Customer Service is Not a Department…

It’s everyones job.
~Anonymous

I had a job for four years where my actual title was “customer service representative.” I worked on a team in the customer service department. I learned the skills necessary to let the company’s customers know where their product was, set up their new orders, and to do so in a timely manner. We picked up the phone calls before three rings; we sent tracking information; but what we really did was we got our butts kicked. 

Customer service is not an easy job, yet at that same company, it was the lowest paying of all the roles available. When I left customer service, I thought I was leaving the tough stuff behind. I wouldn’t get yelled at anymore! I wouldn’t always be frustrated anymore! I couldn’t wait. 

Then I started my new role in the credit and collections department, and although I wasn’t working with the company’s customers, I soon learned that I had internal customers that I had to deal (scratch that… I totally mean “work”) with…  

Although someone internal generally understands certain problems a little better than someone outside the company, there were still times that we had to appease them. I was in that role for a year and a half before my current role that I am still in became available. I moved from the operations of the company to the internal legal department. I was so happy that I’d finally be doing something that was relevant to some of my schooling, and I could get rid of some of that stuff that had really stressed me out over the past six years… 

I WAS VERY WRONG. 

The former general counsel of the company (my former boss) let us know all the time that “we are in a helping role.” Clearly, to me, that still means customer service. Somebody doesn’t know who in the company works something, they come to legal. Somebody doesn’t know who should review something, they come to legal. Somebody needs to have a question or problem answered quickly, they are knocking on the legal department door. And it can still be hard! Who the heck wants to worry about making somebody else’s job easier all day long? Well… I guess me, because it pays the bills. There is a point to this rant; I’ve learned that in every single job I’ve ever had, that customer service plays a part in it.  

I found the following quote by Zig Ziglar while researching for this post, and I’m going to do my best to analyze what I think it means after reading the textbook. 

I would think that everyone’s first gut impression would be that companies should always strive to have happy customers! Happy customers bring in profits, they buy more, they eat/drink/spend more. This quote seems that it would contradict that gut impression; why is that?  

I think it’s a little deeper than what it appears to be on the surface. Although it would still be true that no one wants an unhappy customer, without them it might be harder to improve your processes. Harder to improve your company or update your products. Someone complaining means that there is something that can be addressed; or changed. Eventually, those changes might bring in five times the number of customers than before someone wasn’t happy. The internal first line of defense to these people who are complaining are most likely going to be people in your typical customer service role. If you look at the big picture, they are dealing with the making of your company’s potential improvements. If they are knocking it out of the park and helping to document these complaints and/or find some of the first solutions, I hope that you try to keep them around and that you compensate them fairly.  

This quote I can also see really tying into the social media market. Someone complaining to one person over the phone, is not going to have nearly as much of an impact as someone posting a criticism on a trending twitter post. Through some of my research, I learned that Zig Ziglar died in 2012, which would have also put us before the big boom of social media. Obviously his quote would have been said before 2012, but the relevance of it today through this analysis seems to reverberate even more than it might have back when he said it.  

Now to go back to the comment I made earlier in the blog about how the customer service roles are some of the lowest paying in my company. Especially in this 2022 job market, why would someone stay in that role when they can so easily go somewhere else and work for about the same amount of compensation. Why struggle with such a stressful job while not making so much money?  

This article I found from a website called “Business Pro” addresses the importance of having customer service skills in 2022: 

“Pulling data from companies in a wide range of industries and countries, the analysis shows customer service was one of the most in-demand skill sets on the market.” 

The article then also describes how you can try to find new recruits with resumes that aren’t specifically what you are looking for, but might have allowed for customer service skills. (Like all my roles that I’ve ever had) and the also that job markets have to adapt and that might include more work from home options, or other options that are less strict than twelve years ago when we didn’t have all this ability to do that.  

Overall, I guess the main point that I chose for this blog was to demonstrate my knowledge of, or experience with, customer service.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zig_Ziglar

https://www.benefitspro.com/2022/11/08/struggling-to-fill-customer-service-roles-study-offers-tips-on-how-to-proceed/?slreturn=20221102185552

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2 thoughts on “Customer Service is Not a Department…

  1. I have also worked in customer service, but always in person or over the phone. I sometimes wonder if it would be easier to respond under the name of a company on social media vs as an individual. I wonder if it feels less personal when the customer isn’t yelling at you, but at the company – knowing myself, I would probably still take it personally!

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