Every person’s career path is different. Some have wandered down various, unrelated roads, others have set off with a route and destination in mind, and others have headed in a direction only to take a severe turn away from it. But no matter how we’ve arrived in customer service, those of us who stay do it because we love it. To remind us of the myriad ways that customer service can wind itself into our hearts, here are stories from our fellow representatives about why they are in service for life.
Jamie works from home for a major internet retailer. She fell into the position after looking for a way to keep herself busy and help bolster her family’s finances, but what she found was a passion. “I’ve never had a job where every day presents the opportunity to connect with and matter to people I’ve never met before. I treat it like a friendship game: how many people can I get to feel like a friend by the time we’ve ended the call? It is so fulfilling to make those connections with people from all over the country from random little issues that crop up. It’s really a unique experience and I couldn’t love it more.”
Larry provides both in person customer service and phone support for a family-owned company. He used to work in Fortune 500 sales, but felt burned out. He turned to customer service as a brief respite from the stress of meeting ever more demanding sales metrics. “I went into customer service because I figured I already had experience in that arena having been in sales – but I wouldn’t have the additional stress of constantly churning through new accounts. I didn’t expect to love it. I certainly didn’t expect that I could ever love anything enough to permanently walk away from my old sales salary. This was just supposed to be a bit of a work vacation. But the chance to help people and solve their problems just because I want to help them instead of maintaining their numbers on my book, that’s what has made me stay. I feel like my job has intrinsic value now. I used to try to convince myself that converting new customers was a form of helping them fill a need they didn’t necessarily recognize they’d had, but now I don’t need to do that. I know that these people actually do need something and it will be a cold day before I don’t do everything I can to give them tangible results. I may not be curing cancer, but I know I’m really helping people.”
Ingrid got her first taste of customer service working as a shopping mall concierge at 17. She was instantly hooked and has spent the last decade rising through the ranks to become a customer service manager of an e-commerce company. “When I got my first job, it was a way to save money for my graduation trip, but what I found was a real fit for my personality. I think of service like having a locked door and a huge ring of keys. Every person I deal with is one of those doors, and I have to quickly figure out which key to use – and I have to make that determination quickly. I’m a note-taker and problem-solver by nature, so having all these opportunities to carefully observe someone and then quickly move in with a solution is a bit like a game – a game where my correct decisions positively impact a person I didn’t even know existed a few minutes before. To me, customer service is an exciting challenge that’s always serving up something new. There is nothing else I could do professionally that would fulfill me and hold my interest like it.”
Looking back at the course of your career path, what was the defining moment that solidified your position in customer service? Why do you love it?