Anyone who works in a customer service position, or who knows someone who works in customer service, can relate to how demanding the role can be sometimes. Most people are really nice, but some people are down-right nasty, and a few require a lot of ‘hand holding’ through the entire experience. Not all customers are sunshine and lollipops... This post is a tribute to all those staff members who don’t give up on their customers/clients and go the extra mile to make their day.
Working with people is generally quite rewarding, whether it’s face-to-face, via phone or even online. It is so nice when you are able to assist or help another individual, and most of us find it quite fulfilling, which is why we continue to do it. People are generally understanding and want to provide as much information as possible to you, so that you can better assist and understand them and identify their needs. And your role may not even focus on the typical customer persée, it could be related to assisting colleagues or third parties you work with. I also find it rewarding when you can help them because it shows you know your product/service and can find a good fit for your customer, who now can benefit from what you have offered them. Win-win for everyone, right?
I have worked in sales associate roles behind the counter, as a server in a bar, in customer facing roles at the hotel desk/office reception, as an event coordinator and even in administrative and human resources roles. Generally, my preferred method of communication is always face-to-face because I can interpret the customer’s emotions, innotation and body language, which add to the message they are trying to convey (and get assistance with); And you can utilize and reciprocate non-verbal forms of communication to reinforce messages and ideas too, and it’s all done in real-time and with nearly instant response (unlike email). However, this can also be a downfall when the conversation goes horribly wrong because this form of communication is not black and white like text is. You could be left standing next to a person who wants to bite your head off or who you want to smack silly. I can confidently say that the majority of my interactions with customers/colleagues has been positive, but there are a few people who stick out (even from years ago) who have either truly upset me, who seriously trouble me because of their lack of a brain or any common sense, or who have thrown me for a loop to the point of total frustration – all teaching me valuable life lessons that often link back to differences/errors in communication.
And the thing about working in customer service roles is you have to actually try to be helpful and nice in all interactions, which can be really tough when someone is yelling in your face, telling you you can’t do your job right, or that you are incompetent or completely unhelpful. You still need to keep a professional face on (where I struggle not to share how I am feeling through my facial expressions), even if you want to flop to the floor in tears or quit on the spot. And aside from the mean ones, there are the customers who truly test your patience. That little old lady who has no plans for the day and all the time in the world to tell you her life story and all about her kids – she’s lovely, but she is taking up your precious time! Or you’ll have that customer who asks you a million questions or wants to try on 20 different pairs of shoes, only to walk away without purchasing anything. All the while, you do your job because you must, but some days are much longer than others…
Most people are lovely, down-to-earth and in good spirits. But sometimes, you get the odd one who is cranky from the start and wants you to jump over the moon for them when you are limited by Earth’s gravity. No matter what you try or suggest, you just can’t please them. And sometimes no matter your intentions or what you try to arrange, things go wrong. We’re all human. Mistakes happen. But this post is about recognizing and celebrating those of you who try to do everything in your power to ensure the best possible outcome for the individuals that you connect with.
So I tip my hat off to those of you working in the front lines every day, especially those of you working face-to-face with people (where you can’t slip away to gather your thoughts or hide your facial expressions on the other side of the phone). To the ones who put up with the bullies, the ‘not-so-swift’ ones, and the special/quirky ones. To the ones who give them the extra time of day, even though they may be swamped or behind, and provide service with a smile! As they say, just keep calm and carry on!
I'm a young adult female working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time...