Life & Stuff

What I Learned Working in Customer Service

*With tomorrow marking a year since I left my retail job…*

Respect customer service workers

Of course, by working in customer service, I learned what I feels like to be the server. Never again (not that I really did) would I judge someone, get angry at them, or blame them for my shopping experience.

You can tell who has worked in customer service and who hasn’t, sometimes, by how they treat service workers. The workers are deserving of your respect as they’re helping you! So, be kind. Remember what it feels like to be behind the counter.

People can be selfish

There are a great many people who treat people as less than just because they’re behind a counter. They also have their heads so far up their own arses that they are rude and downright stupid when they speak to a customer service rep.

As an ex-retail worker, I had to learn how to deal with said people. I thank them now, for they taught me resilience and how to handle sh*t that I didn’t deserve. It also taught me how to stand up for myself in the most respectful manner (as to not lose my job).

A bad day doesn’t make a bad person

On the other hand, I know I went in to work very tired or sad at times. Some times things happened right before my shift or I’d not slept or I’d been depressed at the time. This meant I wasn’t my best self when serving. I wasn’t very talkative or friendly or helpful.

When we remember that we’ve been there and that the service staff are just people too, we can give them the benefit of the doubt. A bad day doesn’t make them a bad person.

How to bite my tongue

As I said, working at Argos meant I dealt with my fair share of butt-munches. But when you work in customer service, you can’t go yelling or throwing things at people who do your head in (deserving or not). And so, you bite your tongue and smile and do what they ask – for the most part.

Thanks for teaching me how to be silent and find my inner calm in trialling situations.

Time-keeping

As a shift worker, your schedule changes often. You switch and swap with coworkers and managers always move you around. This was a nightmare as I had very little order in my life and I never knew how to arrange things. But, it did teach me how to manage my own time.

With a 9-5, you know you’re waking up and going home at the same time everyday. There’s very little thinking or organising to be done. My shift working days taught me how to keep up with my ever-changing work schedule, alongside studying or writing my books and blogs or dating. Every week was different and every week was a new time management challenge.

All kinds of friends

Argos provided me with all kinds of relationships and friendships. I worked with people from the age of 16-50+ and of all personality types and shapes and sizes and backgrounds.

I loved it.

Although some of them annoyed me or really didn’t fit my personality, I learned how to get along with all sorts of people. And that’s just the staff! Never mind the assortment of customers I served on a regular basis. It showed me that everyone you meet has something they can share or teach you.

How to have a conversation

Before working in retail, I was a nervous, socially anxious mess. I really don’t know how I got the job – well I do, I wasn’t quite as outwardly anxious as I thought I was. But working in retail, where I had to speak to people for a living, I had no choice but to come out of my shell.

As the years went by, I found my voice. I found my confidence. I spoke, and I held a conversation that didn’t leave me or the customer I spoke to wanting to run away.

I will forever thank my crappy retail job for granting me this incredible ability.

Shopping sends everyone a bit mad

Whether it was Mother’s Day, Christmas, or Black Friday, people went a bit mad and quite mean a lot and often at our store. This gave me some insight into who we are as people. We really think we need things. That we cannot possibly be without them. We allow ourselves to go over the edge because we can’t afford or acquire the things we want – and that’s bloody scary.

Witnessing this from behind the counter, and suffering the lash of angry, dissatisfied customers, helped me realise that I did not want to be like that. If I couldn’t have something, that’s the way it was. Christmas shouldn’t be about massive piles of presents. And if anyone loves you, they’ll love you regardless of what you get them or what you have yourself.

How to live within my means

Lastly, working in a part time retail job helped me realise that a lot of life can be lived even when your budget is small. Yes, I lived at home with my mom. But I still paid rent. I still had a partner who I wanted to do things with. And I still had a desire to travel.

My small budget granted me all those things and I thank the universe for that. And I definitely thank that time in my life for helping me realise what is important to spend my money on, and what is not, in order to keep within my means.

Thank you, Argos, for giving me so many important life lessons and strengths that help me be who I am today.

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