Standing in a store for eight hours, talking to 30 or 40 customers on your company’s small PBX in one shift, or assisting five clients at the same time. These are some of the things that you might experience while working in customer service.
It can take its toll on you. However, you can’t put a price on all the realizations and life lessons that you get after working in customer service. Some of them you probably didn’t realize until now.
Being Fake Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
If you’re new to the whole smiling and phone-answering, don’t be too hard on yourself if you get a few comments about not being cheerful all the time. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says that it takes over two months before something can become a habit. So until then, practice until you get that perfect smile and inflection.
Now, if you’re experienced, then you already know that being a talker or an overall extrovert can be a huge advantage. Still, days will come when you don’t feel like talking. Unfortunately, you don’t have much of a choice because it’s all part of the job. That’s when you learn to “fake it ‘til you make it.”
Sometimes, getting the job done is far more important than letting your down days take the best of you. So you have to do whatever it takes to perform well at work, even if it means having to be fake happy.
People Can Be Rude, but You’ll Be Fine
Everyone who has worked in customer service has dealt with the occasional angry customer. There’s always that triumphant feeling when you get to turn their anger around. However, some can be almost impossible to be reasoned with, as proven by this crazy story on Business Insider.
A guy who worked at a computer shop had a customer walk in, demanding that he get a refund over some faulty, five-dollar USB. They had a no refund policy, but being a good employee that he was, he offered to help the customer and see if he could get it working.
The customer refused, lashed out, and ended up being escorted out of the shop. Meanwhile, right before the customer was taken outside, he yelled, “IF I EVER SEE YOU ON THE STREET I’M GOING TO F***ING KILL YOU.” Friendly, huh?
Now, you’ve probably experienced something a little less scary than what that guy had. However, at the end of the day, angry customer experiences will all just become a funny story that you get to laugh about with your friends.
You’re More Patient and Understanding than You Thought
Aside from having to handle angry customers who will test the limits of your understanding, your cool doesn’t stop there. Working in customer service will make you more patient because of all the explaining that you have to do, be it services, plans, or devices.
You’re lucky if your customer gets it the first time. However, there will be some things that you have to explain twice, thrice, or more before they get it. If you haven’t experienced this, imagine having to explain how an iPhone works to your 80-year-old grandpa. It won’t be easy, right?
No matter how many questions your customer has and no matter how many times you have to repeat yourself, you have to do it. More importantly, you need to have the same energy that you had from the start of your conversation up to the end. Otherwise, it can go downhill quickly.
So if you’re still trying to get the hang of being patient, practice. Be mindful of the signs of impatience so that you can catch yourself when it happens. Shallow breathing, irritability, and hand clenching are signs of impatience. When they happen, count to ten.
It’s Tough, but You Love It
Working in customer service is not the easiest job in the world, and it’s not the most appreciated, either. Be that as it may, nothing will ever replace the triumphant feeling that you get every time a customer is happy or satisfied with your service. It’s difficult, but you have to love it.