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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Customer Service Experience Required

Today, I was job searching online. I realise it isn't the method that yields the most results. For example, recently I applied for a Government of Canada job and it yielded over 2500 applicants for a single three month entry level position. I don't expect to get a job this way, but I stay current with who is hiring and have landed a few interviews in the process.

For the past seven years, I have worked in an academic setting at Western under contracts. It was a great way to work while in school with flexible hours, training and skills and to meet people working in the different departments and services.

Customer service means different things according to the business you're providing service for. But they all have one thing in common: Customers are human beings.

Prepare to interact with those who are friendly, cheerful and pleasant. As well, there will be those who are rude, condescending and sometimes downright scary. It is unfortunate when someone becomes audacious and belligerent when you are trying to help them. It is important to stay in control and guide the person's negative energy into seeing what their options are and move them forward. Show empathy for the situation and don't take anything negative that might be said too personally. If you're lucky, you might end off with an apology from the customer. You can acknowledge it by showing appreciation or just by saying, "Hey, you're just being human - I expect no less".

Customer service is more then just transactions - you sometimes have to wear many hats. Sometimes you're a long lost familiar face. Sometimes you're a social worker. Sometimes you might have to be a police officer. Other times, you have to be a detective. At least at the end of the day, you can go home.

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