‘A simple act of kindness costs very little, but the dividend is remarkably powerful.’
Most of my adult years I’ve been working in customer service, either as a full-time job or as a part-time job while studying. You might not expect a slightly introverted person to be working in customer service, but besides being more of an introvert I’m very kind-hearted, and I don’t mind helping people. In other words; I thrive off being able to help others. Even though some of the jobs drove me a bit crazy at times I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for all the experiences I’ve gained.
In my opinion working in customer service is a wonderful life lesson. It’s a perfect way to learn more about human beings and the way we behave in different situations. With that said, I’ve gathered some of the most important things I’ve learned after many years of serving people.
Don’t take anything personally
What a person says to you says more about the person than it says about you. Don’t take anything personally. Nothing other people do or say is because of you, it’s because of themselves. Don Miguel Ruiz explains it very well in his book The Four Agreements;
‘Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It’s not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally. Even if someone got a gun and shot you in the head, it was nothing personal. Even at that extreme…..
As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.’
– Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Be kind and treat everyone with respect
We are all humans, trying to make the best out of the short time we have on this earth. You don’t know what the person in front of you have been going through, or what obstacles he or she is facing at the moment. Be kind, always be kind, and treat everyone with respect. In the end we are all humans, as simple or complicated as that might be.
Listen when someone is talking to you
If someone is talking to you – listen (But don’t take anything personally) Focus on the person in front of you, be present. The real life communication is oh so important in this digital world. Sometimes people just want to talk to someone; express their feelings, concerns, happiness, whatever. Let them feel noticed.
Keep calm in stressful situations
Nothing good will come out of stress. Still, every now and then a healthy amount of stress might be good for every one of us, BUT stressing over things you can’t control is definitely not healthy. If you’re facing a challenge or a problem, and there’s nothing you can do about it at this particular moment – let it go. Don’t overthink, don’t overanalyse, just let it go. If you stop stressing over it, after a while you might come up with new ideas how to solve the problem; Usually this occurs when you least expect it, at times when you’re calm and at peace.
Patience is key
To understand the importance of being patient – In all aspects of life. Sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as you hoped for. Don’t stress. Take a breather. Do your best and work hard. If you always strive to do your best things will eventually fall into place.
Not everyone will be nice to you
We are humans, and humans have bad days every now and then. Usually people working in customer service experience other people’s bad days, some more often than others. However – be nice. Strive to always have a positive attitude towards every situation, and every person you meet. Life will become much easier. In the best case scenario you might turn someone’s bad day around. Watching a person leave with a big, fat smile on his/her face will most probably even make your day.
Having said that, these are things I will always carry with me. Working in customer service is not my only purpose in life, nevertheless, I’m grateful for all that it has thought me. Everything we do in life matters. Although you might not have nailed your dream job yet, everything you’ve done, and everything you’ll do, will bring you one step closer. Trust the process. Trust yourself.