. You also have to be detail oriented, inquisitive, customer service oriented and patient. Active listening is a very important tool. We allow people to vent while looking for key points to focus on, which will allow us to resolve the issues in an amicable manner. The best interactions we have are those where clients come to us with a negative perspective on things, and through the use of our knowledge, we find common ground.
Unlike going to a store to return a product for a refund, the process at JK Harris, like many businesses that provide a service, is not immediate. There are procedures to follow. First, the refund request must be sent to ROD in writing, via fax or mail. At that time, a thorough investigation of the case events is initiated. This initial investigation includes a determination of what work was completed on the case, addressing any complaints that may have been raised by the client and determining what the refund amount should be, if the client is indeed entitled to one. This process can take 30 to 45 business days
After I review the determination for accuracy and applicable corrections are made, one or two documents are sent to the client. The first is a determination letter, explaining the findings of the investigation. The second is a general release, which is only sent to clients who are actually being offered a refund. This document releases JK Harris and the client from further claims involving the signed engagement agreement. If the client accepts the refund amount, they sign the general release and return it to us. Once the signed release has been received, it is forwarded to the accounting department to release a refund check.
And, of course, there are any number of situations which can cause a delay in the process. A big delay can come from the client disagreeing with the refund determination. If this is the case, the client can submit a reconsideration request. An individual not involved in the original determination reviews the case, considers the client’s points of disagreement and makes a final determination, which again must be reviewed by myself. If the client is still unhappy, they are eligible for legally binding arbitration through the National Arbitration Forum, an outside arbitrator who makes an independent refund determination.
Now not all refund requests are submitted because the client is unhappy with our service. There are instances when a client is genuinely happy but for whatever reason, usually financial, cannot proceed with their case. These are always the most pleasant people to deal with because they really seem to care about the company and it’s success. Nothing feels better than being able to get a refund check to these individuals in a timely fashion so they can address their personal matters. These are win-win situations because they result in a bond that can produce a future business relationship, or at least a positive word of mouth, which is our greatest method of advertising.