Monday, June 28, 2010

On customer service

Tomorrow is the first day at my new job, and being the nervous kind of guy that I am, I’m, well, nervous. In trying to calm my feelings of anxiety, I tried to think about how I already have a general idea of what to do, how it’s a small store in a part of town inhospitable to window shoppers, and how I’ll have to get up at only 8:30 everyday. But what really put me in the right frame of mind was something I had never thought to do before: make this job what I want it to be. I will always be courteous to the management and keep busy, but who’s to say I can’t have fun with the customers (as long as I don’t piss any of them off, of course)? Why can’t I not get nervous when I don’t know something, but admit that I don’t know and send them in the right direction? Why can’t I make fun of a snotty customer right to their face in a manner they won’t pick up on, but still get them what they need? Why can’t I bullshit with a customer who seems like a bullshitter? There’s no reason at all.

I’ve spent a total of about four years in customer service jobs, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, but still have had trouble taking to heart, is to not take things personally. Put in an order for a cheeseburger, but forgot to tell the kitchen to make it without onions? Didn’t know the yield of a particular toner cartridge or the size of the cache on a particular hard drive? No big deal. Mistakes happen, and you just won’t know things from time to time. The customer got upset? Fuck ‘em. They won’t remember tomorrow, and you shouldn’t think about for days after it happened. Take the opportunity to learn from mistakes, but don’t let guilt or worry swallow you whole.

1 comment:

loretta said...

I love what you say about making your job what you want it to be. I met a Buddhist monk once (no, not THAT Buddhist monk;) ), and he gave me some advice when I was complaining to him about how I hated working retail. (What I really wanted at the time was to quit my job and become a Buddhist nun.) He told me, "If it's meditation you want to do, make your every task at work meditation. Meditate while you count money by counting it mindfully. Meditate while you sweep the floor by doing it mindfully." It was some of the best advice I ever got on how to just suck it up and do whatever task needs to be done. Another good piece of advice came from reading the young adult novel "Wise Child". In that book, a little girl becomes the apprentice of a woman who may or may not be a "witch". The little girl hates trudging through swamps with the "witch", picking herbs, getting poked by thorns, etc. But the "witch" never whines at all. She does what needs to be done like it is as natural as breathing. I felt guilty about all my whining after reading that book!