Editorial: Refreshing display of leadership

Editorial: Refreshing display of leadership
May 04
08:00 2017

Leaders can be found in many places.  Sharon Harrison was fortunate one was the chairman of the Forsyth Technical Community College board.

Harrison underwent a whole lot of misery over a check that was sent to the wrong address. The check was hers, but apparently the person who lived at that address, her old address, pretended to be her and cashed her check.

As Cash Michaels, a reporter for The Chronicle, told the story, Harrison had dealt with two banks, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Department of Education, Forsyth Technical Community College (FT), and the Winston-Salem Police Department since September 2016 – seven months – before she found a break-through in her case.

Harrison was due a federal student loan refund check, which had to go through FT. She had received other such checks just fine. But a human mistake led to the beginning of her problems. Someone at FT sent her check to the wrong address, this time. Harrison had been a student at FT. Someone used her student address when they should have used her present address to send her her money.

One mistake. One human mistake.

But, then, the humans who were supposed to address Harrison’s problem did not. Harrison’s problems kept mounting up, including financial distress affecting her credit because she was not paying back money she never received.

Even Dr. Gary Green, the president of Forsyth Tech had not met with Harrison and his staff has done little, Harrison said, to bring about a timely resolution.

But a banker who happens to lead the FT Board of Directors spotted a customer service problem and handled it quickly. This was a chance to solve a customer’s problem and maybe advance a pleasant outlook toward FT. This was a chance that FT officials and employees didn’t see.

When The Chronicle contacted Alan Proctor, chairman of the Forsyth Tech Board of Trustees, true leadership came forth. Proctor is also listed as a senior vice president for Wells Fargo Bank. Wells Fargo was one of the two banks Harrison was involved with.

Michaels reports that after advising him of Harrison’s dilemma, Proctor called her and promised to have the situation addressed by the following day, which he did. Proctor called Harrison, she told The Chronicle, telling her that Wells Fargo had cut a check to cover the stolen money, and would be sending it to BB&T. BB&T, in turn, would forward the money to Forsyth Tech, which would then send Harrison another check for $4,347.59, the amount of the original check.

So, how quick was that compared with seven months?

A happy customer goes a long way, spreading the word about products to family and friends. An unhappy customer usually goes farther in the wrong direction. The word gets around about the poor service.

Sharon Harrison is now in a wait-and-see mode, Michaels reports.

She received a call from Forsyth Tech, telling her it would take “two to three days” for the check to be credited to her account at the school. Then they will process a check, and call her to come to the school to get it personally.

But she was also told that Forsyth Tech wants her to call the student loan office and “get them to send her the amount of the interest accrued from the date of the loan until present…” and they will also issue a check to cover that as well.

It’s interesting what leadership can do to foster a satisfied customer. We need more Alan Proctors in our lives.

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