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Why Should Everyone Do a Customer Service Job at Least Once?

Rujuta Patil
Doing a customer service job is like earning and getting trained for life at the same time. One who greets or serves strangers daily, with the same smile, can easily list out things he learnt from work, even if he often felt like quitting. Here is why all of us should take up such a job at least once.
I was an amazing bartender and a great waiter. I think, in a way, that was my acting school.
Nick Frost
We are so used to umpteen kinds of services these days, that we have almost forgotten as to how these tasks were done in earlier times. Buying articles, may it be groceries, clothes, food, art and craft material, cell phone, car, or getting any and/or all of it repaired, are just to name a few.
Going out for a lunch or dinner, getting a coffee on the way to office, dropping clothes at the laundry, or such 'chores' to us, make up 'jobs' for a lot of people.
When did you last write a letter to someone? You may not remember. Rightly so, as we usually call up people or the customer care center to register our complaints. Have you ever answered such customer care calls, by any chance?
If you have ever worked in any of these service industries, not in an executive position, but at a lower rank like a waitress, bartender or barista or as an attendant at the mall, you know how the word 'service' can translate into anything. Service jobs make you fit for the real world. You don't agree? Going through these arguments will make you believe so.

Why Everyone Should Work in Customer Service

As is often said, "Treat others how you would like to be treated." To learn the meaning of this old expression, serving others is definitely easier than learning it the hard way, much later in life. One should work in customer service because...

You meet different personalities

A customer service job requires you to be interacting with people beyond the only ones you know (others besides family and friends).
It is interesting to see how many and how different (sometimes weird) individuals live in the same city as you.
Also, all of us have dissimilar ideas of perfection. What you would perceive to be the best way of organizing a table for a special evening, might just be too simple for the guests visiting your place.
Asking for the contact details, to further a customer's telephonic complaint, might seem an 'act of spying' to the customer. On a positive note, there are also occasions when you come across a few beautiful people with a beautiful heart, who love to be served by you, and appreciate your smallest acts.

You get to know the reality of 'Customer is King'

In a customer service job, you serve the grouchy, upset, nagging, and pecking customer, or the rude, cribbing, and shrewish one.
Some are plain irritable. You serve them the order, and they go on to ask, "How long did you bake this? It's not perfectly done." You just feel like growling back at them and saying, "Kindly make yourself one as you please!" But you cannot. You learn that you just HAVE to be patient with some crazy minds, and this will prove helpful throughout your life.

You turn into a 'Multitasker'

In the service industry, during critical times, everybody has to pitch in together. You begin to inculcate the qualities of multitasking when you are doing ten things at once.
Like, you could be discussing the daily nutrition content in the diet plan of an old lady, while you take the order (with details of what not to add), and get her drink refilled. For all customer service professionals, it is a part of their work.
As a customer service representative, you have to be happily processing a request, while you ask someone to hold the line, note some important number from your boss, and get back to all three of them urgently.
You cannot say, "I just forgot what you were saying". She is not your friend to repeat the number for you. So, this improves the ability to focus and concentrate on one task at a time, even if you are occupied with many tasks in the midst of a noisy environment.

You can empathize with other service professionals

Making an effort to understand that the person across the counter is not solely responsible for something going wrong, saves that poor fellow a scary wrath.
If you have not ordered for the drink that is served to you, you would think twice before yelling at the waiter. In fact, having worked in that position, you know how it is, and would simply ask the person to get your drink changed, politely.

You learn not to be too hard on yourself for a mistake

Common mistakes like serving the wrong food, or placing a wrong order with the chef, or confusing the day of reservation for a guest, can be some mistakes bad enough to make others go mad at you. You think saying sorry (which you did) cannot fix it.
Howsoever hard it may seem, and it is natural to be disheartened by it, you learn to get over it. And that, irrespective of how big a mistake you made, need not affect your entire life. You learn to apologize and forget.

You start to value your holiday(s)

Odd hours and extra work makes you value a holiday. You reach home at midnight. When the next day is a holiday, you know you have earned it and deserve it! You know that your friend has no offs, and you learn to appreciate what you have.
Imagine you've had a bad week already, and you learn that there is an urgent conference call to be done before the week ends, and it is last day of the week.
If you have handled some extra orders or managed to serve double the tables in a restaurant, because a fellow coworker was absent that day, you know how to handle this sudden 'conference-call-headache'. Then, you also know how crucial a weekend is.

You become aware of other facets too

Besides doing your work, you will discover many other things about the role of your employer. Being at a retail store, for instance, can introduce you to a plethora of aspects related to the retail sector.
You could learn about management, inventory, merchandise, retail trade, logistics, or marketing, and much more. Any service occupation, for that matter, would give you an insight about the larger picture of that industry, right from manufacturing the raw material to the final product being served to the consumer.

You turn out to be better skilled

Work gives you a lot of experience and helps shape your personality. Working as a server/at customer care definitely enhances your skills for any other type of job, even as the (future) Director of your own company.
Especially, when you are leading a team or executing a major responsibility, it teaches you a lot about handling work pressure, and about dealing with coworkers when you have deadlines. You don't only become more efficient, but also learn person-to-person skills.
In short, working in the service industry improves a whole lot of skills of a person, and the hard work also makes one value things more. Probably another important thing is that you learn that work is work, despite the position. Human dignity is best taught when it reflects through action!