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January 11, 2012

Rude notaries?

Filed under: Etiquette — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 12:56 am

Rude notaries? 

At 123notary, we have 6000+ notaries on board, and we talk to most of them at one time or another.  We take pride in how dedicated and professional our notaries are.  Our notaries answer emails promptly, and have a high rate of answering their phone.  But, once in a while we will get a complaint of rudeness.
 
Who are these rude notaries?
Rudeness is a two-way street.  Most of the time, if a notary is accused of rudeness, the borrower or signing company was unreasonable with them or harrassed them.  Is it the notary’s fault?  In my opinion, a professional should try to maintain their cool at all times.  The defining line that separates the men from the boys is how well you handle a difficult situation with finesse.  Can you calmly handle a difficult client?  Can you smoothly work your way through a difficult situation?  Can you keep your cool when others around you are screaming?  Its difficult to know what to do when a notary is accused of being rude.  I usually keep these incidents off the record, and only in my private records.
 
Incomplete information?
What bugs me the most, is that when I get a complaint about a rude notary, I  only see text such as, “The notary was rude”.  My question is, what did the notary say?  What did you say to them first to provoke this reaction?
 
Notaries who hang up on clients.
We get regular complaints that the notary hung up on someone.  Was the client rude? Did the notary have a cell phone that routinely drop calls?  Was the notary just being a jerk?  Sometimes clients call after hours and the notary doesn’t want to be bothered. 
 
Antagonistic emails
Be careful with this one.  Nobody can remember what you said, other than the fact that it was polite or rude.  However, if you write a rude email, it can be forwarded to me — and that is proof that you really are rude!
 
Threatening clients with lawsuits
When a notary and a client get in an argument, some notaries quickly start threatening clients with lawsuits.  This is really unnecessary and rude.  It reflects poorly on us and on you.   You should not threaten someone with a law suit unless you have serious damages which you can prove.
 
Criticizing the company you are working for.
If you work for a signing company, its not good manners to criticize them or their borrowers. If they are horrible people, just don’t work for them anymore!  If the borrowers are horrible, just try to put up with them.
 
Summary
99% of our notaries are fantastic, and this blog entry doesn’t apply to you. If put in a difficult situation, try to be polite and then refuse to work for the difficult company again!  Don’t criticize people (even if they deserve it), and don’t write threatening emails.  Just do your job, and go home!

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March 19, 2011

What to say and what not to say.

Filed under: Etiquette,Posts With Many Comments — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:43 am

Notary Etiquette – what to say and what not to say
 
Politeness is hard to gauge in any society.  In a social environment, if people don’t like your comments, they just won’t associate with you.  But, in a business environment, you will lose valuable clients.  Personally, I am the worst person to write this post, because I am notorious for saying the wrong thing at every given opportunity.  On the other hand, maybe thats why I am the perfect person to write this article — I know what one has to lose by opening their mouth!
 
Being professional
Some people treat professionalism by being overly uptight, no fun, and addressing people as Mr Smith, and Mrs. Sutterfield.  They never crack a joke, and never express an opinion.  They will dress well, and get their job done, but were they a pleasure to deal with? Sometimes I really tune into this issue at the Japanese restaurant down the street. 
 
The Japanese restaurant

Its less than two miles away — a Japanese restaurant so good, its worth walking a mile to get to.  With the lack of parking, sometimes I do walk at least half a mile, and then wait to be seated. They are the best cooks, and are very professionally dressed in their black ninja outfits.  Politeness is never an issue, but there are never opinions, and small talk is …. well… “small”.  Then, a new guy started working there.  He is ultra friendly and talkative while being extremely polte.  We talk about every topic under the sun (not the rising sun).  He can talk about any subject while being careful not to criticize others.  Maybe he should be writing this blog entry!
 
Being friendly!
To get good reviews with the signing services, you need to be  a pleasure to work with.  Being human and friendly is part of the game — of course without sacrificing professionalism.  I really want to get responses from this blog on what the notaries consider the “right amount” of being friendly.  The trick is knowing what to talk about and how to talk about it.  With me, I’ll quickly digress into some inappropriate political discussion: a big no-no.  But, weather is a much safer bet.  But, even weather can be controversial.  Talking about rain is safe, but should you wait for the other person to bring up the subject of tsunamis just to be safe?  If its me, I’ll even ruin the subject of weather by bringing in the concept that God is upset with humans and thats why we are having the tsumani.  I’ll alienate borrowers even with the safest of topics.  Maybe I should stick to hurricanes.  At least with hurricanes I can blame the government for being neglegent about building levies, and leave God out of it!!!
 
Safe topics
Traffic is a safe topic, especially for me, since its clearly the fault of humans and not God’s wrath. But, what if you are late and talk about traffic.  Then, its no longer fun conversation — its an excuse… There’s a no-no!  Only talk about traffic if you are on time!  If its me, I’ll ruin even a nice conversation about traffic, by blaming the government for keeping gas taxes so low.  After that remark, even the socialists will outcaste me!  But, its true — if gas were $7 per gallon, there wouldn’t be any traffic — ever!!!
 
