It’s not easy to summarize what Kaitlynn Vincent does in her role at Gravity’s Boise-based subsidiary ChargeItPro. But, when she describes a typical day, phrases like “putting out fires,” “detective work,” and “diplomacy” spring to mind.
Her title of “Sales Assistant” on the Sales Assistance and Operations (SOPS) team doesn’t really help to explain things either. Essentially, Kaitlynn is part of the team responsible for on-boarding new clients once they’ve been signed by a sales rep and helping them with any issues they experience with their accounts over time. “We’re the ones that usually have direct communication with our vendors and act as liaisons between our vendors and support or sales,” she says. “We do a lot of reconciliation of customer accounts and take care of any non-technological or sales issues that come up. Basically, if it doesn’t have a home, ops will figure it out.”
One way to think of Kaitlynn’s job is that she helps merchants when things go wrong or when they’re confused. This can be something relatively straightforward–like helping merchants reconcile their accounts–or something more complex–like helping them manage a crisis.
For example, a big part of Kaitlynn’s job involves handling chargebacks, the process that occurs when a customer disputes a payment on his or her credit card. Take a recent example. Earlier this year, a merchant called Kaitlynn to report that his company’s website had been hacked and $12,000 worth of fraudulent transactions had been processed. In reviewing the merchant’s account, Kaitlynn determined that the charges could be fraudulent and had likely been made using stolen credit card numbers. She called the merchant’s processor–one of the largest payment processors in the industry and one of Gravity’s primary vendors–to see if they could help.
“Originally they were not going to take any fault for it,” Kaitlynn says, referring to her initial conversations with the processor. “They said, ‘It’s not our fault someone hacked a website.’ And so we got into it.”
Kaitlynn made the case that there was no way the merchant could have avoided a fraud of this sort and that he’d done everything in his power to safeguard his company. “I have a long email chain between myself and the processor that’s still occurring,” Kaitlynn says. “Because at first, they said, ‘Well it’s not our fault; the merchant could have done this, this, this, or this,’ which is actually not true. This is one instance where none of the fraud modules provided by the processor could have prevented this from happening. It was just a freak thing that happened.”
The processor said they would set up a reserve, which is designed to protect the processor and the merchant by allowing chargebacks to be debited directly from the pool of fraudulent transactions rather than from the merchant’s business account. Unfortunately, the processor set up the reserve incorrectly, so when cardholders inevitably started issuing the chargebacks after noticing mysterious charges on their credit card statements, the money was being withdrawn from the merchant’s account. On top of that, since the fraudulent transactions had been put into a reserve instead of negated, the merchant was charged several thousand dollars in processing fees.
Worried he was going to go bankrupt, the merchant called Kaitlynn in a panic, and ChargeItPro ended up floating him the money while the issue with the processor was resolved. Eventually, the processor agreed to refund him the money after the 120-day chargeback time limit–the period during which cardholders can issue a chargeback–expired.
While many people would find the prospect of having to fight one of the world’s largest credit card processors in an effort to help a small business owner protect his livelihood to be daunting, Kaitlynn says it’s part of what she likes about the job.
“The complexity of it, honestly, is very interesting and a challenge that I like,” she says. “The industry in which we’re in changes all the time. You think you have everything down, and then the next day you learn, ‘Oh, it’s actually completely different today and will be from now on.’ And then it’s gonna change in six months.”
Another thing she enjoys is her ability to help people, something she says the company puts at the center of its mission. “It’s nice to work for a company that gives a crap about people,” she says. “The culture’s nice in the sense that everyone cares. It’s not just like, ‘Oh, this is what we stand for,’ and people are just like, ‘Yeah sounds great.’ It’s genuinely what we stand for, and everybody lives and breathes that.”
Kaitlynn understands the value of working for a company that puts people first because she knows from experience what it’s like to work for a company that does the opposite. Before starting at ChargeItPro in April 2015, Kaitlynn worked as a leasing consultant at an apartment complex in Boise and was disgusted by how the owners of the complex conducted business. When the owners informed an elderly tenant that her rent would be going up $275 a month when her lease expired, Kaitlynn knew she couldn’t work for them any longer.
“This woman was very near and dear to my heart,” she says. “But when the owners realized rents in Boise were going up, they told her she either had to sign a new lease for the higher amount or move out within thirty days. She couldn’t afford another $275 and they were unwilling to budge, and this broke my heart. My manager and I both asked the owners to reconsider, but they didn’t care, and the woman, who was in her seventies, ended up moving out. At that point, I was like, ‘Okay these people don’t care. I’m just going to work here until something better comes along.’”
At the time, Kaitlynn wasn’t sure what that something might be. Before taking the job at the apartment complex, Kaitlynn had enrolled in Boise State in the hopes of becoming a psychologist, but she left after a semester. Now, at twenty years old, she was struggling to figure out what she wanted to do with her life but open to pretty much any opportunity.
Luckily, that opportunity came along when Rose Clurman, a resident of the apartment complex and a longtime ChargeItPro employee, approached Kaitlynn about a job. Rose had previously mentioned that her company was hiring, but it wasn’t until Kaitlynn grew disenchanted with the machinations of the leasing office that she took Rose up on her offer to come in for an interview. “I don’t even think I asked her where she worked,” she says, “I was like, ‘Okay. I don’t even care.’”
Initially Kaitlynn didn’t interview for a particular job but was hired to join the Operations department to help out as the company grew. Over time the role evolved into what it is today, and Kaitlynn has earned a reputation as a go-to person who can get the job done and will go to any lengths to help a merchant or partner succeed. “Kaitlynn is always willing to work,” says Jose Garcia, ChargeItPro’s Lead Culture Consultant. “She has a great work ethic and is always willing to jump in. She’s just a phenomenal worker.”
Now that she’s been with the company for over three years, Kaitlynn’s role continues to evolve. Recently, she was promoted to Tech Support Supervisor and will be transitioning to a management role in ChargeItPro’s tech support team over the coming months. The supervisor position will entail staffing, process improvement, coaching, training, and ultimately ensuring everyone on the Tech Support team is happy coming to work and has the tools they need to provide CIP merchants with the highest-quality care and customer service.
At first, Kaitlynn wasn’t sure if she was suited to the role given her lack of technical experience, but conversations with a few co-workers and managers who thought she would be a good fit convinced her to take the opportunity. “I realized that being a manager is all about growing people,” Kaitlynn says. “It’s less about doing the day-to-day work–which I love to do–and more about helping people do the work and figuring out how you can help them grow and how you can make their jobs easier. Once I figured this out, I was like, okay, that sounds like something I really want to do because one of my passions is people. I’m fascinated by people.”
When asked what might be next for her career, Kaitlynn isn’t sure, but she knows that, as long as she remains at Gravity, the opportunity to grow and advance will be there. “One of the reasons I love working here is because, if you’re willing to work for them, opportunities will be given to you,” she says. “You have to be ready to work your butt off for sure. It’s not an easy ride. It’s not a cake walk, and if you have that mentality, it’s not going to be fun for you. But if you work hard and help people, this company is full of opportunity. Every day is an opportunity.”
By Brooke Carey, Content Editor