Lessons Learned From Working in Customer Service

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Good morning! Today I got to thinking a lot about human interaction and relationships. I decided to write a post about this things I’ve learned after spending 12 years working directly with (a lot of) people as a Starbucks Barista, bartender, and online business owner.

Customer service is hard. I should clarify and say that dealing with people in general can be very hard, but I’ve learned to see the great rewards if your work in customer relations is approached with a positive mindset. Here are things I’ve learned along my journey as a worker in customer service…

  • As a customer service worker, your attitude is everything. You may think that your job is of low importance if you make a small wage. It’s unfortunate if you think that way. The truth is, the man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid more for what he does. If you have the ability to positively affect your customers,  you have no idea who will walk through your doors and offer you an opportunity. You also have the ability to ruin someone’s day if you project your crappy attitude onto them.
  • Working in customer service will make you become well-known. After spending (almost) 10 years at starbucks, I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a customer and being called “the coffee lady.” If you’re in front of so many people in a day, think of the impact you’re able to make. Make it count.
  • People suck sometimes. Yes, it’s inevitable that you’ll be scolded for messing up (or maybe for doing nothing wrong at all). I once spilled coffee all over a mans crotch when handing him his cup. Yes, he called me worthless and yes, he made me cry. Get over it quickly and realize that no ones perfect- don’t let it ruin your day because there are plenty of other people in line who throw a $10 bill into your tip jar, or give you a Christmas gift…focus on the special customers.
  • You have the ability to change someone’s day. We can let others attitudes affect and rub off on us, or we can do our best to make their day. I specifically remember a man who would come for his coffee every morning. He was always quiet. He never said please, never thank you, and never had a smile. We used to have contests to see who could make him smile. Maybe his wife passed away, or he hated his job. You never know…Try to brighten someone’s day rather than brush them off if they seem down.
  • Getting flustered is a part of the job. Mass chaos can break out during a morning, lunch, or evening rush. However, it’s in my experience that portraying that chaos to the customer is awkward. Keep your cool.
  • Cultivating relationships is the most important part of life (in my opinion). We never know who we’ll meet, who we can lift up, who will offer us our dream job or opportunity, or who will become our best friend. I know a lot of times people talk about despising dealing with people. To me it’s one of the most important things we must do in life. Learn to genuinely like people. Helping others is what I believe brings true happiness and we cannot help people if we dislike them.
  • I believe the above statement deserves it’s own bullet point. “A man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid more for what he does.” Do you clean toilets? Do your best at it. Whatever you do, even if only for the self satisfaction it’ll bring you, do your best at it. Karma will treat you well if you do.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your take aways from customer service as well.

-Laura 🙂

Feature Photo credit: Rob Bye of Unsplash.com

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