Fashion – is it safe?
Fashion could go either way.  It depends on whether the other person has the same tastes as you.  But, sticking to more “universal” topics like where the best sales are for general items is relatively safe.  Talking about general items is politically correct, but when it gets into tweed blazers, you are entering an area of sociological barriers.  The professors will like the conversation, and everyone else will raise their eyebrows!
 
Guns and Religion?
Obama really blew it with this comment.  Religion teaches peace, so how can religious people love guns so much?  Do they want to fight for peace? Don’t talk about this at a signing!  But, if you can pull off talking about what happened at church last week without alienating those of a different caste, creed or faith, I’ll be impressed.  If you can make this type of conversation “universal” in nature, you are a professional at knowing what to say and how to say it.  I would personally give you a reward!
 
Politics?
OHG… stay away!!!  The most political statement you can get away with is how you bumped into Obama at the swimming pool.  That will work.  You can mention how he out swam you.  I heard he keeps very fit!

If you follow these tips, you will be a more professional notary!

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March 7, 2011

Don’t park in the driveway?

Don’t Park in the Driveway?
 
This sounds like a dull topic, but the type of responses we get, keep getting better by the day. This issue is the least clear cut, and most confusing issue that notaries face.  Yet, so few notaries ever have this issue cross their mind. 
 
Don’t Park in the Driveway.
Its rude and unprofessional to park in the driveway.  You are leaking fluids on someone’s driveway, preventing them and their family from parking there, and potentially blocking someone.  But, sometimes, there are situations where you should park in the driveway.  You could make several Seinfeld episodes out of this topic.  There is a general rule, and there are dozens of exceptions.
 
(1) I’m confused, isn’t that what driveways are for?  No! The driveway is for the borrower to park in, not the signing agent.  You are a guest, and not the resident.  Don’t park there without permission, and don’t ask permission unlesss you really have to.
 
(2) In regards to “Don’t park in the driveway”, please be aware that many gated communities have banned on-street parking. Check with the homeowner if street parking is allowed when you make the confirmation call. (This is true especially in Florida.)
 
(3) In regards to “Don’t park in the driveway”……where I live most of the time that is ONLY place to park. When I was a new signing agent, that piece of information caused me a lot of stress, but have since realized that I have to do what I have to do. I try not to block in vehicles, but that isn’t always possible.
 
(4) If there is a snow storm, you need to park in the driveway, otherwise the snow plow will cover your car with snow.
 
(5) In rural communities, driveways might be more than a half a mile long, so it behooves you to park in the driveway in such a situation. In winter, it wouldn’t be safe to walk up such a long driveway.
 
(6) Some notaries say, they always park in driveways taking care not to block someone in and never had any trouble. Other notaries say that they would never park in someone’s driveway no matter what.
 
(7) One lady says that a customer complained that she parked in the street instead of the driveway.
 
(8) There might be signs on the street not allowing street parking. That means you are forced to park on the driveway.
 
(9) In some neighborhoods the streets are very narrow, making it a better choice to park in the driveway.
 
The bottom line is that if you value etiquette and manners, and take them to the highest level, just ask where the borrower would like you to park, and then everyone will love you, and might even love your leaking coolant too!

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December 18, 2010

Notary Etiquette from A to Z

Notary etiquette from A-Z

Here are some basic rules of notary etiquette to keep you out of trouble and on good terms with your clients.

Don’t park in the driveway?
But, that is what driveways are for. They are for parking in. Wrong! They are for the borrower to park in, but NOT for you to park in without permission. You could be taking someone’s spot, or blocking someone. You might be leaking coolant on their driveway too. If there is a snowstorm and a snow plow will destroy your car, or if there is nowhere else to park, then ask to park in their driveway. Most people will not mind if you park in their driveway, but a few will mind.

Introduce yourself at the door.
Its good to have a pre-canned speech to give at the door. Let the borrowers know your full name, and that you will be assisting and supervising (facilitating) the signing of their loan. Let them know that your job is to introduce the documents and figures in their loan, but not to actually explain any of the concepts particular to their loan. Let the borrowers know that the lender is the only one qualified to answer specific questions about their loan.

Confirm the signing
Its polite for the notary to call the borrowers and confirm when they will be coming, and especially who is to show up at the signing. If Aunt Matilda is on the loan documents, she needs to cancel that visit to the hair salon and be at the signing.

Don’t make unpleasant remarks
Don’t make negative remarks about anyone regardless of whether they are associated with the loan or not.

Don’t discuss politics
Stick to talking about neutral topics like traffic and weather. Politics can run people the wrong way. Freedom of speech does not apply to notaries on the job. You have more freedom of speech in Moscow than on a signing. Talking about the wrong subject matter can get you off of a signing companies list, and then you lose work.

Speak clearly
A notary who mumbles, or speaks incoherently will not be a favorite with anyone. People need you to enunciate on the phone and in person.

Don’t rush the borrowers
Unless you agree on the length of your signing ahead of time, its rude to rush the borrowers. If you are having a night with ten signings and you will be late to all of the rest of the signings, then you are in a pinch. If you legitimately have to leave at a certain time, you can mention that you have to leave at 8pm, and that they are welcome to read their borrower’s copies for the next 72 hours and cancel the loan if they are not happy with any of the terms or figures.

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