Everyone learns a thing or two from working a new job, but I think that customer service jobs provide you with life lessons that simply can't be learned any other way. Here is what I have learned from working at mine:
1. How to be a nicer person
Working a customer service job, you always have to make people feel welcomed and important. Being rude to them will not fly with them or your boss. Being nice is the easiest way to show that their business is appreciated and that they are respected as a person. Even when the customer is completely rude, I have learned to not give in to their negativity.
2. To always smile
Speaking of being nice, from the minute a customer walks in to the minute they leave it is crucial that there always be a smile on your face. The minute you frown or make a face it is noticed. You then get that sarcastic tone from the customer when they say "Smile often?" or "Hey work can't be that bad."
3. To be polite
I learned that it is so, so important to be polite to everyone. Always say please and thank you. It isn't just a great way to be a decent person, but it also shows the customers that you respect them, which keeps them coming back. Believe me, being polite makes dealing with customers WAY easier.
4. How to have forced conversation
I have NEVER been good at talking to new people. I can't even order dinner at a restaurant without having social anxiety. However, when it comes to talking to customers at work, forced conversation became effortless. It is amazing that a change of setting and circumstance allows me to have a ten minute conversation about sandals with a complete stranger yet I can't even talk to my own mom on the phone for more than two minutes without running out of things to say.
5. How to persevere through a hangover
As if hangovers aren't rough enough, try having to juggle ten needy customers at a time, while simultaneously trying not to lose your lunch. Hangovers are hard to deal with at work, but you are forced to forget about the crappy feeling while helping out a customer. It becomes so easy to smile through the pain.
6. How to lie without lying
Maintaining a customer's business is the most important thing in any line of work. Sometimes in order to persuade customers to come back you have to lie, but without lying. I have learned to always tell the customers what they want to hear, but in a way that does not go against any policies instilled by the workplace. "Yeah you can totally use that coupon!" .... if you come on the third Monday in May after 2pm but before 2:15pm...
7. Problem solving skills
Whenever an issue arises at work it is crucial that it be fixed right away so that the rest of the day can move smoothly. If an issue with a customer goes unfixed, it can be bad for business and you as an employee. Because of this, I have learned how to fix any type of problem in a timely manner that benefits all parties involved.
8. You can't please everyone
Unfortunately, not every person that walks through the door is going to be a beam of sunshine. In fact, that is seldom going to be the case. No matter how nice you are or what you say people just suck. They are rude for no reason and nothing makes them happy. Working a customer service job you learn to just ignore it and smile through the bullsh*t.
9. The customer is NOT always right
Everyone has heard that saying before and guess what? It's not really true. Like I said earlier... people can be difficult for absolutely no reason. Nowadays people always try to get something for nothing and will lie through their teeth until that happens. Working at a customer service job I have learned to filter out those types of people and focus my efforts on those who are actually honest.
10. How to deal with perverts
Not every customer that comes in is going to be respectful. Being a young woman makes me vulnerable to all types of creepers who confuse harassment with flattery. Even though I do not condone their antics, I have found that it is easiest to ignore the creeps because calling them out is a whole can of worms that is not worth opening.
11. Patience is key
People can be very indecisive. They always ask too many questions, want too many discounts, and are generally a pain. I have learned how to be patient with these types of people and maintain a good attitude. Not everyone thinks the same way, so it is important to let everyone take their time.
12. You never know who you may encounter
When you work a customer service job anyone can walk through that door. It can be an old friend, a family member, or an enemy. But the most interesting people that come in are those you have never met. People from all walks of life can walk into your job and may have a life-changing story to tell. I have been inspired by many people I have encountered and that alone has provided me with life lessons I will never forget.
Customers can be a pain, but all good days at work definitely outweigh the bad ones. I wouldn't trade my experiences at my customer service job for anything in the world. I hope you can all appreciate your job a little more too!