5 Things I’ve Learned from Customer-Service Industry

As August rolled out, I was welcomed with a good news that my persistence in the last couple of months has paid off — I’m finally a regularized employee! And the sweet thing about it is, I finished my probation a month earlier (which has always been my target, by the way) and just before my birthday month. If you haven’t seen me posting my shenanigans anywhere, it’s probably because I was just trying to breeze it off through this process. Now that it is here, I’ll start working on the next steps of my little career plan.

In celebration of this terrific news, I thought I’d share with you a couple of things I’ve learned in my work so far. Who knows, you might be able to pick up a thing or two to add into your own work life, eh?

I’ve not been working in the industry that long to really share with you some life-altering pieces of advise but being in this line of work, you will quickly realize that there is a lot to learn even on your Day 1 of being out on the floor/in the field. 

I do think that everyone should experience working for a customer-oriented job at one point or another in their lives. It sounds fairly cheesy, but it’s one of those jobs that will really shape your understanding and/or communication with another person. It gives you a real sense of how to deal with people. Now that I think about it, most job nowadays are very customer-centric, so it shouldn’t be difficult to end up being on a job like this. 

I personally used to think that I would not ever work for one, but I later figured that it was also necessary for the career path I wanted to take. Not to mention, I know how tough and high pressure the environment is, so it’ll definitely toughen me up.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in my couple of months time at work:

  1. You will learn the importance of being accountable — for us, it is ALWAYS necessary to be 100% sure of the information you are sharing to the client, and to always have someone/something to back you up in case trouble arises. I’ve thought lightly about this at first, but I’ve had my first-hand experience with it, and it was a definite teachable moment. I was faced with the reality that clients can always, always be tricky and are capable of using their every card on their deck for their gain. You will learn to be accountable as well for other people who will depend on your knowledge.
  2. You learn to have the patience of a saint — This should actually be the top skill you’ll learn from working directly with clients. It’s not even rocket science that having a customer-facing job can be a lot challenging. You will encounter tons of different personalities and situations that will test your limit and will have you questioning your patience. Yes, you still have to keep that “can-do” attitude even if you have an agitated customer who’s going off on your ear. I kid you not, my heart rate usually comes up and I have the tendency to speak over involuntarily but I have learned that the best way to handle this would be to keep your calm, emphatize (if necessary) and just try to exhaust all the assistance you may provide. Often than not, clients just need to feel that you are actually providing them service; or that you care about their issues or concerns.
  3. But, you also learn to have a spine — slightly contradictory to the second lesson, there are situations where it’s necessary for you to stand your ground when someone uses the “the customer is always right” card. In my first few months at my job, it’s almost like a culture shock to me that people use tricks on me, quite literally. And the thing is, they know that they have the upper hand. As a brand, you wouldn’t like a customer who is angry and would go off online badmouthing you, especially with the climate of the technology nowadays. But certain situations will teach you to have a spine, and not succumb all the time. On a business perspective, policies are set for a reason, and more often than not, there’s no going around it.
  4. You learn to adjust quickly — one important skill to harness here is to be adaptable to situations quickly. There are always tips and tricks to pick up on from the people who have been working there for years that are valuable to ante up your work knowledge. You also have to adapt in regards to personalizing the service to each of the customer. Of course, each brand has their own way of how they want to represent themselves to customers but it is also important to reflect or customize it based on what the customers actually need.
  5. You learn to be gentle with yourself — For the first months on the job, I was working myself an extra mile and was taking as much responsibility as I can. It was only later that I realized that I was tiring myself out quickly, full of anxiety after a week’s work. I would almost not take a break or sometimes go much under my allowable minutes, I would go beyond the compulsory targets and I would pick up extra work. It’s not necessarily really bad, if you think about it, but I also realized that I was burning myself out quickly. Everywhere I look around, people who have been there longer than I am, would really take their time to rest. It’s necessary to keep yourself sane and not get fed up with work. You learn that you can improve on your craft daily, but there’s no need to rush; you will learn from mistakes; and that work is just work. 

So as mentioned, I might be leading up to work on the next part of my career plan in this coming weeks and I need to start planning for it because peak season at work is coming up. There are a couple of talks with my boyfriend that, in a way, could affect where I’m heading but it might not be in the near future.

In other news, I’m also so excited to be having my short local vacation in three weeks time! I feel like I do need some break to just refresh and put a pause on some things. My parents are thinking of visiting for a couple of days before my sister leaves, although not sure yet, but that should be something to look forward to as well. 

How about you? What’s new with you? What are your teachable moments at work?